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Health

Improve Your Sleep

How's your sleep?  Is it restful and peaceful, or sporadic and not fulfilling?  If the quantity and quality of your sleep requires improvement, then this is the newsletter for you! 

Whether you have a great sleeping pattern or need some help to improve it, these tips can help maximize your sleep to help you feel renewed and rejuvenated for the day ahead of you.      


DURING THE DAY

Do not take a nap.  Napping during the day throws off your body's clock and makes it hard to sleep at night. If  you're at a point where you are so tired that you desperately need a nap, go ahead and do so, but for no longer than 30 minutes.

Get your exercise in early. Exercise stimulates the body, so doing it before bedtime can make it difficult to doze off. Thirty minutes of exercise every day in the morning or afternoon can help you sleep better. 

Limit or avoid caffeine and alcohol. Avoid caffeine (this includes chocolate!) and alcoholic beverages for several hours before bedtime. Alcohol may initially act as a sedative, but it typically can interrupt normal sleep patterns later on during the night. 

Check your iron.  Women who have an iron deficiency tend to have more problems sleeping.  If this is the case with you, a supplement might help your ability to sleep. 

Do not smoke.  Because nicotine is a stimulant, it can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. This is also true of many over-the-counter and prescription drugs. 

Expose yourself to bright light or sunlight soon after you wake up. This will help to regulate your body's natural biological clock. 


CREATE THE RIGHT AMBIANCE

Make your bedroom primarily a place for sleeping. Help your body recognize that this is a place for rest or  intimacy by clearing out any "life business" from your room: desks, computers, bills, homework, etc.

Maintain a comfortable and peaceful retreat. Make sure your room has good airflow and a comfortable, consistent  temperature. Do your best to be able to block out any outside noise and keep clutter to a minimum.

Have a large and comfortable bed.  If your bedmate tends to be restless, you may want to switch to a queen or king-size bed. Test a variety of mattresses and pillows to find the perfect fit for you. Additionally, get yourself some comfortable cotton sheets that feel
good on our skin. 

Hide your clock. A big illuminated clock may cause you to focus on the time and make you feel stressed and anxious. Put your clock in a location that can't be seen from your bed.


DEVELOP A NIGHTTIME RITUAL

Keep a regular schedule.  This is important!  Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday, including on the weekends. By keeping a consistent sleep schedule, your body will expect sleep at the same time each day. If you get to bed at a later time than
scheduled or if you did not sleep well, do not oversleep to make it up.  By doing this, you can reset your body clock and make it hard for you to get to sleep at night. 

Don't eat a large or heavy meal before bed. This causes indigestion and can interfere with your normal sleep cycle.  Eat at least two hours before bedtime.  In addition, drinking too much liquid before bed can cause you to get up during the night to visit the bathroom. 

Small bedtime snacks may help. Tryptophan, found in milk, turkey, and peanuts, helps the brain relax. Warm milk, a slice of toast with peanut butter, or a bowl of cereal before bedtime may help you to fall asleep quicker.  

Journal your anxieties.   Unresolved issues, stresses, and worries have a way of keeping our brain active and alert  when we are trying to sleep.  To help, write down your worries and possible solutions before you go to bed.  By doing so, you will feel less inclined to
ruminate over problems and let them go for the moment.

Relax before going to bed.   Quiet time can help make falling asleep easier. Meditation, relaxation, a warm bath, or whatever else relaxes you can help make sleep easier.

Have a bedtime ritual. Listen to relaxing music, have a cup of herbal tea, take a bath, etc.  This clues your body in that it is time to slow down and begin to prepare for sleep. 

When you feel tired, go to bed.  It's just that simple.

Check your prescription or over the counter drugs. Make sure your medications do not cause insomnia. Want to try a sleeping pill? Think twice.  Some evidence shows that these really do not work at all and can cause daytime drowsiness.   If you are having chronic problems with sleep, please see your physician right away!  Always talk to your doctor or healthcare practitioner about your concerns.  They can help! 


WAKING UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT?  TRY THIS!

Try visualization.  Thinking about repetitive or mindless things will help your brain to shut down and adjust to sleep.  Counting sheep really does help!

Get out of bed. Don't lie in bed awake and worry about the fact that you are not falling asleep- this will actually keep you up! Go into another room and relax until you feel sleepy. 

Cut out the stimulates. Do not read or watch on TV anything job related or interesting as this only alerts your  mind.  Keep the lights low since light gives your brain a clue that it is time to wake up.  Keep it mellow.

Eat some tryptophan. Best eaten on an empty stomach, turkey, milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, cashews, soybeans, and tuna all contain tryptophan, which increase the feeling of sleepiness.  

HAVING TROUBLE SLEEPING?  TRY A SLEEP DIARY

By keeping a diary, it can make it easier to find out the reasons why you are not sleeping.  Be diligent and keep your diary up to date.  You will soon see what is causing your restless, sleepless nights.  (Sleep diaries are also very helpful to your doctor when he/she tries to diagnose your problem).  Make sure to indicate the following:

-The time you went to bed and woke up

-How many hours you slept

-What was the quality of your sleep?

-If you woke up during the night, what did you do?

-Your overall emotional state

-The types of foods you ate that day

-The amount of caffeine, alcohol, and medications taken along with
the time you consumed them

Sleep is so important to our health, and so overlooked.  Make sure you are sleeping enough for your body and getting the quality of sleep you need.  Your health depends on it!

Wishing you many happy dreams!

If you are still having trouble staying asleep, consider keeping a dissolvable natural sleep aid on your bedside table. Choosing a natural product that contains herbs and melatonin can help guard against morning grogginess; helping you start your day refreshed and alert.

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Nothing on this site is a recommendation as to how to treat any particular disease or health-related condition. You should not use this site as a substitute for professional medical advice. For serious ailments, or if symptoms persist, you must see a medical professional. You should not stop taking prescribed medication without consulting your doctor.

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