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5 Tips to Better Sleep

When responsibilities mount, sleep is the first thing to drop off the priority list. In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, as many as 47 million Americans are sleep deprived (2002 Sleep in America poll). And that’s a problem since experts argue that getting adequate zzz’s is as important to health and wellbeing as diet and exercise. If you have a hard time falling asleep, wake up often in the night, or feel exhausted and doze off in the daytime, try the following tips for a more restful slumber.

1.Stick To A Schedule:
Try to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, even on weekends. This is important because of your “circadian rhythms.” Sleep is a homeostatic process [a system where our bodies regulate automatically based on our daily patterns].

2. Create A Ritual:
Engaging in relaxing activities help separate sleeping times from times that elicit excitement, stress, or anxiety (i.e. taking a warm bath, meditating, or reading). When engaging in such activities, try to reframe from bright light because it stimulates the brain and signals for you to awaken.

3. Create A Safe Haven – Turn Everything Off:
Some people believe that the T.V. helps them to fall asleep, which is not true. Actually the television hinders you from falling into deep sleep, which is known as REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. This is also true with the radio and/or alarm clock when visible from your bed. Getting rid of the clock is effective in 90 percent of people who have difficulty sleeping. Sleeping soundly requires the right environment – dark, quiet, comfortable, and cool. It helps if distractions are minimal – including exposure to light, uncomfortable temperatures, or poor air circulation, not to mention a spouse’s loud snoring.

4. Get Comfy:
Comfort is key! If you have had the same mattress for years on end, chances are it may have exceeded its life expectancy (10 year life expectancy) on your good mattresses. Encasing yourself in comfort will make for more peaceful slumber.

5. Watch What – And When – You Eat:
DO NOT eat anything 2 to 3 hours before your regular bedtime. The same rule applies to liquids. Often times, people sleep is interrupted because of the need to use the bathroom. Eating heavy meals or spicy foods too close to bedtime, may cause heartburn and make it difficult to fall asleep