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Ten Tips for a Great Night's Rest


According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 70 million Americans report they have trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep every night. Have we become a nation of the eternally drowsy?

With hectic schedules and a variety of life commitments, women are living more versatile lives. But this new dynamic might be one of the reasons that 67 percent of them claim they experience a sleep problem three or more times a week.

"Researchers have determined that insufficient sleep can cause serious medical problems - high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and depression, to begin with," says Ellen Michaud, author of "Sleep to Be Sexy, Smart and Slim." "While it is often easier to look to various medications for sleep assistance, it is in the examining and making of changes to your sleep habits where you can really make the difference."

Michaud's book is a collection of easy-to-implement, doctor-tested tips, tricks and strategies for women to achieve better sleep throughout their lifetime. Here are some ideas to help you start sleeping better and living healthier:

1. Don't check your e-mail before bed.
Researchers at Stanford University have found that the light from your monitor right before bed is enough to reset your whole wake/sleep cycle -- and postpone the onset of sleepiness by 3 hours.

2. Ditch the lights.
Hall nightlights and clock radios with lighted displays can be misinterpreted by your brain as a signal you should wake up.  Darkness inhibits the brain's biological clock and encourages you to sleep sounder, for longer periods of time.

3. Skip the murder thrillers.
Stephen King novels and other thriller-type books are not good to read before bed. No one sleeps when their mind is wondering at every creek and noise in the house.

4. Forget the late-night news.
Since most 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts tend to feature negative, often shocking content, it will do more to agitate you than help you to relax. After 30 or 60 minutes of watching people get hurt, it's unlikely you are going to drift into a peaceful sleep.

5. Keep a "worry" book close.
"Put a 'worry book' beside your bed," suggests UCLA's Dr. Yan-Go. When you wake and start worrying, jot down everything you're thinking and any strategies you've thought of that will solve the problems. Then put the book back and rest easy knowing you will deal with those items in the morning.

6. Wear socks to bed.
"There's no solid explanation for it, but studies have found that wearing socks to bed helps you sleep," comments Michaud. "It may be that warming your feet and legs allows your internal body temperature to drop."

7. Drink water.
Water is a great thing to drink for overall health. Be sure to avoid coffee, hot chocolate or tea within 6 to 10 hours of bed. Caffeine blocks the effects of adenosine, a chemical produced by your brain that makes you sleepy.

8. Take milk and (low-fat) cookies to bed.
The tryptophan in milk will help you feel sleepy, but you need some carbs to get it where you want it to go in your brain, says Mary Susan Esther, MD, and president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

9. Create a sleep schedule.
Keeping a consistent sleep schedule every day of the week helps to train the brain and body to relax during those designated times. Talk with your family or mate about your sleep needs and how you can work as a team to make sure everyone is getting the sleep they need.

10. Use aromatherapy.
"Try taking a warm bath before bed and using aromas that calm the senses, such as lavender and vanilla," suggests Michaud. "Before you go to bed, a quick spritz of soothing lavender water on your pillows will help calm your exhausted mind."

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Categories: Just for me, Newsletter, Take Care of You,

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