Wednesday, 2 July 2014

10 Simple Ways to Sleep Better at night

If you do everything right each night—you know, going to bed early and avoiding drinking—your body's internal clock should wake you up at the same time every morning. For the rest of us, here are ten simple ways to a better night's sleep.

1. Power down electronics
The first thing to do is to turn off the computer (once you've finished reading this, of course) and all of your tech toys, including the television. It's best to do this about one hour before retiring for the evening. Too much light sends mixed signals to your sleep hormones (which kick in at about 9 or 10 P.M.) making it harder to fall asleep. Try reading a book or magazine, instead. 


2. Stick to a sleep schedule
Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends, holidays and days off. Being consistent reinforces your body's sleep-wake cycle and helps promote better sleep at night. There's a caveat, though. If you don't fall asleep within about 15 minutes, get up and do something relaxing. Go back to bed when you're tired. If you agonize over falling asleep, you might find it even tougher to nod off.

3. Pay attention to what you eat and drink
Don't go to bed either hungry or stuffed. Your discomfort might keep you up. Also limit how much you drink before bed, to prevent disruptive middle-of-the-night trips to the toilet.

Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol deserve caution, too. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and can wreak havoc on quality sleep. And even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy at first, it can disrupt sleep later in the night.

4. Create a bedtime ritual
Do the same things each night to tell your body it's time to wind down. This might include taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music — preferably with the lights dimmed. Relaxing activities can promote better sleep by easing the transition between wakefulness and drowsiness.

5. Charge your BlackBerry and other tech toys in the Living Room 
Having too many tech toys in the bedroom makes your mind associate the room with productivity, not relaxation. "You want your brain to know that when you're in bed, that's a place for sleep and sleep only. If nothing else, put that bad boy on silent mode. Whatever e-mails you get can wait until dawn.

6. Practice good "sleep hygiene."
Create a room that's ideal for sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.

Your mattress and pillow can contribute to better sleep, too. Since the features of good bedding are subjective, choose what feels most comfortable to you. If you share your bed, make sure there's enough room for two. If you have children or pets, try to set limits on how often they sleep with you — or insist on separate sleeping quarters.

7. Limit daytime naps
Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep — especially if you're struggling with insomnia or poor sleep quality at night. If you choose to nap during the day, limit yourself to about 10 to 30 minutes and make it during the midafternoon.

If you work nights, you'll need to make an exception to the rules about daytime sleeping. In this case, keep your window coverings closed so that sunlight — which adjusts your internal clock — doesn't interrupt your daytime sleep.

8. Include physical activity in your daily routine
Regular physical activity can promote better sleep, helping you to fall asleep faster and to enjoy deeper sleep. Timing is important, though. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you might be too energized to fall asleep. If this seems to be an issue for you, exercise earlier in the day.

9. Manage stress
When you have too much to do — and too much to think about — your sleep is likely to suffer. To help restore peace, consider healthy ways to manage stress. Start with the basics, such as getting organized, setting priorities and delegating tasks. Give yourself permission to take a break when you need one. Share a good laugh with an old friend. Before bed, jot down what's on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow.

10.Don't drink to sleep.
Sure, sloshing down a little glass of wine will put you to sleep, but as the alcohol is metabolized by the body, it fragments sleep, which tends to cause nighttime awakenings and next-day tiredness.

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