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How To Sleep Well

How To Sleep Well

Even the best mattress can't solve every sleep ailment. Try one or two or a combination of the tips below until you have enough quality sleep to feel alert and well rested.

1. Stick to a schedule, and don't sleep late on weekends. If you sleep late on Saturday and Sunday morning, you'll get Sunday night insomnia. Instead, go to bed and get up at about the same time every day. "You don't need to rely on an alarm clock to wake up when you get enough sleep," says Dr. Shepard.

2. Don't eat or drink a lot before bedtime. Eat a light dinner about 2 hours before sleeping. If you drink too much liquid before sleeping, you'll wake up repeatedly in the night for trips to the bathroom.
Don't eat spicy or fatty foods. They cause heartburn.
Don't have a midnight snack. If you get the munchies, eat something that triggers serotonin, which makes you sleepy. Carbohydrates (bread or cereal) or foods containing the amino acid L-tryptophan (milk, tuna, or turkey) will do the trick.
Don't drink alcohol near bedtime. It may cause you to wake up repeatedly, snore and possibly develop sleep apnea.

3. Avoid caffeine and nicotine. They are addictive stimulants and keep you awake. Smokers experience withdrawal symptoms at night, and they have a harder time both falling asleep and waking up.

4. Exercise. If you're trying to sleep better, the best time to exercise is in the afternoon. Physical activity enhances the deep, refreshing stage of sleep.

5. A slightly cool room is ideal for sleeping. This mimics your internal temperature drop during sleep, so turn off the heat and save on fuel bills.
If you tend to get cold, use blankets. Try sleeping in warmer nightclothes and wear socks. Studies show that warm hands and feet induce sleep quickly.
If you overheat at night, wear light nightclothes and sleep under a single sheet. Use an air conditioner or fan to keep the room cool.
Use a dehumidifier if you are bothered by moist air. Use a humidifier if you are bothered by dry air. Signs of dry air irritation include a sore throat, nosebleeds or a dry throat.

6. Sleep only at night. Daytime naps steal hours from nighttime slumber. Limit daytime sleep to 20-minute, power naps.
If you work nights, keep window coverings closed so that sunlight, which interferes with the body's internal clock, doesn't interrupt your sleep.
If you have a day job and sleep at night, but still have trouble waking, leave the window covering open and let the sun's light wake you up.

7. Keep it quiet. Silence is more conducive to sleep. Turn off the radio and TV. Use earplugs, a fan or some other source of constant, soothing, background noise to mask sound that you cannot control, such as a busy street, trains, airplanes or even a snoring partner. Double-pane windows and heavy curtains also muffle outside noise.

8. Make your bed. "A good bed is subjective and different for each person. Make sure you have a bed that is comfortable and offers orthopedic, correct sleep," says Dr. Shepard.
It's possible that you might not have the type of mattress that suits you best. It's worth knowing your stuff when it comes to mattresses; choosing just the right kind can be very beneficial for a good night's rest, for both body and peace of mind.

If you share your bed, make sure there is enough room for two.
Use your bed only for sleep and sex.
Go to bed when you are tired and turn out the lights. If you don't fall asleep in 15 minutes, get up and do something else. Go back to bed when you are tired.
Do not agonize about falling asleep or other sources of stress.

9. Soak and sack out. Taking a hot shower or bath before bed helps bring on sleep because they can relax the tense muscles.

10. Don't rely on sleeping pills. Check with your doctor before using sleeping pills. Make sure the pills won't interact with other medications or with an existing medical condition.
Use the lowest dosage and never mix alcohol and sleeping pills.
If you feel sleepy or dizzy during the day, talk to your doctor about changing the dosage or discontinuing the pills.

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