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5 Keys To Better Sleep ~ [Issue 0405-3]  Wellness Weekly
 Apr 22, 2005 22:39 PDT 

5 KEYS TO BETTER SLEEP
Copyright 2005 by Patricia Wagner

Do you have trouble getting a good night's sleep?

What you are about to read may make a huge difference to your future
health! Being well rested is essential to our wellbeing and is a
major key in living an energetic lifestyle. Here are some of the
benefits of a good night's sleep:

- You will look and feel your best.
- Relating to others will come easier with enough rest.
- You'll be a safer driver and be less likely to fall asleep at the
wheel.
- More alertness on the job will be a major benefit.
- You'll feel less stressed.
- There'll be an increased ability to fight off illness.
- You'll enjoy life more.

Here are some keys to getting a better night's sleep:

1. Set your body clock.

Choose a bedtime schedule by deciding how many hours of shut-eye you
need and try to stick with it. That's because we are all creatures of
habit.

Try not to oversleep too often because this tends to throw your body
clock off. If you are tired, try taking a short nap. However, it
should not be longer than about one half an hour because more time
than that and you will wind up not being able to fall asleep that night.

2. Be wise about eating and drinking.

Drinking too much fluid in the late afternoon and evening can cause
you to wake up in the middle of the night to trot off to the
bathroom. Also consuming food and beverages that contain caffeine
before bedtime can cause you to toss and turn for hours. So it would
be wise to avoid coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate before going
to bed. However, a hot non-caffeinated drink can relax you.

3. Prepare your sleeping environment.

You have control over a number of factors in your sleeping
environment that will make or break a good night's sleep.

One of them is the temperature of your bedroom. Adjust the
temperature of your bedroom so it's conducive to sleeping. It's
usually best to have your room a little on the cool side, but be sure
you have enough blankets on your bed.

Another environmental issue is the darkness of our bedrooms. Many
people prefer sleeping when it's totally dark, so turn off the lights
except for night lights.

A key bedroom environment factor is your bed. Purchase the best
mattress you can afford since you'll spend a good proportion of your
life on it.

Quietness is very important to our rest. Try to keep the noise down.
If that's impossible, consider using ear plugs. Play calming music
and avoid watching television just before bedtime. Violent scenes can
lead to sleeplessness and violent dreams!

Design your bedroom to be a peaceful sanctuary in your home. Separate
your work from the bedroom area so your body knows the bedroom is a
place to rest - not work.

4. Prepare yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually for bedtime.

There are a number of steps you can take before going to bed to
prepare yourself physically. Slowly stretching before hitting the
sack can help you relax. Regular exercise during the day will enhance
your ability to fall asleep. Taking a warm bath - not a shower - can
be helpful too. If you are still tense, a back massage can help you
relax. Wear comfortable nonbinding clothing.

Here's the most important thing you can do once you've hit the sack -
let go of the day's worries. Bedtime is a bad time to dwell on
problems since worry can keep you tossing and turning for hours! I've
found that reading the Bible and praying before going to bed is a
wonderful way to end the day. Then I can truly relax and lay down my
problems. My sleep is much sweeter and so are my dreams!

5. Seek specialized help if needed.

A medical condition could be preventing you from getting your full
rest at night. See your doctor if you have continuing difficulty with
falling asleep. Usually it's not wise to take sleeping pills since
they can become addictive. They also interfere with the body's own
inner sleeping rhythm.

Here are three organizations that offer specialized help:

National Sleep Foundation
http://www.sleepfoundation.org/about.cfm
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine
http://www.aasmnet.org/
National Center on Sleep Disorders Research
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/about/ncsdr/index.htm

The suggestions in this article have been listed to help you get a
better night's sleep. Now try putting them into practice and enjoy a
more rested and energetic lifestyle.

Pleasant dreams!

-------------------------------------------------------
Patricia Wagner offers informative tips on living a more
energetic lifestyle at http://www.a-to-z-wellness.com. She
is also an artist and you can view her original paintings
at http://www.artbywagner.com.
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