Sleep is not overrated – are you getting enough?

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Are you getting enough sleep
Are you getting enough sleep

Try some of the following tips before putting chemicals in your body.

It seems that many of the folks I speak with mention having something less of a good night’s sleep and as a result, tend to go through their day with less than the energy and enthusiasm they once enjoyed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 3 in 10 people are getting 6 or less hours of sleep. And that’s a problem since experts argue that getting adequate sleep can be as important to health and well-being as diet and exercise. Too often our first inclination is to look to our medicine cabinet for an over-the-counter or prescription solution to getting a good night’s sleep.  But first try some of the following tips before putting chemicals in your body.

Before going to bed, don’t eat anything for two or three hours, especially heavy or spicy foods that may cause heartburn. On the other hand, don’t go to bed hungry.  Of course avoid anything with caffeine in it and no smoking before bed. Try to achieve a good balance that you feel comfortable with.

Next try turning off or moving your clock.  Oddly enough when we wake up in the middle of the night and look to see what time it is, that takes us to being fully awake and makes it more difficult to fall back to sleep. In fact when you do wake up during the night, try not even opening your eyes and just drift back to sleep.

Your routine and setting for bed are important in getting your good night’s sleep.  Try going to sleep at the same time each night and before going to bed don’t engage in those activities that tend to wind you up.

Keep your bedroom for sleeping, not a place where you can continue to work, scan your computer, or watch TV. Maybe just read a quiet novel, take a nice bath or shower, even listen to some relaxing music before bed.  Make sure you bedroom has minimal light and noise, and that the temperature is cool and comfortable.  If your spouse snores or there is too much other noise, get some earplugs.

And what about your bed itself? Comfort is so important to sleep.  Is your mattress still comfortable or has it become worn out with age (most mattresses last around 10 years)? Is your pillow comfortable or do you wake up with a stiff neck or headache?  Even your linens contribute to your comfort, so buy high quality sheets and pillow cases to increase your comfort.

I am confident that many of us have a routine that puts us to sleep.  Something that relaxes our minds and puts us in a quiet mental place that enables us to drift quickly into a deeper sleep.  Some folks have even tried the guided imagery CDs that are available to help us relax and get a sound sleep and allows us to wake up refreshed and relaxed each morning.

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Dennis F.

Dennis has lived or traveled in Australia, the United States and Asia. He is an Army veteran with a PhD in Child and Developmental Psychology. He currently lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina, USA, with his wife Nancy and two dogs. Dennis is keenly interested in antiques, particularly militaria and coins. He occupies his time researching and writing for The Silver Life and caretaking houses for the summer residents of the mountains.

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