What you can do to sleep better

Do you find yourself dozing off in the middle of the day, or simply longing for more sleep from the time you get up? Or perhaps you find yourself lying in bed waiting for sleep to come, or experience restlessness throughout the night.

If you’re like many Americans, you long for more and better sleep. The secret to more restful nights varies for each person, but you can do several things to give yourself the best chance of getting a good night’s rest.

Exercise
Medical experts agree that people who exercise regularly tend to sleep better. Exercising around the same time every day can also help. If you tend to experience a high-energy period after a workout, try to get in your workout earlier in the day.

Diet
Eating a healthy diet doesn’t only help you stay in shape – it can also help you sleep better. It’s also important to time your meals so you aren’t going to bed hungry or full, since both can cause delayed or interrupted sleep.

Distractions
Do you have a habit of falling asleep with the TV or the radio on? If you do, it’s time to modify your habits. Noise from the TV or radio can prevent you from entering a full sleep cycle. If it would throw off your routine to turn them off, set the sleep timer so you aren’t subconsciously tuning in throughout the night.

Routine
Remember when your parents used to put you to bed a certain time every night? Having a bedtime also isn’t a bad idea for adults, either. Your body will adapt nicely to a regular sleep schedule.

Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol
Having a beer or a cigarette to wind down before bed may seem relaxing, but both can have negative effect on your ability to get a good night’s rest. Caffeine in the evening can be detrimental to sleep for the same reason it’s helpful in the morning, since it is a stimulant.

Sleep aids
If nothing seems to be working, it might be a good idea to consult a sleep professional who can make additional recommendations.

You may get a simple recommendation for a lifestyle change, a suggestion to take natural or prescription sleeping pills (you can find more information about sleep pills at www.bestsleepingpill.org/) or discover you need to be treated for a condition like sleep apnea. If you are prescribed a sleeping pill, do your research, as some have been found to have negative side effects. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor tough questions about whether a treatment has proven to be safe and effective.

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