Are you dreaming about getting a good night's sleep? If so, you're not alone. A recent survey showed that as many as 100 million Americans have a tough time sleeping three times a week or more. Just as good sleep can add years to your life, poor sleep can negatively impact your health. It affects short-term memory, increases our risk of work-related injuries, makes it more difficult to shed excess pounds and can even cause wrinkles. By far, the leading cause of insomnia is stress. In today's fast-paced world, life can be demanding and filled with tension, but it still is possible to get the rest you need. For those type-A personalities among us, these suggestions can help you fall asleep faster and get a better quality of sleep.
  • Find your own rhythm. One of the best ways to get a good night's sleep is by following your body's own clock. Most of us have a natural sleep pattern that will provide optimal sleep. 
  • Try not to burn the midnight oil and listen to your body about when to turn in and when to wake up. 
  • Make a habit of going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. 
  • Make the bedroom your sanctuary. Keep your bedroom a place to sleep -- not to work or watch television. 
  • Having a comfortable mattress, soft sheets and a soothing atmosphere will also be beneficial. 
  • Sharing a bed with someone who snores will definitely make it hard to sleep. A trip to the doctor for a noisy husband or wife will help them rest better, too. 
  • Have a rub with someone you love. Massage is a wonderful way to unwind. It can bring relief to sore muscles, which will decrease that tossing and turning. For an even greater effect, use a lotion or oil that contains lavender. The fragrance will naturally help the body feel more peaceful. 
  • Be careful of hidden stimulants. Most people know not to drink coffee if they're having trouble sleeping, but there also many hidden sources of caffeine and other stimulants. Some teas, such as black tea, are a source of caffeine. Anything containing chocolate or flavored with coffee can derail your attempts to get some rest. 
  • Keep moving. A workout at least four hours before bedtime will reduce stress and make for restful sleep. Exercise relaxes the body and the mind. 
  • Unwind. The worries and pressures we deal with every day are one of the main culprits that cause insomnia. Find anything you love to do that leaves you feeling serene. Read a good book, take a warm bath or just enjoy one of your favorite videotapes. Any activity that quiets the mind will work. 
  • Take a chill pill. While prescription sleep aids may help you rest, they can also have side effects and leave you feeling groggy. Natural remedies such as the herbs valerian and chomomile will help you relax. The supplement melatonin has also been shown to be effective when used for short periods of time. Dark green, leafy vegetables and nutritional supplements that contain magnesium and calcium sooth muscles and help you feel at ease. 


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