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Don't Let The Bedbugs Bite - Getting a Good Night's Sleep In Texas

Aug 17, 2007
There's nothing more frustrating than not being able to sleep. You toss. You turn. Your mind races going over everything that happened during your day. Night noises keep you awake.

There is mounting evidence that an inadequate amount of sleep can:
- Increase moodiness
- Decrease ability to concentrate
- Decrease retention of new info.
- Challenge your ability to manage stress
- Lessen your body's ability to fight off illness

For these reasons alone, you shouldn't ignore your sleep problems or bad sleep habits.

So what's a young, healthy individual who lives in Dallas, Houston or anywhere in Texas to do? Before you go to your doctor and have him or her use the prescription pad, take a look at these basic rules to help you sleep well, also known as "Sleep Hygiene."

1. Sleep only when sleepy. This can reduce the time you're awake in bed.

2. If you can't fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up and do something boring until you feel sleepy. Sit quietly in the dark, read the warranty on your refrigerator, or count the holes in your ceiling tiles. Don't expose yourself to bright light while you are up. The light gives cues to your brain that it is time to wake up.

3. Don't take naps. This will ensure you are tired at bedtime. If you can't make it through the day without a nap, sleep less than an hour and do it before 3 pm.

4. Get up and go to bed the same time every day. Yes, even on weekends. When your sleep cycle has a regular rhythm, you will feel better.

5. Refrain from exercise at least 4 hours before bedtime. Regular exercise is recommended to help you sleep well, but the timing of the workout is important. Exercising in the morning or early afternoon will not interfere with sleep.

6. Develop sleep rituals. It's important to give your body cues that it's time to slow down and sleep. Listen to relaxing music, read something soothing for 15 minutes, have a cup of caffeine-free tea or do relaxation exercises.

7. Only use your bed for sleeping. Don't use your bed to watch TV, pay bills, work or read. So when you go to bed, your body knows it is time to sleep. Sex is the only exception.

8. Stay away from caffeine, nicotine and alcohol at least four to six hours before bed. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that interfere with your ability to fall asleep. Coffee, tea, cola, cocoa, chocolate and some prescription and non-prescription drugs contain caffeine. Cigarettes and some drugs contain nicotine. Alcohol may seem to help you sleep in the beginning as it slows brain activity, but you will end up with a fragmented sleep.

9. Have a light snack before bed. A stomach that's too empty can interfere with sleep. However, if you eat a heavy meal before bedtime, that can interfere with your sleep patterns as well. Foods like dairy products and turkey contain tryptophan, which acts as a natural sleep inducer. That's why a warm glass of milk is sometimes recommended.

10. Take a hot bath 90 minutes before bedtime. A hot bath raises your body temperature, but it's the drop in body temperature that may leave you feeling sleepy.

11. Make sure your bed and bedroom are quiet and comfortable. A hot room can be uncomfortable. A cooler room along with enough blankets to stay warm is recommended. If light in the early morning bothers you, get a blackout shade or wear a slumber mask. If noise bothers you, wear earplugs or get a "white noise" machine.

12. No TV right before bed. Even better, get the TV out of the bedroom. It is too stimulating to the brain and it will take you longer to fall asleep.

13. Wear socks to bed. Due to the fact that feet have the poorest circulation, they often feel cold before the rest of the body. A study has shown that this reduces night wakings.

14. Lose weight. Being overweight can increase the risk of sleep apnea, which will prevent a restful night's sleep.

15. Use sunlight to set your biological clock. As soon as you get up in the morning, go outside and turn your face to the sun for 15 minutes.
About the Author
Melih ("may-lee") Oztalay, CEO SmartFinds Internet Marketing
Web: www.precedent.com
EMail: melih@hsfideas.com
Precedent puts a new spin on health insurance in Texas.
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