Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How To Get A Good Night's Sleep

1. Invest in the basics. A supportive mattress and pillows are key for comfort and long-term health.

Note: If you sleep on your side, choose a firm pillow; if you sleep on your back, opt for a medium one; stomach sleepers, go for super-soft.

2. Time Matters. Set your internal clock by going to sleep and waking up at about the same time every day (including weekends).

3. Plan ahead. Set yourself up with everything you need before going to bed: extra blankets, a glass of water, an eye mask.

4. Avoid napping. Although it's hard to resist, a quick catnap on the couch may throw your sleep pattern out of whack. If you feel tired, try going to bed early instead of napping.

5. Tidy up. A clean room creates a sense of calm and comfort. Get in the routine of making the bed when you wake up – it feels so much better to get into a neat bed at night.

6. Move it. Set aside at least 30 minutes a day to get your heart rate up. It helps increase the time you spend in a deep-sleep stage, and cuts the time it takes to drift off to dreamland.
Note: Vigorous exercise before bedtime may have the reverse effect so avoid exercising three hours before bed.

7. Breathe deeply. Once in bed, take 10 full, slow breaths to help get oxygen into your bloodstream and calm your heart rate.

8. Sit and soak. Before bed, take a bubble bath to soothe muscles and wash away the day (or try Epsom salts). Light some scented candles for a relaxing, spa atmosphere. If you don't have a bathtub, take a long, hot shower – it can feel just as therapeutic.

9. Dab it on. Put a small amount of lavender essential oil (suitable for putting on skin) on pulse points such as temples and wrists to calm your nerves.

10. Slow down. Spend the hour before you plan on going to bed doing relaxing activities like reading or listening to music in a dimly lit room. Avoid television since it can over-stimulate your senses and keep you awake.

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