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Please, turn on your magic beam. Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream.
When the Sandman ignores your invitation, you may find yourself tossing and turning as you struggle to fall asleep. Try as you might, your eyes just won’t stay shut. Perhaps you are the other type of insomniac, the kind who falls easily into slumber only to wake up a few hours later, wide-eyed and unable to return to sleep. Either way, your real dream is to sleep like a rock and wake up refreshed and ready to greet the day. If don’t know why your sheets end up in a tangle each night, you made need some tips in "sleep hygiene."
What Is It?
Good sleep hygiene is a preventative routine that supports sleep health, much like dental hygiene helps promote healthy teeth. Sleep hygiene consists of building habits that will contribute to a good night’s rest. Experts recommend that you use your bed only for sleep and sex, so that when you are in bed, your body receives the signal that it is time to rest.
Set Your Clock
Train yourself to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Your body needs to establish a rhythm so it knows when it should rest. Choose a reasonable time to lie down. If you get in bed too early, you won’t feel tired enough to fall asleep. Resist the urge to lie down, "just for a minute," after dinner. If you nap at that time, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to fall asleep again in a few hours.
Light of all kinds tends to suppress melatonin in your body and will interfere with your ability to wind down. Light from the television, computer screen, or any backlit portable device, can signal wakefulness in your brain. Try reading or other non-screen activities before bedtime and keep the lights low.
Time Your Workout
Daily exercise will help reduce stress and make it easier to relax at the end of the day. Get your exercise, but time it right. If you work out too close to bedtime, your adrenalin and higher body temperature may keep you up. Instead of a cardio-based routine, try stretching and yoga exercises at the end of the day.
Caffeine and Alcohol
Avoid caffeine and alcohol for up to six hours or more before bedtime. Sources of caffeine may include coffee, tea, soda and chocolate products. If you think a nightcap will help you sleep, think again. An alcoholic drink may initially make you sleepy, but within a few hours the alcohol converts to sugar in your system and can disrupt your sleep. Watch your intake of all fluids before bedtime to prevent night trips to the bathroom.
Large evening meals can haunt your dreams. If possible, eat dinner early and avoid rich or spicy foods. Acidic ingredients can contribute to heartburn and indigestion when you lay down. A meal of steak and cheesecake will be difficult to digest and may keep you awake.
If you have persistent sleeplessness it may affect your long-term health or be a sign of illness. Physical ailments and certain psychological conditions, such as depression and anxiety, may cause sleeplessness. In such cases, consult your physician or a sleep specialist.