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How to get better sleep

Updated on March 15, 2007

If you worried you won't get everything done, the best thing you can do is get some sleep. The quality and quantity of your sleep can make all the difference in how productive you'll be the next day. Not to mention a more restful night of sleep will give you more energy, help you lose weight, and may even make you look younger. Here are ten tips to help you get the sleep you need and deserve.

1. Remove distractions

Turn off the cell phone, the radio, the television. Many people say that having the television on helps them fall asleep, but this is a bad habit to get into and greatly effects the quality of sleep you are getting. Try sleeping without the radio or television on and if you really can't sleep and you need noise to using a white noise machine turning on a fan, these noises can mark outside noise without distracting you from sleep.

2. Set the Right Temperature

Try to sleep in a cool environment. The ideal sleeping temperature is between 65 and 72 degrees. A mild drop in body temperature often induces sleep, which is why lying in a cool bed after a hot bath is so relaxing.

3. Watch What You Eat

What to you eat close to bedtime can greatly effect your sleep. Avoid eating within three hours of bedtime. Alcohol and tobacco a can exacerbate anxiety, avoid these before bedtime as well.

4. Watch the Caffeine

Get in tune with how your body responds to caffeine and make adjustments so that it's less likely to disrupt your sleep. Some people can drink several cups of coffee, tea or soft drinks within an hour of sleep and notice no effects, whereas others may feel stimulating effects after one cup.

5. Prepare to Sleep

Relax before bedtime. Stress not only makes you miserable, it wreaks havoc on your sleep. Develop some kind of pre-sleep ritual like reading, light stretching or taking a hot bath to break the connection between all the day's stress and bedtime. These rituals can be as short as 10 minutes. Also, make the room dark to help set the mood for sleep.

6. But a New Pillow

If every night you scrunch up your pillow and fold it in half like a neck-roll just to get it to fit comfortably underneath your head, you're in dire need of a new pillow. If your pillow is dirty, stained, torn or if it smells bad, you also need a new bed pillow. The right pillow will help you sleep better and wake up less during the night.

7. Set the Mood

Keep high-wattage lights away from the bedroom. Install low-wattage lights anywhere near the bed or add dimmers to all the switches and set the mood for sleep two to three hours before you retire.

8. Consider Possible Allergies

Look at pillows, sheets, fabric softeners and detergents, pets in the bed, dust, mold, perfume and so on, that can affect the bedroom environment. All of these can cause congestion, which can worsen snoring.

9. Take a Nap

The 20-minute power nap has been talked about for years, but napping doesn't have to be so confined. You can gain a lot of benefits from as little as five minutes, and as much as two or more hours (but, please, no more than three). If you have real trouble sleeping at night, though, it's a no-napping policy during the day.

10. Evaluate Your Mattress

Test your mattress. If it hasn't been turned (rotated if it's a pillow top mattress) in a year, do it now. If it's older than seven years, it's time to buy a new one.

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