Friday, August 22, 2008

Good Habits for Good Sleep

By Susan Harris

Sleep may be elusive for you. In fact, it may be getting more elusive as time goes by. Perhaps all you need to change is some habits you may have picked up.

Sleep hygiene is a relatively new concept. It helps you think of caring for yourself in preparation for sleep, just as you might care for your teeth. If you suffer from insomnia, you should take a look at various elements of your sleep hygiene:

*Eliminating caffeine or chocolate. Try this for a few days. The effect of these two on your body can change over time. Taking caffeine or chocolate even in the morning may be able to affect your night-time sleep.

*Exercising in the evening. Exercise for your recommended 30 minutes can get your heart rate up and can keep you awake. Try exercising before 6 p.m.

*Sugar. Sweets taken late in the day can stimulate your system, making it hard to sleep. Even natural sugar, like in orange juice, can be a problem for some people.

*Arguing. Don't argue with anyone after supper. Just make an appointment for an earnest discussion the following ay.

*Brainstorming. If you have a creative project you love to work on, you may be better off giving yourself a curfew, such as 8 p.m. Otherwise your mind may work on the problem all through the night, keeping you awake.

So much for what to avoid. So, what can you DO to improve your sleep hygiene?

*After supper, do calm things on purpose, in a calm manner.

*If you read near bedtime, read news magazines or other items that have no exciting story line.

*If you want to watch TV or video, watch a documentary rather than a thriller or a whodunit.

So, now you have plenty of tips for good sleep hygiene. Try them out. They could be just what you are looking for.

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