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The original item was published from 5/12/2014 9:52:00 AM to 5/12/2014 9:52:59 AM.

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Posted on: January 1, 2014

[ARCHIVED] Sleep tips

Consider the factors that can hinder a good night's sleep, from stress at work and family responsibilities to unexpected challenges, such as financial, relationship issues or illnesses.

Although you might not be able to control all of the factors that affect your sleep, you can take steps that encourage better sleep. Start with these simple sleep tips.

No. 1: Stick to a sleep schedule.
Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends and days off. Being consistent reinforces your body's sleep-wake cycle and helps promote better sleep at night.

No. 2: Pay attention to what you eat and drink.
Don't go to bed either hungry or stuffed. Your discomfort might keep you up. Also limit how much you drink before bed, to prevent disruptive middle-of-the-night trips to the toilet.
The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine, which takes time to wear off, can cause problems with the quality sleep.

No. 3: Create a bedtime ritual.
Do the same things each night to tell your body it's time to wind down. This might include taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music. Be cautious of using the TV or computers as part of your bedtime ritual. Some research suggests that screen time or other media use before bedtime interferes with sleep.

No. 4: Get comfortable.
Create a room that's ideal for sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. Your mattress and pillow can contribute to better sleep, too. Choose what feels most comfortable to you. If you share your bed, make sure there's enough room for two.

No. 5: Include physical activity in your daily routine.
Regular physical activity can promote better sleep, helping you to fall asleep faster and aid in a deeper sleep. Be careful of how close to bed time you exercise, it may energize too much to fall asleep

No. 6: Limit daytime naps.
Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep. If you like to nap during the day, limit yourself to about 10 to 30 minutes and make it during the midafternoon.

No. 7: Manage stress.
When you have too much on your mind, your sleep is likely to suffer. Consider healthy ways to manage stress, like getting organized, prioritizing projects and saying no. Allow yourself a break when you need one. Share a good laugh friends and family. Before you go to bed, clear your mind of your thoughts by writing them down, deal with them the next day.

By Pete Morrissette, BS, CHP
Public Health Educator

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