trouble falling asleep at night or staying asleep once you doze
off? If so, you are not alone. Lack of sleep is a common woe—but
if it’s a persistent problem, it can affect your productivity (and
even your safety) during the workday. Fortunately, the solution
may lie in a simple lifestyle change. Make some adjustments in your
daily habits, and you’re likely to snooze better.
Myths About Sleep
First of all, diet can make a crucial difference.
Try avoiding caffeine
in the afternoon and alcohol before bedtime (although a nightcap
may help you fall asleep faster, it makes the later stages of sleep
less restful). The timing of your meals matters, too: a heavy meal
close to bedtime isn’t good, but going to bed hungry can leave you
with midnight munchies. If you’re a smoker, you should know that
not only is nicotine a stimulant that keeps you awake, but your
body also goes through a nocturnal nicotine withdrawal that’s disruptive
to your rest.
Second, make sure your bedroom is a sleep-friendly environment.
Use blankets, air conditioning, or whatever it takes to get your
room temperature just right, and if “just right” is just impossible,
know that most sleep scientists believe a slightly cool temperature
is better than too hot. Extra light may bother you more than you
think, so use curtains, blinds or a blackout shade. And consider
using earplugs, white noise or relaxing music to keep the outside
world just that—outside. Finally, all those mattress ads on the
radio aren’t lying: an uncomfortable bed can cause a less restful
Your day-to-day lifestyle can also affect your
exercise can make you fall asleep faster and sleep better. It
also fights stress—which can ruin a good night’s sleep on its own.
Reduce your stress level, and you’re likely to sleep better. And
while you’re de-stressing, you might want to tone down that hectic
schedule as well: missing sleep during the week and then “catching
up” on the weekends is no match for a consistent bedtime throughout
the week. If you have trouble sleeping and changes in your daily
habits don’t help, talk to your doctor or a sleep specialist. Most
sleep disorders can be successfully treated.
Myths About Sleep
This column was adapted from an article from Achieve
Solutions, the Web resource center provided by Children’s Employee
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