Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Key to a Good Night's Sleep

     While most of us know that getting a good night’s sleep can make us healthier, many of us don’t know how to achieve that elusive dream.  Choosing the right mattress and eating certain foods and having regular routines can help.   Part of the key to getting good sleep is to experiment.  What might work for some, won’t for others, but here are some helpful tips to get you started in the right direction.  

     First, it’s very important to have the right mattress.  For everyone, that means a mattress that fully supports your body, and has no lumps or dips, which can disrupt sleep even on the best of nights.  As far as comfort goes, some people will like a supportive mattress with a plush top and others prefer a firmer feel.  The best way to find out which is better for you is to go to a store and do your research by lying down and trying several different types and comfort levels.  Optimally you are spending 8 hours a night on your mattress, so you want to make sure to get the right one. 

The bedding experts at Spector Furniture can help you find just the right mattress!

     Second, keeping a regular sleep schedule will help to make you feel more refreshed and energized when you wake up.  It’s very tempting to change your schedule on weekends by staying up late and “sleeping in”, but doing this is bound to leave you feeling more tired.  You should choose a bedtime when you normally feel tired, as tossing and turning because you’re not ready for bed yet will disrupt your sleep cycle.  Once you have your body on a regular schedule, sleeping and waking up at the same time every day, you will probably find that you wake naturally, without the need for an alarm!  If you do need an alarm and keep finding yourself hitting that snooze button, you may need to choose an earlier bedtime to get the rest your body needs. 

     Third, try to create a relaxing bedtime ritual.  There are many things you can try to do to wind down at the end of the day.  For example, read a book or magazine under soft light, take a warm bath, listen to soft music, do some easy stretches….the possibilities are endless.  Don’t pay your bills or worry about tomorrow….give yourself much needed time to de-stress and relax before bed. 

     Fourth, eat right and get regular exercise.  Big meals shortly before bedtime will certainly keep you from a good night’s sleep.  Also avoid rich, fatty foods within a couple of hours of bedtime as your body needs to work harder to digest them and may keep you awake while doing so.  Alcohol also reduces sleep quality so try to stay away from it before bedtime.  Cutting down on caffeine is also a good tip if you have trouble sleeping.  Caffeine can cause sleep problems even 10-12 hours after it is consumed!  Higher protein foods will help make you sleepy.  Bananas and almonds have magnesium which help with muscle relaxation.  Cherries are a natural source of melatonin, a chemical that promotes sleepiness.  Regular exercise is also a good way to help you sleep more deeply, on top of the obvious health benefits.

     These are just some of the ways you can try to get a better night’s sleep.  People who sleep less than 7 hours a night are much more likely to catch a cold.  Not enough sleep can also throw off your hormones and increase your chances of being overweight.  Insufficient sleep can even put you at risk for heart disease and diabetes.  Experiment with the steps until you find the right balance for YOUR good night’s sleep. 

Sweet dreams!  Z Z Z Z…….

1 comment:

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