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How to Sleep Better

September 19th, 2011 Healthy Living

Just because you set aside enough time to snooze for the night doesn't mean you'll fall into a restful slumber. Scheduling time to sleep is only half the battle - getting a good night's rest and making it count requires some work. Here are a few ways you can make sure you're not left counting sheep at night, as recommended by the Mayo Clinic.

1. Stick to a schedule. If you frequently change your sleep habits, your body will have a hard time adjusting. Go to bed and wake up around the same time every day to promote your sleep cycle. You can take naps to account for lost time, but limit them to about 30 minutes to avoid affecting your nightly slumber.

2. Be careful what you eat and drink before bed. If you're too hungry or full, you could be distracted from a peaceful sleep. Caffeine, alcohol and nicotine can also affect your sleep pattern throughout the night, so it's best to avoid these substances before bed.

3. Develop a bedtime ritual for yourself. This may include taking a bath, reading or listening to soothing music. The relaxing routine will get your body accustomed to the idea that it's almost time to shut down for the night.

4. Control your environment. Most people sleep well in a cool room with plenty of ventilation, so be sure you're going to be comfortable. Surround yourself with pillows and blankets suited for your particular tastes and get rid of anything that may distract you by turning off the TV, shutting the shades and perhaps even wearing earplugs.

5. Get plenty of exercise throughout the day. This will naturally tire your body and make it more likely to relax when you're ready to go to bed at night. Avoid physical activity too close to bedtime, as you could remain too energized to sleep.