Saturday, July 5, 2008

7 Tips for quality sleep

Sleeping can be made efficient too? That’s right — getting 10 hours of sleep is useless if it isn’t good sleep! I’m sure you’ve spent entire nights tossing and turning without actually falling asleep and waking up feeling just as exhausted as the night before. This happens to everyone but there are several methods to try to prevent this and to make sure you really are getting the best sleep you can get.

1. Sleep - Quality over QuantityGet a Comfortable Bed
The definition of comfort is different for everyone, but I would suggest trying different beds. It’s been proven that really soft mattresses aren’t good for the spine but neither are hard ones so it’s up to the individual to find something that suits them.
2. Avoid sugar and caffeine right before bed
Both of these things are stimulants and won’t let your body relax properly. If you’re thirsty right before bed, water is the best bet (in fact water is the best bet for almost all situations).
3. Don’t exercise right before bed
If you’re going to do 50 sit-ups before you sleep, make sure you do it a few hours in advance. Exercise, like sugar, stimulates the body and hinders it from properly relaxing.
4. Don’t drink too much water
On that last note, drinking too much water isn’t good. Depending on your bladder size you may have to get up to urinate in the middle of the night!
5. Keep a good constant temperature
If it’s cold outside, stay warm; if it’s hot, stay cool. Try to keep a constant temperature so you aren’t constantly kicking your blanket off and pulling it back on. Also, you may want to avoid sleeping naked since it is harder to maintain a constant temperature without the benefit of a layer of clothing.
6. Ambient noises
This is another personal preference. Some people prefer music, some prefer the quiet hum of their computer fan, others prefer dead silence. Figure out what works for you and stick with it.
7. Maintain a regular sleep pattern
By keeping a stable biological clock, your body will know when it is time for sleep so it can prepare itself adequately. Unless you really need to pull that all-nighter, try your best to sleep at the same time every night. Waking up at the same time every day regardless of when your day actually starts is great too — my best tip is to keep your window blinds open to let in the morning sun.

With most of these points, consistency is the key. Once you’ve figured out a combination that works for you then try to replicate the exact situations every day. That way your body gets conditioned to sleep under those environmental conditions.

How do you know if you’ve gotten quality sleep?

* If you wake up on your own before your alarm goes off.
* If your joints aren’t aching when you get up.
* If you feel relaxed and ready to start your day.
* If you wake up smiling :)

And guess what, getting a good night’s rest can increase metabolism and help you stay in shape and lower heart disease.

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