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Looking Good - July 6, 2016
*-- How to Get Better Sleep --*
Sleep isn't an indulgence. Your body needs sleep, and plenty of it. But in a hectic world where you're already pressed for time, getting plenty of high-quality sleep can be a bit of a challenge.
How Sleep Affects Your Health
Your body can't keep going without time to rest and recharge. Sleep is necessary to help regulate hormones and body processes; even the way your cells function. Without enough sleep, your physical and emotional health can suffer.
Being short on sleep can make you:
- More likely to catch an illness
- Tired and stressed
- Unable to focus and concentrate at work or school
- More emotional or moody
- Have trouble making decisions
- Less able to get along with others
- More likely to fall down or have some sort of accident
- Have problems with coordination while driving, using tools, or working at the computer
Get the Right Amount of Sleep
On average, most adults need seven or eight hours of quality sleep each night, but there's no hard and fast magic number that's right for everybody. A little quality sleep is better for you than a long night of restless sleep. The amount of sleep that you need changes as you age and varies with hormonal changes, like during pregnancy.
You should wake up easily in the morning, feeling refreshed and ready to start the day, not bleary-eyed and stumbling out of bed. If you consistently get seven hours of sleep but still wake up feeling drowsy, you probably need a little more. Once you figure out what works for you, be consistent about getting that amount every night.
Set the Stage
If you're always tired because you only allow yourself a few hours of sleep each night, you obviously need more rest. But what's even more important is getting better sleep.
Here are tips to make your bedroom a more restful place:
- Keep your room dark and quiet when you sleep.
- Keep the temperature on the cool side at bedtime; people don't sleep as well in rooms that are too hot. Find your best temperature somewhere between 54 and 75 degrees.
- Treat yourself to a big, comfy bed with the right pillow to support your head and neck.
- Make sure your sheets are clean, soft, and comfortable.
- Save your bedroom for sleeping; keep your TV and computer elsewhere in your home.
Prep When You're Awake
What you do during the day has a big impact on the quality of your sleep. Exercise is great early in the day to prepare you for a good night's sleep; working out too close to bedtime can make it difficult for you to fall asleep. Drinking caffeine or alcohol, eating fattening foods, watching TV, working, and smoking shortly before bed can all make it hard to truly relax. So to get better sleep, start getting your body ready for bed hours before you actually turn in.
No Skimping Allowed
Don't think of better sleep as a luxury to enjoy when you have time. You make time for meals, paying bills, and doing household chores because they must be done, right? The same should go for more sleep. Block off the needed hours every night just as you would for those other important responsibilities.
Getting good quality sleep does seem luxurious because it feels great to slip between those clean sheets, relax, and then feel completely refreshed in the morning. So don't skimp on sleep, and look forward to this reward at the end of each long day.
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