10 Tips For A Better Sleep

January 30, 2011
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With SAT and ACT dates coming up, I want to give you the best tips to get a great night’s sleep to enhance your performance!

1. Keep it consistent
Try to establish a bedtime and wake-time schedule, and maintain it during weekends and vacations. When we miss out on our sleeping hours during the weekends, we make them up by sleeping in a lot later on Sundays and Saturdays, but this makes it extremely difficult to wake up for school on Monday.
Sticking to a schedule helps reinforce and balance your body’s sleep-wake cycle and helps you fall asleep more easily at night.

2. Make a routine
Develop the same pre-sleep routine every night to wind down, like reading a book or listening to soothing music with dim lighting. Relaxing activities ease the transition into deeper sleep and help separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety. Avoid the TV, computer and video games.

3. Cut the Caffeine!
Caffeine is a stimulant, which means that it produces an alerting affect, and stays in your body longer than you might think. The effects can take in average from 3 to 5 hours to wear off but it can affect some people up to 10 hours later. Avoiding caffeine within 6 to 8 hours before going to bed can definitely improve your sleep quality.

4. Set the mood
Create a room that is ideal for sleeping: quiet, dark, and comfortable. For a lot of people, the slightest noise or light can disturb their sleep. Adjust the lighting, temperature and noise level by using things such as curtains, earplugs, eye shades, fans, and extra blankets. Ideal room temperatures are between 68 and 72 degrees.

5. Eat well
Try not to go to bed too hungry but avoid heavy meals before bedtime. Finish eating at least two hours before sleeping. Heavy meals make you less comfortable when settling down for bed, and spicy and greasy foods cause heartburn and prevent a restful sleep. Also limit how much you drink, too much liquid can cause you to wake up repeatedly during the night to go to the bathroom. Some foods and drinks however, can actually help you sleep, such as peaches, almonds, potatoes, bananas, tuna, milk and herbal teas.

6. Exercise
In general, exercising regularly can help you fall asleep faster and make your sleep more restful. If you’re the type of person who gets energized or becomes more alert after exercise however, do not do any great physical activity right before going to bed; finish your exercise at least 3 hours before bedtime. According to studies, regular exercise in the morning can even relieve insomnia.

7. Sleep primarily at night
Try to avoid napping and if you do, keep it short. A brief 15-20 minute nap about eight hours after you get up in the morning can be refreshing, but it could also make it harder for you to fall asleep at night.

8. Clear your bed
Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive, and keep work materials (laptops, notebooks), cells phones and pets off your bed. If looking at your clock makes you anxious, move it out of sight. Try to avoid having anything near you that might trigger unease and prevent you from sleeping.

9. Relax
If you can’t seem to fall asleep within 15-20 minutes, don’t agonize about it because the stress will only make it worse. Get up and find something relaxing to do, like reading, and then go back to bed when you feel tired.

10. Ask your doctor
Check with your doctor before taking any sleeping pills. He or she can help you determine the best dosage and make sure they won’t interfere with your current medical condition. If you do take sleep medication, reduce the dosage gradually when you want to quit.





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