Improving Sleep

Assemble the perfect bedroom

Temperature: cool (about 65° F)

Bed: We move around 60 to 70 times per night, so make sure you have plenty of room to move (you might have to make the dog sleep on the floor). Make sure you have enough room to roll from one side of your body to the other without falling off the bed. If you can only turn from one side of your body to the other by flipping yourself in place, you will likely disrupt your sleep every time you do so.

If you're sleeping with someone else, purchase a mattress with pocketed coil-spring technology (each coil is individually wrapped) to prevent sleep disruption when your partner moves.

Pillow: Test your pillow by folding it in half. If it stays folded when you let go, throw it out because it's a pitiful limp excuse for a pillow! If you can convince your parents or have the money yourself, purchase a good down pillow that springs back when folded in half.

Light: The darker the room the better. Make sure the windows are covered to block early morning light. You can use a drape, blinds, sheet or blanket to do so. Choosing a deep color for your wall paint or wall paper can also help darken a room.

Silence: Obviously the less noise you hear the better. If you can't avoid noise, try wearing ear plugs. You can also purchase a small machine that continuously plays a steady pleasant sound in order to drown out the disruptive sounds in your environment.

Adopt a regular schedule

Always go to bed and get up at the same time, even on the weekend.

Sleep on your side or back

Not on your stomach. When sleeping on your side, it might help to place a pillow or a comforter between your legs for comfort. This allows you to keep your body in alignment while preventing discomfort between your knees.

Avoid coffee, chocolate, nicotine and caffeine after 2pm

Do not drink alcoholic beverages within 3 hours of your bedtime

Do not exercise right before bed

This causes your heart rate and breathing rate to increase, and causes your brain to be more alert, which is not conducive to falling asleep.

Deal with issues before you go to bed

Avoid bottling up concerns. Discuss them right away, so you don't end your day with issues on your mind. Thoughts traveling through the primitive brain disrupt your brain's regulatory center for sleep. This is why you can't fall asleep with lots of stuff on your mind.

Keep a book by your bed

If you can't sleep, you can read yourself into dreamland.

Avoid traveling to other time zones

Remember, it takes 3 weeks for your body to completely adjust to a new night-day cycle, and three weeks to adjust once you return. This is called jet lag. On a two-week trip, your body never fully adjusts, leaving you vulnerable to mood swings, a disrupted menstrual cycle and a weakened immune system. For stress relief, you're better off going north or south and staying within your time zone, instead of traveling east or west.

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