Sleep is an extremely important part of a persons overall health and wellness, yet so few of us get enough. It is estimated that almost 60% of adults battle sleep problems with some regularity. The majority of sleep disorders go undiagnosed and untreated. What can you do to insure that you get a better night of sleep? How much sleep is enough?
First, what is the proper amount of sleep? Everybody is a little different. However, there is a general consensus that most adults need an average of about 8 hours sleep a night. As one gets older the amount of sleep needed does not decline but the ability to sleep for a single eight hour period declines. No matter what your age there are some things you can do to make sleep come a little easier. 7 TIPS for Better Sleep
1. Don't Nap. You have probably heard it before but it doesn't hurt to say it again. If you must nap, try to keep it to fewer than thirty minutes and do not nap later than three in the afternoon.
2. Exercise early. Try to work out in the mornings or early afternoon. Exercise tends to stimulate the body and a late evening workout will make getting to sleep more difficult.
3. Limit caffeine after three in the afternoon. We all know that coffee has caffeine (105 mg. in a 6 ounce cup, brewed) but don't forget soda (40 mg.) and tea (35 mg.).
4. Keep a regular sleep schedule. Don't sleep late some days and get up early others if you can avoid it. Keeping a regular schedule will help teach your body to become sleepy at the same time each evening.
5. Relax with yoga before bed. Studies have shown yoga to be effective against insomnia because of its relaxing effect on both the mind and body.
6. Don't drink alcohol before bed. Although alcohol may help you initially doze off, the late night beer and wine can interrupt your normal sleep patterns and cause you to feel unrefreshed in the morning.
7. Snack on tryptophan-containing foods before bed (my favorite method). Tryptophan is an amino acid the body uses to make serotonin, a substance that helps you relax. Foods high in tryptophan include turkey, milk, cheese, tofu, soybeans, tuna, oatmeal, hazelnuts and peanut butter.
Give these tips a try and see if your sleep improves. If you still have problems after a week or so it is best to see your doctor. There are over 70 types of sleep disorders and your doctor can help define your particular sleep disturbance and get you back on track to a healthy nights slumber.
By Michael Brooks
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