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How do I get a good night sleep

Sleep is a basic necessity of life. It is fundamental to our health and most adults need at least 8 hours of sleep a night. If a person wakes up feeling refreshed, he/she is getting enough sleep.

Lack of healthy sleep will effect every aspect of the person's life. The person becomes less alert and less concentrated. They have more mood problems, poor performance at work and they put themselves at higher risk to accidents. According to surveys, about half of Americans report sleep difficulties like insomnia which is a chronic inability to sleep.

There are many things a person can do to improve sleeping and staying asleep such as:

- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco. Coffee, tea (black not herbal), chocolate and cola drinks contain caffeine which is stimulant. Try to avoid these within six hours of bedtime. Alcohol may help a person to fall asleep faster but it will prevent a deep rest and make the person to wake up in the later half of the night. Nicotine is also a stimulant.

-Do not eat or drink too much close to bedtime. A big meal before bedtime can give a person heartburn which will make falling asleep more difficult. Instead have a small, low protein, high carbohydrate snack if feeling hungry prior to bedtime. Foods like eggs, cottage cheese, turkey and cashews also will help you to sleep better according to the researches because of the amino acid L-tryptophan in them.

-Drink warm milk or a herbal tea 15 minutes before going to bed. They will soothe the nervous system.

-Get regular exercise, be active during the day but not too close to bedtime.

-Get a massage just before going to sleep, it will make you relax better.

-A warm bath will also help to relax your body.

-Try to create a routine bedtime and waketime schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday, even on the weekends; do not sleep in.

-Keep you bedroom cool. A room temperature between 60-65 degrees will give you better sleeping conditions.

-Avoid bright lights, try to keep your bedroom dark.

-Try to avoid noise, use ear plugs if necessary.

-Sleep on a good, supportive and firm mattress. Discomfort will make it harder to fall asleep.

-Use your bed only for sleep and sex. Do not work, read, eat or watch TV in bed.

-Find ways to reduce everyday stress before bedtime. Some relaxation techniques like listening to a soft music, wearing cozy pajamas and meditation will also help.

-If you make a list of things that worry you a few hours before bedtime, you will be able to deal with the stress causing issues while you are awake, not when you are trying to sleep.

-Do not try too hard, if you can not sleep wake up, do something quiet and go to bed again when you feel tired. Do not focus on not sleeping or how much sleeping time is left, it will only cause anxiety.

-If you have insomnia, avoid naps during daytime. You will be more tired at bedtime and sleep better.

-If your sleep problems do not go away, see a doctor and talk about taking a sleeping aid.

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