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Creat a Sleep Sanctuary!
03/25/2015
By: Lissa Coffey

How well we sleep at night definitely has an effect on how well we function during the day.  And it’s not just the quantity of sleep we get; it’s also the quality of sleep we get.

If you’re having trouble getting to sleep, or if you’re waking up and can’t get back to sleep in the middle of the night, take a look at your environment, and see what changes need to be made.  The Better Sleep Council has these tips to turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary:

-Keep a regular sleep routine.  Head to bed at the same time each night to help program your body for sleep.  Have some transition time between activity and sleep.  Take a warm bath, or read an entertaining book.

-Keep your bedroom technology free.  Many people keep a television in the bedroom, thinking this will help them relax or fall asleep at the end of the day.  But television actually stimulates the mind, rather than settling it down.  Even the most relaxing show interferes with our body clock because of the flickering lights.  The same is true for the computer screen, or the cell phone. 

-Don’t bring work to bed with you.  If you associate your bed with work, it is harder to wind down at night.  Reserve your bed for sleep and sex only.  That way, when you tuck yourself in, your body gets a powerful cue – it’s time to sleep!

-Keep the bedroom dark and cool.  In keeping with the cycle of nature, darkness triggers the body to produce melatonin, which helps us to sleep.  Having too much light in the room confuses your body clock.  If you don’t have heavy curtains to block any outside light, try using a sleep mask.  The temperature in the room also affects how well you sleep.  Most people sleep best in a slightly cool room, not too hot or too cold.

-Make sure your bed is comfortable.  You want your bed to be big enough so that you have enough room to stretch and turn comfortably.  And if there are two of you that share a bed, you both need to have enough space. A Queen or King sized bed is best.  If you’re waking up with back pain, or you find that you are tossing and turning at night, check your bed for signs of wear, like lumps or sags,.  If you’ve had your mattress for five years or more, it might be time to get a new one.

-Your bed linens and pajamas should be soft and comfortable as well.  Choose natural fabrics that feel good on your skin.

-Keep the room quiet.  Sleep studies show that we get a more restful night’s sleep when we are not distracted by sounds.  If you can’t avoid or eliminate noise from dogs, neighbors, or traffic, try masking it with a fan, with white noise, or with soothing music.  Earplugs can also help.

-Invite sleep with fragrance.  Aromatherapy helps to quiet the chatter in your mind.  Essential oils in lavender, chamomile or sandalwood are particularly relaxing. Just a drop on your pillowcase will help you drift off into slumber.

When you create a sleep sanctuary you look forward to going to bed knowing that you are going to get a great night’s sleep.  Sweet dreams!

More info at BetterSleep.org

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