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By Wendy RN., BA

10/22/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Sleep is by far the most important activity for health.

Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? Do you feel worn out, sluggish and crabby? Do you feel like you are functioning in a fog?  You may be sleep deprived.

Millions of Americans have trouble sleeping.

Millions of Americans have trouble sleeping.

Highlights

By Wendy RN., BA

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/22/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Blog

Keywords: sleep, problem, insomnia, health, melatonin, brain, resless


LOS ANGELES, CA (Rise Above Health Blog) - Sleep is so important to us that even losing an hour or two of sleep can interfere with a person's judgment. Interrupted sleep happens to all of us once in a while. But with chronic interrupted sleep, or not enough sleep, we can develop serious health problems as well as depression, and decreased mental functioning. [1]

Try these ten easy tips for a better sleep.

1.  Set a regular bedtime.  Go to bed at the same time every night. Our sleep-wake cycle, our "circadian rhythm" is regulated by our brain. It is important to keep a regular bedtime, even on the weekend when you may be tempted to stay up late. Our brains rely on routine for good function.

2.  Wake up at the same time every day. Our brain and body need balance in our sleep-wake cycle. Resist the temptation to sleep late on the weekend, you will begin to feel sharper and clearer with routine.

3.  Nap to make up for lost sleep. Napping early in the afternoon is proven to be beneficial to our health. Limit the naps to 30 minutes or less, to prevent making falling asleep at bedtime worse.

4.  Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine. Routines such as taking a hot bath, then reading a book or listen to relaxing music. Reading a book or an eReader that needs an additional light source. Avoid reading from a back-lit device such as an iPad at night. The blue light from the back lit device will trick your brain into thinking it is daytime and your natural melatonin production will decrease.

Turn off your television and computer. Watching TV or surfing the NET can actually stimulate the mind with the blue light it emits, suppressing melatonin production and cause us to have difficulty in falling asleep. If there is a TV show that you just can's miss, try recording it on your DVR, or watch is the next day online. I personally use Hulu Plus and Netflix to watch my favorite TV shows.

Sleeping is important to our health


5. Make your bedroom sleep friendly. Reduce the noise in your room. If outside sounds are intruding, try using white noise from a sound machine. I use a white noise app on my iPhone to mask outside sounds, and it works wonderfully.

Keep your room cool. It has been shown that we sleep best in a slightly cool room, around 65 degrees F. or 18 degrees C.  Too cold a room will interfere with our sleep as much as a too hot room.

Sleep on a comfortable bed and with a good pillow. Restless sleep and awakening with aches and pains, may be because of your mattress or pillow.

6.  Avoid eating meals late at night. The increase to our metabolism by digestion can keep us awake cause heartburn and acid reflux.

7.  Avoid alcohol at night.
Contrary to popular belief, alcohol reduces our sleep quality, and will cause us to wake up intermittently.

8.  Avoid caffeine 10 to 12 hours before bed.
By just doing this alone, should help you fall asleep easier.

9.  Try relaxation techniques before bed.
Deep breathing, practicing progressive muscle relaxation and visualization of a favorite peaceful place does wonders for our minds.

10.  Don't smoke before bed.  I suggest you stop or at least try not to smoke just before bed. Nicotine is a stimulant and causes difficulty falling asleep at night and waking up in the morning. [2]



Footnotes:
1.  Psychology Today
2.  National Sleep Foundation

My tip for the day: Relax: This super simple exercise is incredibly powerful and can help improve your memory and manage stress. Breathe in as you (silently) count to eight, hold your breath for a heartbeat or two, then slowly exhale as you count to eight. Repeat.

Until next time, I believe that Faith can move mountains.

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---


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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


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