How To Get a Good Night's Sleep

By Karla Jones Seidita, Home Economist

A good night's sleep is vital to good health and well being but, if you've been plagues by restless nights, here's some tips to help you rack up the ZZZZZZZ's.

1.  Ditch those polyester sheets
Pillow cases, blankets and pajamas, too.
Natural fibers and rayon distribute body heat making you more comfortable.
Choose natural fibers like cotton, wool, silk, flax, bamboo and hemp.
Rayon, the first synthetic fiber, works well too because it's made from cellulose (wood pulp).

2.  Steer clear of caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant and will keep you awake.  You know that but caffeine can hide out in the most unusual places.

Many sodas - not just colas - contain caffeine.
Chocolate contains caffeine so hot chocolate before bed can actually be keeping you awake.
Also, many medications - both over the counter and prescription - contain whopping amounts of caffeine.

The only way you can know what contains caffeine is to check the labels.
Caffeine, btw, is classed as a drug.

And while you're at it...steer clear of stimulating TV, movies and paper work.... like doing your taxes.
Choose tranquil evening pursuits.

3. Go easy on the alcohol
One alcoholic drink may help you relax and sleep better but several will keep you awake.

4.  Carbs  make you drowsy
A high carb dinner - think pasta - will rock you to sleep faster than a juicy steak.
And you just can't beat cookies (not chocolate) and milk before bed!

5.  Breathe deeply to relax
Take a cue from yoga.  After you get into bed, inhale deeply to a slow count of 5.  Hold it to a slow count of 5 then exhale to a slow count of 5.  Repeat 5 times. (See a pattern here?)  The extra oxygen you're getting will help the woes of the day subside. (OK, they won't go away but you'll get relaxed enough to fall asleep.)

6.  Keep warm
Warm milk, warm  bath, warm cozy blanket...even a warm puppy or kittie in the bed will help you relax.

7.  Exercise
(There's that word again!!!)
A good bit of exercise during the day helps you sleep better at night.  Anything and everything works so choose you favorite.... gardening, walking the dog a few minutes longer, dancing, strolling the mall ...even jogging.  Just not before bed time.


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