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Optimize Your Sleep

Friday, August 7, 2015

Sleep is something we all need and some may seem to need it more than others. Sleep is vital for our bodies and their various systems to run properly. Our brain also desperately needs sleep to make sure we function at the best of our ability. There are a lot of factors that can inhibit a good night’s sleep. Stress, improper diet, and being uncomfortable are just a few.

Stress is often hard to eliminate. If you find that you’ve had an especially stressful day, try doing something you find relaxing before going to bed. If you are unable to fall asleep after 15 minutes, get up and try doing something relaxing again. Studies have shown that continuing to lie in bed and agonize over going to sleep can actually make it even more difficult to doze off. Try occupying your mind with something serene with little action such as the old standby of counting sheep. This is called a distracting technique and for some people with a lot on their mind, it is very effective.

Your diet can affect far more than your waistline. Not making proper choices can sabotage your sleep in several different ways. For example, your body continues its elimination tasks while you sleep. Drinking or eating right before bed time may cause you to wake several times throughout the night to go to the restroom. Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine also tend to have negative effects on your sleep and they should never be taken within less than 2 hours before bedtime. If you are especially prone to heartburn or indigestion, try not to eat spicy foods at least about 3 hours before bedtime. Even though you might not jolt out of your sleep from any side effects from not eating properly, your sleep will most likely be restless and you may not ever slip off into the REM stage that your body needs to function at the top of its game.

Being uncomfortable and not getting a good night’s sleep would seem to be common sense. But with mattress prices being very expensive, it is easy to shrug off needing a new one and settle in to your old bed. Tossing and turning can be a good indicator that it is time to find a new mattress or pillows. Don’t be shy when visiting your local mattress store. Lay on each bed for at least 5-10 minutes and judge how well it seems to take the pressure off of your body. If you don’t feel that your mattress is the problem, look at other factors in your life. If you share your bed, does everyone have enough room to flip over without disturbing others? If children or pets frequently share your bed, you may find you get a better sleep with everyone in their own bed or area. Making sure your sleeping quarters are cool, dark, and quiet can also help. White noise is a great tool to help eliminate other noise that may otherwise bother you. Invest in a fan or white noise machine to help your sleep.

There are many factors that come into play that can inhibit your body’s ability to properly rest. If you have found that you are having trouble sleeping, try adjusting a few factors in your life to see if that helps. If you continue to not be able to sleep or get a solid rest, a visit to your doctor may be your next step. He can take a closer look at your life and bedtime habits and recommend supplements or medicine to help. If your doctor does prescribe you a medication, don’t forget to take your FreeRxPlus card with you to the pharmacy to ensure you are receiving the best possible price.

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