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November 10, 2007

Top 10 Tips For A Better Night’s Sleep

By Tara Fraser

They call it “beauty rest” for a reason; if you, like 68% of women, aren’t getting your recommended 8 hours of sleep a night, it will begin to show on your face.

Of course, there are a few exceptions (my mom goes to bed late and wakes up early and looks fantastic), but for the most part, a better night’s sleep is incredibly important to most women.

Sometimes, things like future plans and bills get in the way of our precious sleep time and we find ourselves lying there, stressed out, watching the minutes go by.

But is it that you’re really stressed out by the day’s events and pending situations, or are you simply not taking the necessary steps to ensure a better night’s sleep that leaves you feeling refreshed and energetic?

Perhaps there are some things you should change about your daily and nightly rituals that will ensure that you are knocked out the moment your head hits the pillow (given there’s no one lying next to you, waiting for something good to happen, that is).

Check out 10 small changes you can start making to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep and start getting a better night’s sleep tonight.

Better night’s sleep tip #10
Take a warm shower

If you enjoy warm baths, take one every once in a while before bedtime. If lying in a bath doing nothing drives you crazy, then take a warm shower instead. The warm water against your body will help you to relax physically and the sound of the water will put you at ease mentally.

Better night’s sleep tip #9
Keep nothing but a bed
You bedroom should not have a bunch of electronics in it, let alone an exercise machine. Of course, you aren’t expected to keep nothing but a bed; I give you permission to have a couple of night tables, a dresser, and a mirror as well.

But above and beyond all else, your bedroom should be used to have wicked and wild sex, and sleep like a baby afterwards. Nothing else.

Better night’s sleep tip #8
Eat dinner three hours beforehand

If you get home late and you plan to be in bed within the hour, don’t chow down on a three-course meal and hit the sack. Even if you do fall asleep right away (we’ve all had that tired feeling after eating too much), you won’t sleep well due to your body’s work on digestion.

And the last thing you want is to go to bed thinking you’re going to sleep like a baby all night only to be awoken by indigestion.

Better night’s sleep tip #7
Have a snack
I know, I know, I just told you not to eat right before you go to sleep, but you shouldn’t go to bed starving, either, otherwise hunger will be the culprit that wakes you up.

If you’re hungry enough that it’s bothering you (and you’re not just in need of water), then have something light and easily digestible like a fruit or raw vegetable.

Better night’s sleep tip #6
Exercise regularly

You must be tired of hearing about the benefits of exercise , but it’s a fact that exercising can increase the quality of sleep. A solid workout that includes cardio and weight training can easily help exhaust any pent-up energy you may have.

You should note, however, that you shouldn’t workout too close to your bedtime, just in case you’re the type of person who becomes more alert after a workout.

Better night’s sleep tip #5
Avoid caffeine in the evening

It would be great if you could avoid caffeine altogether, but I’m not about to set unrealistic goals for you. Morning coffee and even an afternoon soda are fine, but your caffeine intake should stop there.

And don’t think that coffee and soda are the only things that contain caffeine – teas, chocolate, and some over-the-counter medications also contain the stimulant. Do your best to avoid ingesting caffeine after 3 p.m.

Better night’s sleep tip #4
Keep a regular schedule
If you wake up at 7:30 every morning, wouldn’t it make sense to get to bed around the same time each night as well? After all, your body begins to set its internal alarm clock so even if you get to bed later, you will continue to wake up at 7:30, and become quite crabby when you do.

It’s best to set a time for bed (of course, there are exceptions to the rule) so that your body can adjust to sleeping at a certain time.

Better night’s sleep tip #3
Make it dark & quiet
If your bedroom has cafeteria lighting or there’s a noise that sounds every now and then (say, from a radio), it’s best to eliminate mood busters that will hinder your ability to sleep.

Soft, subtle lighting and a noise-free zone work best when it comes to laying your head on the pillow and passing out till morning.

Better night’s sleep tip #2
Hide the clocks

Although it’s necessary to check the time when you’re chilling in bed in the morning, having a clock sitting right in front of you, staring you in the face will only serve as a sad reminder of the time you have left before you have to get out of bed. And that just sucks.

What you can do is turn the clock away from you when you sleep so that you can turn it back when you wake up, or you can rely on the alarm-clock radio DJs to let you know the time every now and then.

Better night’s sleep tip #1
Buy a phenomenal mattress
If your mattress digs into your back, makes you feel achy, or makes a lot of noise every time you toss and turn, it’s time to invest in a new one.

And there are some amazing mattresses on the market. For example, the Tempur-Pedic mattress contains memory foam that takes the shape of your body and keeps your entire body in alignment. Tempur-Pedic pillows are also on the market.

Get a better night’s sleep tonight

It’s time for you to treat the 1/3 of your life that involves dreaming more seriously. Some women may believe that sleeping for eight hours will deprive them of what’s going on in life, but I think that a better night’s sleep will help you take a minute to smell the roses.

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