Jun 12, 2009

Fall Asleep Faster

Simple tricks that help you get a good night's sleep

Poor sleep is nothing to yawn at - it takes a toll on everything from your job performance and sex life to overall health. And in women it's been associated with feelings of hostility, depression, and anger, as well as higher risks of diabetes and heart disease.

Nix annoying noises.
A snoring husband, that beeping delivery truck-whatever keeps you awake-tune it all out with a relaxing soundtrack. For example, try SleepPhones ($59.95; http://www.sleepphones.com/), thin speakers inside a soft fleece headband; they're especially nice for side-sleepers.

Prep your body.
When you hit the sack, try this progressive relaxation technique. Curl your toes tightly for a count of seven, and then relax. Repeat through each muscle group, working up from your toes to your neck.
Take notes.
Your daily routine affects how well you sleep. A sleep log can help you make those connections. Every day, record how much caffeine you drink, when and how much you exercise, what you eat, when you go to bed and wake up, and your total sleep time. Share the log with a sleep specialist. (Find one at http://www.sleepcenters.org/)

Keep cool.
People doze off easier and sleep better when the room temperature is on the cooler side. Set your thermostat to around 65 degrees or lower. If perimenopausal night sweats or hot flashes make you kick off the covers, then try a cooling mattress pad, moisture-wicking sheets, or a pair of breathable cotton pajamas.

Relax right.
Instead of mulling over the day's events when you get in bed, try journaling about the big stuff at least two hours earlier, so you mind's not racing when you turn in. Right before bed, try a relaxing imagery exercise: picture any tranquil scene, like a day at the beach. over time, the new routine will help cue your brain to settle down.

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