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Family Living Focus: Sure-fire ways to get a good night’s sleep

Are you getting enough sleep? Half of all adults are not. Yet adequate rest is as vital to health and peak performance as exercise and good nutrition. And it can be so e-zzzzz. Try the following tips:

• Go to bed and get up at the same time every day even on weekends. Why: You will help regulate your body’s internal clock to get the 7 – 8 hours sleep most adults require. It is important avoid naps, which can affect your ability to fall asleep at night.

• Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. Try a warm bath, light reading or pleasant music. Fact: Listening to classical or New Age music at bedtime has been shown to help insomnia sufferers fall asleep. Possible reason: The music matches body rhythms and slows the heart rate.

• Skip stimulants like caffeine and nicotine from late afternoon on. Do not use alcohol to induce sleep. As its effects wear off, your brain actually grows more alert. Do not rely on sleeping pills. They can disrupt your sleep/wake cycle if you depend on them too much.

• Squeeze in daytime fitness. In one study regular exercisers not only slept almost an hour longer than non-exercisers. They also fell asleep in half the time.

• Breathe easier. People who suffer from sleep apnea – when breathing stops periodically – may actually awaken dozens of times during sleep and not know it. Helpful: Lie on your side, not your back. Lose weight. Stop smoking if you do. Talk to a doctor if problems continue.

• Get help if sleep has been disturbed often during the past month, or if sleep problems interfere with your ability to function during the day.

If you would like more information on “Sure-Fire Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep” feel free to contact Gail Gilman, Family Life Consultant, M.Ed., C.F.C.S. and Professor Emeritus – University of Minnesota at waldn001@umn.edu. Be sure to watch for more Family Living Focus™ information in next week’s paper.

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