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Did You Know?
Exercise regularly, but not too close to bedtime.
The best part of waking up - a good night's sleep

Dr. Carol Ash's Quick Tips for a Better Night's Sleep

  1. Make sure your bedroom temperature is between 54 and 75 degrees, which is the optimum temperature for sleeping. Most scientists believe that a slightly cool room enables sleep because it mimics the body's natural drop in temperature during the night.
  2. Noise levels as low as 40 decibels can keep us awake. Try using earplugs or a white noise machine to block out unwanted sounds that are beyond your control, such as street traffic in a city.
  3. Before bed, try a light snack of a food rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that aids the sleep process. Foods with a high tryptophan content include turkey and dairy products. Try a low-fat yogurt, a slice of low-fat cheese on a cracker or a slice of turkey on whole wheat bread. Eating a light snack also staves off hunger pangs that can wake you up, but don't eat too much because a full stomach is an impediment to sleep.  Also, never eat a full meal for three hours prior to sleep to avoid heartburn.
  4. Keep a sleep journal, briefly noting down the times you go to bed and wake up each day. A sleep journal takes the guess work out of knowing how much sleep you are really getting each night. Also note how you feel upon rising. If you need to be awakened by an alarm clock each morning or are fatigued, chances are that you need to make a conscious effort to increase the amount of sleep you need. Most people need eight hours, but the range of "normal" is anywhere between six and nine hours a night.
  5. Keep the bedroom a restful environment. About an hour before bed, do a 60-second sweep of the bedroom, removing children's toys, projects from work or any other objects that might distract you or raise your level of alertness or anxiety.
  6. Take a minute to set aside a relaxing activity in case you wake up in the middle of the night. Some light reading is always a good choice, as is a distracting hand craft, such as knitting. Put this "back to sleep" kit in the living room, and use it until you feel sleepy enough to return to bed. Never toss and turn for more than 20 minutes. You will only keep raising your level of anxiety. And don't try to problem solve at 3 a.m. - a time when troubles loom the largest in our mind. If something specific is troubling you, write it down and tell yourself, "I don't need to address this now.  I will tackle it in the morning." Then, wake up refreshed and ready to face the challenge.