Take Charge of Your Sleep

It might sound silly to say that for many people it’s important that they take charge of their sleep just like they take charge of their bank accounts or jobs, but in many cases that’s exactly what some people need to do.

This is especially true for those who are consistently tired in the daytime. Absent anemia or another underlying medical condition, being tired in the daytime is a sure sign that one’s sleep is being disrupted, or abused by choice (burning one’s candle at both ends, so to speak).

Generally, getting a good night’s sleep depends on one’s pre-sleep habits. When one’s habits affect one’s sleep adversely, most doctors and health care professionals will recommend adopting good sleep hygiene habits. Just like bathing and brushing one’s teeth properly are part of good hygiene, so is adopting sound habits to help get a good night’s rejuvenating sleep.

Here are some sleep hygiene habits and tips to get you started:

• Stick to a sleep schedule — Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
• Avoid caffeine and nicotine.
• Don’t exercise too late in the day.
• Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed.
• Avoid large meals and beverages late at night.
• Don’t take a nap after 3 p.m.
• Relax before bed — for example, take a hot bath.
• Create a good sleeping environment. Get rid of distractions such as noises, bright lights, an uncomfortable bed, or a TV or computer in the bedroom.
• See a doctor if you have continued trouble sleeping

Sleep also is important for good health. Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep or getting poor quality sleep on a regular basis increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and other medical conditions.

In addition, during sleep, your body produces valuable hormones. These hormones help children grow and help adults and children build muscle mass, fight infections and repair cells. Hormones released during sleep also affect how the body uses energy. Studies have found that the less people sleep, the more likely they are to be overweight or obese, develop diabetes and prefer eating foods high in calories and carbohydrates.

In short, you owe it to yourself to get a good night’s sleep every night.


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