Getting a good night's sleep doesn't have to be a dream - East Valley Tribune: Health & Fitness

Getting a good night's sleep doesn't have to be a dream

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Posted: Thursday, September 6, 2012 5:45 pm

So how are you sleeping these days? Do you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day -- or are your muscles sore, your back aching or your neck just not feeling right?

Maybe you have seen the commercials for the different mattresses that will solve your problems. They are all good products, but we should delve a little deeper into some of the problems and possible solutions for getting a good night's sleep. Let's explore.

Do you have children living at home, or did you a few years ago? Then you know the importance of bedtime. That regulation shouldn't go away when we grow up. We should have a consistent time for going to bed each and every night. It doesn't have to be 8 p.m. -- after all, we are adults -- but whatever time works for you, it should be consistent. Going to bed at a consistent time every night will help your body establish a regular sleep pattern.

We are bombarded with noise all day long, and noise is one of the most disruptive factors that can affect sleep. Don't sleep with the television on. It might be a tough habit to break, but once it's broken; your sleep will be more restive. There are outside noises that we can't turn off like we can the TV. For that you should have window treatments that help absorb sound.

Another annoyance is light. You can turn the lights off in the bedroom, but don't ignore outside lights. Here again, the right window treatments are a must. A good blackout-fabric backing on your drapes will help tremendously. Hunter Douglas has excellent shades that help absorb sound and also block light from coming into the room.

The bed itself, of course, is of paramount importance. If your mattress is over 8 years old, chances are you need a new one. If your pillow is that old, you really do need a new one. Shop around and take the time to test the mattresses offered by the different manufacturers. Don't shop when you are tired because then each mattress will feel like the perfect one. Don't buy the cheapest pillow or the cheapest mattress because, as they say, you get what you pay for. Purchasing a mattress is an investment in your health, so choose wisely and don't be a miser.

Keep your work at work. Don't work in bed because that might make it harder to switch from work mode to sleep mode. Beds are for relaxing, not for working. And watch what you eat and drink before going to bed. A big meal just before bed isn't a good idea because your stomach has to work hard to digest the large meal, and that might keep you up or, at the least, prevent a good night's sleep. We all know caffeine can have a negative effect on sleep, so watch that chocolate ice cream before bed. And caffeine from coffee or colas can still have an effect on you even 10 hours after consumption. That means you should cut back or eliminate caffeine after lunch.

Hope this helps. Have a good night's sleep.

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