Ah, sweet sleep. Is there anything better than slowly drifting into a deep slumber?
For many, a deep and uninterrupted sleep is the stuff of dreams--not reality.
But quality sleep is absolutely necessary to our good health. Sleep restores and rejuvenates our bodies--growing muscle, repairing tissue, synthesizing hormones and fine-tuning memory.
Sleep experts Dr. Daniel Barone and Dr. Andrew Westwood, both of whom are with New York-Presbyterian Hospital, offer these six tips to improve the quality of your sleep:
1. Establish a regular bedtime and waking time.
Try going to sleep at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning--even on weekends and vacation days. Changes between workdays and days off may impair your sleep and how you feel during the daytime.
2. Drink only non-caffeinated beverages in the late afternoon and evening.
Try drinking plain or infused water, seltzer, unsweetened decaffeinated herbal tea and other non-caffeinated beverages. Avoid caffeinated coffee, tea, cola and chocolate in the late afternoon and evening.
3. Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.
Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet that is high in fiber and low in saturated fat and added sugars may improve your sleep, health and overall quality of life. The American Heart Association recommends that healthy adults get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity (which is 30 minutes a day, five days a week). These exercises are best done either early in the morning or right after work.
4. Turn off electric devices before bedtime.
Avoid using electronic screens on computers, mobile devices and television sets at least 30 minutes before bed. The light from these devices can signal to your body that it is still daytime, which may impair your sleep.
5. Develop healthy napping habits for better sleep at night.
Skip that afternoon nap, and you will likely fall asleep more easily at night. If you must nap, try to sleep for only about 20 to 30 minutes earlier in the day.
6. Don't ignore your snore.
Snoring may be a sign of a more serious condition known as obstructive sleep apnea. Dehydration may also contribute to snoring; try taking sips of water throughout the day to help you stay hydrated, which may improve your quality of sleep.
--From the Editors at Netscape