Helping News                                                   March, 2009   Issue 8

Improve your daytime habits to get better nighttime results 

Improving you the amount of light to which you expose yourself, when and how often you exercise, and what you eat and drink are just the start of what habits you create for better sleep.  

Regular day exercise can help you sleep. Regular exercise, aside from many other wonderful health benefits, usually makes it easier to fall asleep and sleep better. You only need about twenty five minutes of activity to help wind down, create natural endorphines in your body, and burn off that situational stress.  You don’t need to do all of the activity
in one session: break it up into five 
minutes here, ten minutes there.  A 
brisk  walk, a bicycle ride or a run is 
time well spent. However, be sure to 
schedule your exercise in the morning 
or early afternoon. Exercising too late 
in the day actually stimulates the body, 
raising its temperature. That’s the 
opposite of what you want near bedtime, 
because a cooler body temperature is 
associated with sleep.  Don’t feel glued 
to the couch in the evening, though. 
Exercise such as relaxation yoga or 
simple stretching shouldn’t hurt. 

Get some light to set your body clock
We all have an internal body clock that helps regulate sleep. This clock is sensitive to light and dark. Light tells your body clock to move to the active daytime phase. When you get up, open the shades or go outside to get some sunlight. If that’s not possible, turn on the lights to make your environment bright. 

Alcohol, caffeine, smoking. Alcohol reduces overall quality of sleep. Many people think that a nightcap before bed will help them sleep. While it may make you fall asleep faster, alcohol reduces your sleep quality, waking you up later in the night. To avoid this effect, stay away from alcohol in the last few hours before bed. 

Caffeine. You might be surprised to know that caffeine can cause sleep problems up to ten to twelve hours after drinking it! If you rely on coffee, tea or caffeinated soda to keep you going during the day, consider eliminating caffeine after lunch or cutting back your overall intake. 

Smoking. Smoking causes sleep troubles in numerous ways. Nicotine is a stimulant, which disrupts sleep. Additionally, smokers actually experience nicotine withdrawal as the night progresses, making it hard to sleep. 



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