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Friday 20 December 2013

How to Sleep Better Without Costly Medications

Sleep medications promise an easy solution for insomnia, but many of these products may do more harm than good. The Washington Post reports that little evidence exists to back up claims that over-the-counter drugs can help people sleep. If you're having trouble getting a good night's rest, you may want to avoid the cost and potential side effects of these medications by tackling the source of the problem first.


Many bedrooms are too bright to promote normal sleep. Fluorescent and LED lights have the most disruptive effects, according to Harvard University. One way to minimize indoor lighting is to put removable stickers over LED status indicators on electronics. Also, switch off power strips or put dark-colored bulbs in your night lights.

Outdoor light may disrupt your sleep if you work at night or live near street lights. For maximum darkness, consider installing black out blinds on your windows. Another option is to find a comfortable sleeping mask. Remember that your body needs to know the difference between day and night.


Noise is another problem that causes sleeping difficulties. To block out a snoring partner or loud neighbors, try wearing a set of earplugs. The white noise from a small fan might also help you sleep, and there's also the White Noise app available for smartphones. Focus on maintaining a consistent noise level; a dripping faucet or a TV will keep you awake longer than a humming refrigerator.


Temperature affects your body's ability to get adequate sleep. Doctors generally recommend heating or cooling a bedroom to about 65 degrees F to 72 degrees F, according to WebMD. The optimal temperature is different for every individual, and depending upon the time of year, you may find that wearing socks or sleeping without a shirt enhances your slumber.

Exercise can increase your body temperature for several hours. This has the same harmful effect as an overheated bedroom. According to the National Sleep Foundation, you can fall asleep sooner when you exercise in the afternoon instead of the evening. The ideal time for physical activity is about six hours before you go to bed.


Your diet strongly influences nightly sleeping patterns. A study conducted by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine found that people who eat a wide range of foods tend to sleep normally. They generally consume more selenium, lycopene, vitamin C, and water on a daily basis.

Caffeine is another important dietary factor. The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine indicates that a caffeinated beverage will disturb your sleep if you drink it six hours before going to bed. Remember that caffeine isn't restricted to coffee and soda. Smaller amounts of the substance can be found in candy bars, hot chocolate and black tea.


Finally, don't neglect to consider your state of mind. Strong emotions, anxiety and depression often limit sleep, according to the Franklin Institute. It's vital to relax before sleeping and avoid activities that promote distressing thoughts. Don't watch the 11 o'clock news, engage in stressful activities or pay your bills near bedtime.

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