Sleep and Be Happy

Sleeping a full 7 1/2 - 8 hours a night has profound benefits for your health. Lack of sleep is associated with multiple health problems, including obesity, diabetes, decrease in cognitive function and a decreased life expectancy. Here are 8 tips to help you achieve the quantity and quality sleep that you need .

1) Reduce electronic stimuli. We are bombarded by massive amounts of electronic stimuli in the form of PCs, phones, iPads, and televisions throughout the day. For a deeper, more restful sleep turn off all electronic devices 1 hour prior to bedtime.

2) Vigorous exercise done on a regular basis is associated with ease of falling asleep AND overall quality of sleep. You will need to avoid vigorous exercise in the late evening, this may affect your ability to fall asleep. Exercise during the day to decrease stress and tension which, in turn, will lead to a better night's rest.

3) Make your bedroom a sleeping oasis by using blackout curtains and closing doors to decrease outside noise. By doing this you will not easily be woken throughout the night which disrupts your ability to reach the deeper levels of sleep.

4) Decrease stimulants like caffeine and nicotine, as both will affect your ability to fall asleep. A good rule is to cut these off at least two to three hours prior to bedtime.

5) Alcohol has been used for centuries to help people fall asleep. But too many hot toddies before bed will leave you exhausted in the morning, even when sleeping through the night.

6) Routines are good and your bed time and wake up time should be routine as well. Your body has a rhythm, when followed, it leads to a better quality of rest.

7) Prior to bed take an hour and wind down.  Not with a computer or your phone, but instead try a book, meditation, or just reviewing your day and planning the next.  This will decrease the day's stress and help you to fall asleep.

8) Sleep apnea, negates the first seven. If you suffer from this or think you might suffer from it, talk to your Doctor about a sleep study. The benefits are well worth the time.

These simple rules can produce profound changes in your sleep, attitude, health, and your productivity at school or work.