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Sleep Soundly With These Simple Steps

By Genevieve Cunningham

Sleep is an essential part of health and, more importantly, life. Getting less sleep than you need is not only bad for your general health and well-being, but it can literally take years off of your life. We simply cannot go without sleep. Our bodies and minds need this time to rest, rejuvenate, and restore themselves. The trouble is that getting enough sleep becomes more and more difficult as we age. As teens and young adults, sleep is pretty easy. Once you add a full time job, family, bills, community obligations, and other stress to the mix, sleep is not only difficult, but sometimes completely impossible. To give your sleeping habits and health a boost, check out these simple steps for higher quality sleep.

Set Yourself a Bedtime

This is another instance in which your mama was right (don’t worry, you don’t have to tell her). A bedtime is crucial for setting the natural sleep cycle in your body. A consistent bedtime allows both your brain and body to set an internal alarm clock. You have undoubtedly heard of those people who can go to bed and wake up without any assistance. You have probably even been jealous of those people, but the truth is that their secret is not one to be hidden. They simply have a set routine, and after a while, their bodies get used to it. You can do the same with a strict schedule and persistence. Though life will sometimes get in the way, getting in bed at the same time almost every night will improve your sleeping habits significantly.

Turn Off the Lights

Our bodies really are amazing. Not only can they set a personal alarm clock for themselves, but they already have a biological mechanism that makes them want to be awake when it is light out. Before electricity, people worked with the sun. Otherwise, it was too dark to get anything done. Because of this, our bodies are already hardwired to awaken with the sun and sleep with the dark. Unfortunately, our modern technology makes this complicated. We’re all glad for TV and laptops and smartphones, but even these little lights can keep your mind from shutting down and getting the rest it needs. When it’s time for bed, shut these off or leave them out of the bedroom. At the very least, place your smartphone in a way that keeps the light away from your face. Though this takes some self-discipline, you will be glad that you took this important step to improve your sleep.

Get Up

When you get in the bed and lie awake for a while without feeling the sandman approaching, go ahead and get out of the bed. Get a glass of water, a warm mug of milk, or take a small walk around your house. After a few minutes, try again. If you just stay in the bed wide awake, your mind will begin to race and sleep will continue to evade you. Just try not to reach for the electronics, as this not only brings light into the evening, but it tends to keep most awake for hours longer.

If you are not getting the sleep that you need, don’t stress yet. Use these tips as a guide, and then go from there. Be persistent, stick to the plan, and you may soon find a healthy balance of quality sleep in your future.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Eagan, Minn.

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