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How to Play the Sleep Game and Win

By Sandy Schroeder

Right now most of us are feeling the squeeze as we roll through the end of the year. We may be fighting off colds and/or flu, staying up too late, or working too hard. End result, that precious 7 to 9 hours of needed sleep gets lost in the shuffle.

Now you are tired and cranky and half-awake all day. At night you fall asleep on the couch and shuffle off to a fitful night's sleep. Sound familiar? Aches, pain, flu, colds and stressful outbursts all take turns competing for your attention. More serious impacts on your heart and immune system may crop up too.

If you can relate, it is time to turn to sleep experts such as Dr. Amit Narula, medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Carroll Hospital in Westminster, Maryland.

Dr. Narula says waking up briefly during the night is normal, but being awake for long periods at night is considered interrupted sleep. When that happens, you have to keep working toward the deep sleep that your body needs. Turning things around may require taking some steps to make sleep a priority.

Ways to Sleep Better

Go to bed at the same time each night - Try to get up at the same time each morning too as you develop a natural tiredness.

Track your sleep habits - Keep a running diary to give your doctor a complete picture of your sleep habits and issues.

Block out light and noise - Use an air filter to screen out noise and pollutants and light-blocking drapes for complete darkness.

Cut back on stimulants - At least two hours before bedtime shutdown alcohol, spicy foods, and nicotine.

Move electronics out - If possible, move the smartphone, TV and tablets out of the bedroom and shut them down at least two hours before bedtime.

Update bedding - Get rid of lumpy mattresses or pillows and start fresh with comfortable sheets and comforters.

Get rid of excess stuff - Make the bedroom your sleep retreat and move out all of the extra furniture, gym equipment, sewing machines, etc.

Reduce stress issues - Do what you can to resolve family, financial, work or health problems and watch your sleep improve. Work on the issues daily. Just knowing that you are dealing with them will help.

Choose comfortable sleepwear - Natural fabrics in soft loose comfortable tops and bottoms work well.

If sleeplessness persists, see your doctor to discuss the problems. Sleep specialists can help with sleep apnea, insomnia, and restless leg syndrome.  

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Lincoln, Nebr.

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