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How to Work a Little Sleep Magic

By Sandy Schroeder

Many of us take sleep for granted. When we are tired we sleep, and often try to catch up on the weekends, but that may not be enough for good health.

Drs. Mehmet Oz and Michael Roizen recently reviewed the sleep situation, pointing out just how much sleep does to renew the mind and the body. The body really needs seven to nine hours every night to refuel for a new day.

Here are their sleep magic tips.

Consider making sleep a very special experience by treating yourself better.

Run a warm bath - Recent analysis in Sleep Medicine Reviews recommends a leisurely soak before bedtime in a warm, but not hot, tub to lower core body temperatures. This encourages the body's natural process of cooling down. Water temps should be 104 F to 109 F.

Limit electronics - Shut the TV, phone and tablets down an hour or two before bedtime. No blue lights or cognitive stimulus will help you mellow out and wind down.

Create a sublime sleep refuge -  Soft pastels, a good mattress and comfy pillows can create an inviting sleep retreat. Add an air filter to screen out noise, and blackout drapes to intercept the light. Remove all extra treadmills, sewing machines, or other unnecessary items, and dedicate the room to rest.

Fashion a sleep ritual - Starting with the warm bath, you might add your favorite soft music, a good book, or a simple snack. Each of these things can serve as cues to drift off to sleep.

Untangle your frustrations - You may know you need extra sleep, but it is hard to drift off when your head is humming with financial, family or health issues. Do as much as you can to sort out these issues, and enjoy the difference as you relax into a good sleep.

Put movement to work - Getting outside to take a walk, bike or hike can do wonders for your sleep. When you return home, tired but happy, sleep may become a lot more automatic.

Reach out to friends and family - Stay in touch with those around you. Meet for lunch or invite everyone for supper. Our close connections can make the difference to help us relax to sleep better.

Establish regular hours - Go to bed the same time every night, even on weekends. Soon you will be waking up at the same time every morning, and sleeping more soundly.

Get control of caffeine - You may drink coffee around the clock, but you will sleep better if you start to limit caffeine after lunch. Also, consider skipping spicy foods, alcohol and smoking before bedtime.

If these tips work for you, repeat them and enjoy the difference in a good night's sleep.

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

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