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Better Sleep: Avoid the Bumps that Keep You Awake

The long road to relaxing sleep is filled with bumps that keep you awake. Get rid of the things that stir you up and get a good night’s sleep.

1. Uncomfortable Beds

Comfortable beds ensure a relaxing sleep. However, finding that perfect bed is dependent on your sleeping position. If you sleep on your side, you’ll need a softer mattress to keep the blood flowing through your arms — plus a bit of support for your spine. If you sleep on your back (like most people) or your stomach, a firmer bed will feel more comfortable. Hotel beds are excellent examples of how softness and firmness are combined. Most hotels will use a coil spring bed with an additional pillow-top mattress. You can even order beddings online straight from the hotel or the actual manufacturer.

2. Artificial Lights

Light affects your sleep cycle, especially strong lights. You might not know it, but your computer screens, television, tablets, and phones produce enough intense light to skew your biological clock and keep you at an alert and active state. Try not to use any device a couple of hours before bedtime. Turn off the lights and try to sleep in complete darkness. When you wake up in the morning, get out and get some sun even for a few minutes. The light from the sun will reset your biological clock and give you a dose of serotonin.

coffee

3. Too Much Caffeine

That mocha-frappe from Starbucks will stay with you for hours. Your body takes 8 hours to process the caffeine from coffee, sodas, and tea. Switch to wine or maybe even milk. Wine can help you relax, and milk has been proven to reduce stress and induce sleep.

4. Work Stress

Stress from work or school can follow you home and keep you awake. Try to relieve a bit of that stress before you go home with a bit of exercise or meditation. You can jog, hit the gym, or do some yoga — any activity that forces you to breathe through your diaphragms induces relaxation in your body. A few minutes of exercise will also release endorphins into your body, which would balance your mood and make you feel a bit happier. Try to remain sane by using the weekends to get in touch with friends and family or by spending a couple of days pampering yourself.

5. Adrenaline Highs

Too much excitement can put your body into fight or flight mode. Watching a riveting movie — whether action or horror — will pump your body full of adrenaline and keep you awake for a good couple of hours or so. Keep it slow. Watch a documentary or one of Bob Ross’ painting demos. Read a good book or listen to mellow music, preferably ones you listened to as a child.

Maintaining a proper sleep cycle can be difficult, but a week’s worth of good sleep is invaluable. Get rid of the practices that keep you awake and get a good night’s sleep every day of the week.

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