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Take a both, sip a cup of herbal tea or sit quietly and read a book — whatever helps you to relax.Meditation, deep breathing, using aromatherapy or essential oils or indulging in a massage can help, too.Once you've found a bedtime ritual that relaxes you, respect it each night to help you release the day's tensions.Children usually have bedtime routines — adults should too.
Try to go to bed, and wake up, at the same time each day, even at the weekend.This helps your body get into a sleep rhythm and makes it easier to fall asleep at night and get up in the morning.After a while, you body will wake itself up naturally at the same time each day.Eight hours sleep is ideal for most adults.
Keep your bedside table clutter-free. A soft lamp, a book or two, perhaps a photo of your loved ones and a glass of water are all you need.Don't allow clutter or dust to build up. The last thing you want to do is knock it all off by accident during the night and disturb your sleep. Your bedroom should be a sanctuary conductive to rest.
Make sure your bedroom is quiet, well-ventilated and dark. If there is even the tiniest bit of light in the room it can disrupt you circadian rhythm. If you need to get up during the night avoid bright lights. As soon as you turn on a bright light, you cease production of melatonin, an important sleep aid. A bright light also gives cues to your brain that it is time to get up.
If you need to have an alarm clock in your room, turn it so that you can't see the time if you wake up during the night. It will only add to your worry about not being able to get back to sleep if you're constantly staring at it and watching the minutes tick by. You'll start to obsess about how much time you have left before you need to get up.
Once you're in bed and ready to sleep, remind yourself of three blessings you received during the day that you are grateful for. It may sound cheesy, but this technique can help settle your mind and it is a nice way to round off the day, leaving you with a positive feeling. They don't have to be monumental, either. You can be thankful for a sunny day, a phone call from a friend, or watching a funny movie.
Listening to the radio at a low volume can help lull you to sleet. Whether you listen to talk back or a classical music station is up to you. Alternatively, you could listen to some relaxing CDs — anything to help you relax and drift off.
If you're still awake after trying to fall asleep for 30 minutes, don't lie there tossing and turning. Get up, go to another room and site quietly for about 20 minutes before going back to bed. Do a little light reading or drink a glass of milk, but don't switch on the TV or computer. it will over stimulate your mind.
If your restlessness is caused by worrying, keep a notepad close to your bed and jot down what's keeping you awake.Promise yourself you'll deal with it in the morning, then try and get some sleep.Once you get it to work, you'll find it becomes easier for your brain to let go of troubling thoughts.
When you wake in the morning, resist the urge to hit the snooze button; instead, get up right away.Expose yourself to bright light or sunlight soon after wakening - this helps regulate your body's natural biological clock.Do some gently stretching, have a shower, eat breakfast and greet the new day.
About the Author:Health Section of the Dail Mail Body and Soul section October 28th, 2007.
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