All Woman

8 ways to get better sleep

By NADINE WILSON All Woman writer

Monday, March 24, 2014    

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NOT getting sufficient sleep can leave you feeling crappy and drained, but unfortunately a lot of persons have been trying to survive on the bare minimum daily. With work pressure, family obligations, relationship issues and unexpected challenges facing us from every corner, it is easy to understand why.

"Sleep is a basic human need and is essential for good health, good quality of life and performing well during the day," says the World Health Organisation.

Meanwhile, business and life coach Christine Morris warns that, "When you do not get enough sleep it affects your mental well-being and how you handle situations."

If you are tired of counting sheep, there are some more practical steps you can take to get some shut-eye. Here are a few:

1. Pay attention to your diet. Foods with magnesium such as almonds, cashew and ripe bananas are more conducive to a better night's sleep. Avoid eating large meals late in the evenings as this increases discomfort. Also limit your consumption of beverages at nights because drinking too much will put your bladder in overdrive.

2. Give the electronics a break. Try to turn off your television, computer and phones at least an hour before you go to sleep. If you can't bear to miss out on an episode of your favourite television show, at least dim the screen's brightness and set the sleeper.

3. Develop a routine. This works for adults as much as it does for babies. Do the same thing each night as a signal to your body that it is time to wind down. You could read a book, take a bath, comb your hair or listen to some soothing music. Sticking to a regular sleep time can help to regulate your body's clock.

4. Invest in a good mattress. What you are sleeping on has a whole lot to do with your ability to get some shut eye. Most mattresses have a life expectancy of between 10 to 15 years, and so after a while they are unable to offer the level of support your body needs to get comfortable sleep. Also make sure to invest in comfortable pillows.

5. Kick start your day with exercise. Moderate exercise is a good treatment for insomnia and generally helps to improve the quality of sleep. Exercise, however, releases the feel good hormones and so it's important to do it the morning or afternoon to give your body enough time to wind down from that natural high before bedtime.

6. Leave work at work. There is a time and place for everything and your bedroom is not the place for work. If you must take home work, try to get it done in another section of your house, such as in your home office or living room. Your room should be an oasis for relaxation and not for added stress.

7. Take a caffeine break. Caffeine consumption makes it that much more difficult to fall asleep. If you are feeling stressed, find other ways of dealing with it besides running to the coffee maker. Try drinking a cup of warm milk instead.

8. Have sex right before bedtime. This is the best remedy for a good night's rest if you are able to achieve the big 'O'. That's because sex helps you to relieve the stress of the day and relaxes your body.

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