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Timeless Fitness Tip

If it takes you more than a half-hour to fall asleep, or if you wake up several times during the night, you may suffer from insomnia.

Getting Sound Sleep

The body requires a sufficient amount of sleep for rest and tissue repair (usually about 7 to 8 hours of sleep nightly for the healthy person). Sleep also provides the body time to lower levels of bacteria in the body. It actually stimulates the immune system. If you cannot get your eight hours, try to take a quick 15 to 20 minute power nap during your day.

When you are lacking in sleep you can experience many symptoms. You may feel tired and irritable, doze off at inappropriate times, unable to concentrate, suffering from decreased mental function, reduced reaction time and other bodily changes that, in turn, contribute to accidents and injuries.

Getting Enough Sleep?

Even the mildest sleep deprivation can be the root cause of many medical and psychological conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, impaired memory, depression and anxiety. There are many factors that could affect your ability to get a good nights sleep. Stress, a poorly made mattress, anxiety, pain, depression ... but no matter the cause, do try to help yourself get enough rest. Seven to eight hours a night for the average adult would be considered a good night's rest.

Sleep Habits

If you can find no such obvious cause, it could be you simply have developed bad sleep habits.

To rid yourself of bad sleep habits, experts suggest you establish a nightly ritual to let your body know it is the time to wind down for the day. A warm bath, some quiet time or meditation are some of the ways you can help yourself.

It is also a good idea to skip food and drinks close to bedtime, especially alcohol. Also, go to bed only when you feel ready to sleep. If you spend too much time in your bed, you can unintentionally train yourself to be awake in bed. Sleep experts call this an "automatic conditioning process".

Avoid intense activity three hours prior to bedtime. This could make you feel more alert and less able to sleep.

Herbal Help

For better sleep, place cotton ball with 1 or 2 drops of Roman Chamomile and Lavender next to pillow.

Cheese for Sweet Dreams?

An old wives tale says eating cheese before bed causes nightmares, but the tasty treat may help you get more sleep. The British Cheese Board gave 200 volunteers one of six types of cheese a half-hour before bedtime for a week. Seventy-two percent reported that they slept well and had pleasant dreams every night. Researchers at the University of Surrey and The Daily Council of Britain say cheese contains tryptophan, an amino acid that reduces stress and promotes sleep.

Freebie: Sleep Log

Download a free printable sleep log! (PDF file)

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