Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Restful Sleep Doesn't Have to Be a Dream

Oh how we love Monday mornings...especially the one that comes directly after the much anticipated "spring forward" time change known as daylight savings. Although it is a glorious sign that we are gradually coming out of the winter blues and being introduced to longer more sunnier days, most of us can't help but dread the initial loss of that extra hour of sleep.

Why is that? I mean it does happen at the same time every year and in reality the impact on our sleep patterns barely lasts into the end of the first week. So why is it we place so much emphasis on the negative impact of this time change? Have you ever thought that maybe our sleep disorders have begun way before the time change?

Many of us still wake up tired every morning no matter how many hours of sleep we get. We wake up with body aches, stiffness, irritability and congestion all of which have nothing to do with the time change. The amount of sleep you get is important but the quality of your sleep is much more vital to healthy living overall. So how can you tell if you are sleep deprived? It's likely you are not getting enough sleep if any one of several factors are true:

• lack energy during the day
• difficulty concentrating
• lack of motivation
• are irritable and quick to anger
• need an alarm clock to wake up
• doze off while driving a car

The reason most people are sleep deprived is because they are not practicing good sleep hygiene. You should:

• avoid drinking caffeine in the afternoon, which is a potent sleep disruptor
• avoid alcohol a minimum of six hours before you go to bed. (Alcohol has a rebound effect where you feel sleepy initially, but then will have a disrupted sleep through the night.)
• eat a heavy meal at lunch and a light meal at dinner • finish working out at least six hours before you are ready to sleep
• make your bedroom quiet, dark and slightly cool to optimize sleep
• begin a ritual to help you relax before bed each night
• don't go to bed unless you are sleepy. If you are not asleep after 20 minutes, then get out of bed and go back when you are sleepy.
• keep a regular schedule and get up at the same time each morning

Use your bedroom for sleep and avoid watching TV, working on a computer, eating and paying bills there.

Get a good mattress and pillows, and if you have a bed partner, makes sure that person doesn't disrupt your sleep. That includes your pets.

Proper sleep hygiene is as simple as making a few changes to your daily routine. Try the above mentioned tips before you blame the time change on your overall lack of rest and make sure to assess your mattress and pillows to make sure they're providing you with the support needed to promote the deepest stages of sleep.

Sweet dreams...and enjoy the sunshine!

For more information on improving your sleep with the Carico Ultra Tech Levitan Sleeping System click here

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