Sleep... you know, that silly thing you do when all is dark and quiet and there's nothing on television except infomercials... Sometimes it's elusive and sometimes it just plain gets in the way of the things you really want to do - but your body needs sleep to function properly. A Wise old man once said, "Without sleep, We are all two-year olds"... he knew, all to well, the effects on one's mood when we're stressed and sleep deprived.
Even on nights when we're completely exhausted from a long day, sleep doesn't always come easily - here are some tips to help you rest and rejuvenate for a long day ahead:
Keep your bedroom for sleeping, reading and sex - nothing else. Watching television, work, all of it can (and should) be done in another room. This way, when you enter the bedroom for the evening, your body will know it's time to get sleepy - not watch Letterman.
Avoid alcohol before bed - a glass of wine at bedtime may help you to fall asleep more easily, but it will backfire. You'll probably wake up several hours later unable to fall back asleep. Alcohol prevents your body from falling into the deep sleep needed to rest completely.
Wear socks to bed - yes, it seems kind of geeky, but your feet are furthest from your heart and when you sleep, circulation slows. Studies have shown that if you keep your tootsies warm, you'll wake less during the night.
Exercise - but not within 3-4 hours of bedtime. Getting enough exercise has been shown to help you sleep more deeply, but too close to bedtime and your body will just be rev'ed up for more.
Establish a routine - Getting yourself into a pre-bed routine can help to signal your body that it's time to go to sleep. We have the bathtime, toothbrushing, storytime routine for our kids, but how about ourselves?
Turn out the lights - Use dim lighting in the bedroom when you're going through your before-bed routine (I have 7 watt bulbs in our nightstand lights and you'd be surprised how much light they give out), this will help to calm your body down. When it's actually time to hit the hay, make sure there isn't any extra light in your room, turn the clock radio to as dim as it will go and face it away from you, turn out those nightlights... close the door if you must, but even a trace amount of light can reset your body.
Adjust the thermostat - Keep the room cool, it will help to make sleeping easier.
Drown out the noise - Invest in a white-noise machine (about $15 anywhere) and turn it on during the night. It will help to mask any outside noises that may wake you during the night.
Keep your bedroom clutter-free - The less clutter you have in your bedroom, the more peaceful it is. A room full of clutter is not conducive to rest and relaxation.
Keep a regular sleep schedule - Don't use weekends as an excuse to go to bed late and sleep-in the next morning. It will just disrupt your body clock and make it more difficult to get back to normal on Sunday evening.
Getting enough sleep is beneficial to your entire being, your health, your weight and your psyche so do your part to make sure your time in your bedroom is as beneficial as possible.