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Improving Sleep Quality
Having a good night’s sleep on a regular basis is vital for good health. It is during sleep that our bodies take the time to grow, renew and repair, and without enough sleep, we will find ourselves being not only tired, of course, but also feeling weak, disoriented, depressed and less able to fight off infections.
It's not only important to make sure that you have enough sleep - around 8 to 10 hours a night - but that your sleep is of good quality. When we wake up, we should feel refreshed and full of energy for the day ahead; if you still feel tired and spent all night tossing and turning then it's an indicator that you might need to make some changes to your sleeping habits before a temporary bout of insomnia becomes a bigger problem.
There are many things that can affect your ability to sleep and sleep well. The most obvious changes you can make if you feel that the quality of your sleep is poor, is to examine your sleeping area. Is your bed comfortable and does your mattress support your back and muscles adequately? Do you have curtains or blinds over the windows, and if so do they block out daylight to stop the sun from interrupting your sleep? Are you affected by noise, or is your bedroom too hot or cold? All of these things can disturb your sleep and prevent you from gaining the proper rest that you need.
Certain foods and drinks can impact negatively on your sleep patterns, so if you're experiencing insomnia, try to reduce your intake of stimulants like coffee, tea, energy drinks and chocolate, especially in the hours leading up to your bed time. Don't eat your evening meal too close to bedtime either so that you have time to properly digest your food. If you've ever noticed that you sleep poorly after a night on the town, you'll also know that alcohol and drugs can interfere with your body's ability to rest properly too.
Many people find it beneficial to take some exercise, such as a brisk walk or a short run, a few hours before bedtime. This will not only help to make you tired, but is also a great way of relieving stress. We often underestimate the effects that stress can have on our lives, and if we do not deal with it appropriately, it can contribute to sleeplessness, tension headaches, muscular aches and pains and feelings of depression. Many people find that taking a warm bath, or even soaking in a hydrotherapy walk in bathtub, is a great way to relieve these physical symptoms of stress, allowing you to relax before bedtime for an optimal night's sleep.