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Network Health Blog

Making Sense of Your Sleep

woman yawning in washed out photo

How to Get the Most Sleep and Make it Count

Sleep represents a third of your life and is as vital as the air you breathe. It protects your physical and emotional health. So, how do you achieve seven to nine hours of quality sleep? Remember your five senses.

Touch – Keep your bedroom temperature cool and comfortable, around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Aim for comfort and support when selecting a mattress, pillow, bedding and sleepwear. Designate a separate sleeping space for pets to minimize sleep disturbance.

Sight – Make sure your room is dark and non-stimulating, which allows the body to naturally produce adequate amounts of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin. Remove the TV from your room and avoid cell phone use two hours prior to bedtime. Accessories like room darkening shades or curtains, eye masks and low-wattage bulbs help prepare your body for sleep. Keep your bedroom de-cluttered and clean to promote peace and relaxation.

Hearing – Consider using white noise. Fans, air purifiers and sound machines can minimize extraneous indoor and outdoor noises. Avoid drifting to sleep with the television or electronics on.

Smell – Try to incorporate soothing scents like lavender into your bedtime routine. Use bathing products, body lotions, pillow sprays and diffusing essential oils to stimulate total body relaxation and deeper sleep. Eliminate known allergens like dust and pet dander by cleaning regularly.

Taste – Watch what you eat the two hours prior to going to bed. Swap out heavy, rich meals that have high fat, sodium, sugar, spices or carbonation for smaller snacks rich in calcium, magnesium and tryptophan. Try bananas with nuts or nut butter, yogurt with berries, plain oatmeal with honey or a turkey and avocado sandwich on whole grain bread. Restrict or eliminate alcohol and caffeine from evening and nighttime consumption, as it disrupts deep sleep.

By remembering what you feel, see, hear, smell and taste, both before and while sleeping, you can enhance your sleep quality and wake up feeling refreshed. For more health and wellness tips, consider joining our Facebook group.

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