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Wellness Tip: Setting the Stage for Sleep

Posted Pamela Young on 8/27/2014 |

Wellness Tips

Research shows that sleep does everything from giving our brains a chance to refresh, to boosting our immune function and influencing the release of important regulatory hormones. We literally can't survive without it, which is why fostering good sleep is an important part of nurturing our physical health.

No simple wellness tip can promise to resolve all sleep dysfunction, but here are a few practices that can play a role in your overall sleep strategy.

Cool down

Temperature can affect your metabolism and circadian rhythm. Studies show that a slight drop in body temperature can signal your body that it’s time to sleep. Opinions vary on the best temperature to keep your bedroom, but most sleep authorities agree that taking a hot bath or sauna 90 minutes to 2 hours before bedtime can steer your body toward sleep as it cools.

Dimmer is better

Try reducing the amount of light in the room during the hours before bed. The sleep-inducing chemical melatonin is released late in the evening, but only if it receives the right cues from the environment. Too much light can impede the natural process. Some experts recommend sitting in a dimply lit room for 30 minutes before bed. Others suggest using a dimmer switch or timer to gradually decrease the light during the two hours leading to bedtime.

Unplug

Speaking of light, the light that’s most detrimental to your sleep is from electronic devices. The stimulus from mobile phones, tablets, computers and other gadgets has been proven to deeply disrupt the ability to fall asleep and to sleep deeply. Reducing your use of devices well before bedtime can improve your chance of sound sleep.

In fact, reduction is the key thing to remember when trying to improve your sleep. In the critical, final hours before bed, begin reducing light, noise levels, food intake and activity as much as possible while letting your body temperature cool slightly. This sets the stage for slumber.

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