8 Lifestyle Suggestions That Enhance Sleep

  • Reduce or avoid as many drugs as possible — Many drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, may adversely affect sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine — Some people, caffeine is not metabolized efficiently, leaving you feeling its effects long after consumption. So, an afternoon cup of coffee or tea will keep some people from falling asleep at night. Be aware that some medications also contain caffeine (for example, diet pills).
  • Avoid alcohol — Although alcohol will make you drowsy, the effect is short lived and you will often wake up several hours later, unable to fall back to sleep. Alcohol will also keep you from entering the deeper stages of sleep, where your body does most of its healing.
  • Exercise regularly, but not within three hours of bedtime — Exercising for at least 30 minutes per day can improve your sleep. However, don’t exercise too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake. Studies show exercising in the morning is the best if you can manage it.
  • Lose excess weight — Being overweight can increase your risk of sleep apnea, which can seriously impair your sleep.
  • Avoid foods you may be sensitive to — This is particularly true for sugar, grains and pasteurized dairy. Sensitivity reactions can cause excess congestion, gastrointestinal upset, gas and other problems.
  • Have your adrenals checked by a good natural medicine clinician — Scientists have found that insomnia may be caused by adrenal stress. One of the best tests to assess adrenal function is the DUTCH test.
  • If you are menopausal or perimenopausal, get checked out by a good natural medicine physician — The hormonal changes at this time may cause sleep problems if not properly addressed.

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