Sleep On It

Ten Tips from Power Sleepers
Shut-eye is your body's way of recharging its batteries. Power snoozers not only are happier, more productive, and safer on the highway, they also live longer. Dr. Lester Breslow, from the University of California, Los Angeles, has identified seven factors that stretch people's lives, and one of them is getting a good night's sleep.

Unfortunately, you may not be among them. Surveys show that more than a quarter of all men suffer at least occasional bouts of insomnia—all for no good reason. If you have consistent problems getting to or staying asleep talk to your doctor. But if it's just an occasional irritation, try some tips that help many men:

  1. Exercise five or six hours before bedtime. Your body hits its most restful stage after this length of time.
  2. Have a light snack of protein and carbohydrate before going to bed. Nonfat milk and pretzels are perfect.
  3. Steer clear of nightcaps. Although a drink may help you get to sleep, it's likely to wake you up a few hours later. Alcohol also reduces the quality of the sleep you do get.
  4. Eliminate caffeine from your diet—either altogether or at least after a certain hour.
  5. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. When it comes to sleeping, we truly are creatures of habit.
  6. Pay attention to your nose. Several smells—including lavender, baking apples, and salt air—help us relax and nod out.
  7. Take a warm bath about an hour before going to bed. It will help you relax and improve the quality of your sleep.
  8. Use a heating blanket on a timer. If you warm your muscles when you first get in bed, you'll drop off more easily and sleep more deeply. The blanket shouldn't stay on for more than a couple of hours, however.
  9. Take up a hobby. Enjoying a recreational activity in the evening will help put the stress of the day behind you.
  10. Put away the clocks. Concentrating on the time is sure to keep you awake.

Finally, remember that no two of us are alike. Some of us need less sleep than others, and it is normal to get by on less as we grow older. Listen to your body, and you'll know.


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