Dr. Lynch recommends these seven steps to better sleep brought to you by the Mayo Clinic.

* Stick to a sleep schedule.  Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every night, including weekends.  If you are unable to fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up and do something relaxing.  Worrying about falling asleep will only support sleeplessness.

* Pay attention to what you eat or drink close to bed time.  When you go to bed with a hungry stomach, full stomach or full bladder this is more likely to disrupt your sleep.  Stimulants, such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol take hours to wear off and negatively affect your sleep.

* Create a ritual. Taking a warm shower, reading a book or meditating may help to relax your mind and body.  If so, try doing these things before you go to bed.

*Be comfortable. Cool, dark and quiet rooms are best for sleeping.  Create the bedroom that fits your needs to get a good night sleep.  Train pets to sleep outside of the bedroom.

*Limit daytime naps. Limit a nap to about 10-20 minutes and try to make sure they only happen mid-day.  Long day-time naps can interfere with falling asleep at night.

*Include physical activity. Physical activity promotes sleep.  Try not to exercise too close to bedtime.  Some people that exercise to close to bedtime are too energized to fall asleep.

*Manage stress. Sleep is likely to suffer when you have too much on your mind.  Consider healthy ways to manage stress.  Take a break.  Write down what is on your mind and readdress your thoughts the following day.

What tips do you have to encourage better sleep?

If you continue to have problems with sleep, contact the Sleep Institute of New England at 603-347-8810 or check our website at www.sleepne.com.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sleep/HQ01387/NSECTIONGROUP=2

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