Five Ways to Ruin Your Sleep

by L. Woodrow Ross

Sleep is essential to allow the body to rebuild. After the rigors of the day and the stress of our modern lives, sleep allows us to escape the daily rituals and demands that can damage our health.

With the requirements to meet the challenges of everyday life, our bodies undergo damaging stress. The average person today only gets 70 to 80 percent of needed sleep. Work and school are time-consuming activities. Then we try to cram in entertainment and house-keeping on top of that. No wonder our bodies rebel with symptoms such as ulcers, insomnia, allergies and nervous disorders.

The list of ways to ruin our sleep is long, but here are five factors that contribute to sleep problems. Use these tips to improve your sleep habits and the results will be reflected in better overall health.

1. Consuming drinks with high-caffeine content just prior to going to bed can cause sleeplessness. For some people, high levels of consumption during the day can also have a carry-over effect on sleep.

2. Watching late news programs is disturbing and can contribute to sleep-related problems. This affects some people more than others. The more horrific circumstances are, the more likely that the events will be covered on the news.

This can be psychologically disturbing. This warning applies to gruesome programming, even if it is promoted as entertainment. In addition to creating a disturbing state of mind, this can cause nightmares.

3. We all need exercise to stay healthy, but exercise prior to going to bed stimulates our bodies and makes it difficult to fall sleep. Try to schedule exercise in the morning whenever possible, or as early in the day as possible.

4. Eating a full meal late in the evening is not a good practice. If you normally go to bed at 10 p.m., eating at 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. would be okay, but 9 or 9:30 would be a problem. Digestion involves the body ramping up its furnace to burn the calories and this can be counter-productive to sleep. If your schedule permits, eat a heavier meal at mid-day and consume a lighter, more reasonable meal in the evening.

5. Avoid conflicts before retiring. If you and your spouse have words or a disagreement, try to settle it amicably. Discuss unpleasant topics and make hard decisions earlier in the day. These topics will keep your mind racing for hours when you try to go to sleep and your body will suffer.

Sleep is the place that our body goes to heal itself. We should sleep soundly and awake refreshed. By avoiding the practices listed above, you'll sleep easy.