Monday, April 2, 2007

Make Sure You Get Enough Zzz's

It is easy to cut back on sleep when there are too many things to complete in one day or you need more time to get something done. Many medical studies stress the importance of sleep every night and describe the sleep cycles our brain experiences. "We need sleep to think clearly, react quickly, and create memories. In fact, the pathways in the brain that help us learn and remember are very active when we sleep. Studies show that people who are taught mentally challenging tasks do better after a good night's sleep. Other research suggests that sleep is needed for creative problem solving."

When you lose just one hour of sleep it can have a great impact on your day. Experiencing a deep sleep helps prevent you from getting serious illnesses and produces hormones your body needs. You naturally feel tired between 12 a.m. and 7 a.m. and again between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Here are some tips if you're looking to sleep better:

1. Go to bed and wake-up at the same time each day, even weekends (the weekends part may be a little difficult for some)

2. Don't exercise too late in the day.

3. Avoid caffeine and nicotine.

4. Don't drink alcohol before bed.

5. Avoid large meals and beverages late at night.

6. Don't nap after 3 p.m.

7. Relax before bed (don't watch t.v. or sit in front of the computer for an hour)

8. Have a good sleeping environment. Get rid of anything that might distract you from sleep.

Number 8 is probably the hardest to conform to in college when most people have a roommate. If you're lucky enough to have a single, it's easier to have an undisturbed sleep. The noise and distractions are unavoidable.

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