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Health Tips - Insomnia

If your insomnia is due to an overactive mind, then schedule worry time during the day. Writing down your thoughts or feelings often will break the vicious cycle and allow the mind to rest.

A regular schedule improves sleep. Go to bed and rise at the same time, even on weekends and holidays. Exercise, meditate or do yoga on a daily basis to calm the mind.

Fluorescent lights decrease the hormone melatonin, which is necessary for sleeping. Change to full spectrum lights, better still spend more time outside and enjoy the benefits of natural sunlight.

Exercise on a daily basis to relieve the tension from a hectic day and to assist relaxation of the muscles and mind. Avoid strenuous exercise in the evening as it may stimulate the body and keep you up.

To relax the body, take deep, slow breaths with a prolonged exhalation. Another way of relaxing is to progressively tighten and then relax every muscle in the body starting with your toes and working up to your neck.

Starchy foods before bedtime tend to raise the level of serotonin in the brain. This often has a sedating effect. Eat a small portion of pasta, half a baked potato, apple or a piece of toast half an hour before bed.

Stimulants are the worst offenders for disrupting sleep. After 11 a.m. eliminate all coffee, tea, cola, chocolate and over the counter medication with caffeine. Alcohol initially can be sedating, but as the night goes on it will lighten and fragment sleep.

Keep your bedroom dark. Melatonin, the main hormone for balancing sleep needs darkness. Use thick curtains, blinds or eye masks to ensure maximum darkness.

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