One thing you can do to optimize your wellness is also one the most simple and least expensive things you can do. Get adequate sleep. A good night’s sleep, just like proper diet and exercise, is essential to your mental, emotional and physical health.

According to The Better Sleep Council, 65% of Americans are loosing sleep due to stress. A whopping 32% of Americans spend at least one night a week not sleeping due to stress from the work place. The other two ares of stress keeping people awake at night are finances and family issues.

A common question asked is, "How much sleep is enough?" The council recommends a minimum of 7.5 hours a night but encourages a solid 8 hours. However, Daniel Buysse, MD, medical director of the sleep center at Pittsburgh's Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic explains it this way, "If you're functioning well and can't sleep more, even when there's an opportunity, you're probably getting enough. But if you're often sleepy during the day or if you sleep late on weekends to try and catch up, or if you are still sound asleep when your alarm goes off, you're likely running on a sleep deficit and are at risk."

Here are a few suggestions to help you fall asleep and stay asleep longer, getting the healthy Zs your body needs.

Make the Bedroom the BEDroom. Use it only for sleep and sex. Move out the computers, work, reading material, and even the TV.

Lower the Thermostat. A mild drop in body temperature helps induce sleep. The council and Dr. Buysse both recommend the bedroom being between 60-65 degrees.

Darken The Room. Install blackout shades or heavy drapes. Also, turn illuminated clocks away from the bed or cover them up.

Minimize Noise. If you are in an area where you can't control the noise, like an apartment with people overhead or traffic noises, try a white-noise machine or a sleep friendly humming fan. If you need more control try soft foam ear plugs.

Evaluate Your Mattress. The council recommends replacing your mattress about every 7 years. Also turning it on a regular basis will help with wear patterns.

Set Up A Regular Bed Time. This helps regulate your internal body clock. Getting up at the same time each day also aids in this area. If you have insomnia, keep this same schedule faithfully even on weekends.

Exercise Regularly. Regular exercise helps deepen sleep. However, make sure to allow at least two hours between the time you finish your exercise and your scheduled bed time which allows for your body temperature to return to normal and the adrenaline levels to drop.

Minimize Late-Night Stress. "Honey, we need to talk" conversations need to take place early in the day or evening hours allowing again for that two hour decompression time before your scheduled bedtime.

If snoring, you or your partner's, is waking you up you can look into our snore guards. People have had great success with them.

It refreshes us like nothing else. It is almost always comforting, and an essential part of our survival. Although we spend nearly 33% of our lives asleep, we barely give it a moment's notice....unless we can't sleep.

Hopefully these hints will help convince you to spend more time in dreamland.

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