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Sleep Tips

Tips for getting a better night sleep


- Make sure your bedroom is dark, cool and uncluttered.

- Don't pay bills or work late at night. Instead, start slowing down and relaxing well before bedtime. Spend some quiet time together listening to music, reading or just talking.

- Daily exercise can help you sleep better, but if you work out too late in the evening, it can keep you keyed up and make it harder to fall asleep.

- Don't watch TV in your bedroom late at night. It goes back to sleep preparation.

- If you can't sleep, knowing what time it is only makes it worse. So turn those red lights away from you to help you relax.

- Establish a regular sleep schedule and don't sleep in. Instead, take power naps on weekends.

- If you live in an apartment or on a busy street, use a fan or one of those rain forest sound machines to drown out the neighbors and the traffic.

- Try not to drink caffeinated beverages after 2 p.m. If you crave coffee late in the day, try decaf. On a related note, don't eat anything heavy before bed. If you're hungry, try fruit or cereal.

The Sleep Oasis Complete Guide to a Better Sleep [DOWNLOAD THIS PDF]

Table of Contents

Tired of NOT Sleeping? You're not alone.

Tired of not sleeping?

According to a poll reported by the National Sleep Foundation in 2008:

Prolonged work days that often extend late into the night may cause Americans to fall asleep or feel sleepy at work, drive drowsy and lose interest in sex... Spending an average of nearly 4.5 hours each week doing additional work from home on top of a 9.5 hour average workday, Americans are working more and trying to cope with the resulting daytime sleepiness...

  • Nearly a third (32%) of those surveyed say they get a good night's sleep a few nights per month;
  • 65 percent of Americans report experiencing a sleep problem, such as difficulty falling asleep, waking during the night, and waking feeling unrefreshed at least a few times each week, with nearly half (44%) of those saying they experience that sleep problem almost every night
  • Nearly half of those polled say that they wake up feeling unrefreshed in the morning (49%) or were awake a lot during the night (42%) at least a few nights each week.

In this booklet, you'll find tips for falling asleep and learn about some different types of mattresses.

Since you spend at least a third of your life in bed, let our Certified Sleep Specialists at The Sleep Oasis help you find the best mattress you can afford. We know the right mattress can help you fall asleep faster, minimize sleep disruptions and rejuvenate your body.

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How Much Sleep Do You Need?

Alarm clock

The "average" adult needs at least 7 - 8 hours of sleep every night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

    However, keep in mind:
  • Some adults get by just fine on as little as six hours of sleep.
  • Recent studies show adolescents need 8½ to more than nine hours of sleep each night.

In other words, length of sleep depends on your age and other factors.

In 2007, researchers at the University College Medical School in London concluded that too little or too much sleep could adversely affect someone's health.

Unfortunately, many people diagnosed with insomnia lie in bed awake, worrying about whether they are falling asleep fast enough or getting enough sleep.

So, before you worry about how much sleep you need or how much sleep you got last night, see the following pages for steps you can take toward getting a better night's sleep.

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7 Steps to Help You Fall Asleep

Step 1: Establish a Routine

Establish a routine

For starters, go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Establishing a regular bedtime schedule helps you fall asleep by keeping you synchronized with your own circadian rhythm, an intemal 24-hour clock of mental and physical characteristics affected by light and dark.

Enjoying some natural light every aftemoon will help keep you in rhythm and help you fall asleep. To determine your bedtime, pay attention to the cues from your body. When you really feel sleepy may be your best bedtime, within reason. Obviously, work and other responsibilities may affect that time.

Want or need to change your bedtime? Try doing it in small daily increments, such as 15 minutes earlier or later each day.

It's also important that you do the same things every night before you go to bed, whether that's listening to soft music, reading a book, meditation, or ending the day with a hobby, such as knitting. Many advise puffing work-related activities "to bed" at least an hour before you want to fall asleep, in order to get your mind ready for relaxation.

Following a bedtime routine sends a signal to your body that it is time to wind down and fall asleep.

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Step 2: Exercise

Exercise 20-30 minutes per day

Regular exercise can help reduce tension and anxiety, which will help you fall asleep and improve the quality of your sleep. Of course, exercise can also help you shed unwanted weight. What's that got to do with sleep? Well, being overweight has been linked to an increased risk of sleep apnea, which will prevent a restful night's sleep.

Exercising for at least 20-30 minutes daily is recommended. Don't feel you have to commit this block of time all at once. Just be sure that your daily time spent exercising adds up to 20-30 minutes.

Be sure to finish exercising at least three hours before your bedtime. Exercising too late in the day will stimulate your body, raising its temperature. That's not what you want near bedtime, because a cooler body temperature is associated with sleep.

Thats not to say you should become a couch potato at night. Relaxation yoga or simple stretching exercises are fine somewhat close to bedUme.

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Step 3: Don't Nap

It was said that Thomas Edison, the famous inventor, often worked around the dock, taking a series of short naps in order to be alert throughout the day. However, napping during the day, for most people, is not a choice, and it will make it harder to fall asleep, or stay asleep throughout the night. If you must nap, do it early in the aftemoon, and sleep no longer than about thirty minutes.

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Step 4: Watch What You Put Into Your Body

Eat healthy

A big dinner, finished with a rich, chocolate dessert might seem like the perfect way to end the day, but it's smart to avoid big meals within two hours of when you want to sleep. That's especially true for foods and drinks high in sugar (including honey, syrup), caffeine (coffee, colas, tea, chocolate), and alcohol before bedtime.

Make dinnertime earlier in the evening, and avoid heavy, protein-rich foods as bedtime snacks. However, certain light snacks before bed (ones which contain calcium and the amino add tryptophan) can help encourage sleep. Among these would be:

  • A glass of warm milk and half a turkey or peanut buffer sandwich
  • Whole-grain, low-sugar cereal or granola with low-fat milk or yogurt
  • A banana and a cup of hot chamomile tea

Cut back on caffeine. If you rely on coffee or other caffeinated beverages to keep you awake during the day, consider eliminating caffeine after lunch or cutting back your overall intake. That's because caffeine can cause sleep problems up to ten to twelve hours after consumption. While most people instanily think of coffee as a source of caffeine, other sources include chocolate, caffeinated sodas, and teas.

Medication

Cut out beer, wine, and liquor just before bedtime too. Although an alcoholic drink may help you fall asleep faster, alcohol reduces your sleep quality, waking you up later in the night. To avoid this, stay away from alcohol in the last few hours before bed. Of course, drinking too much of any liquid can result in frequent trips to the bathroom.

Smoking also causes sleep trouble. Nicotine is stimulant that disrupts sleep. In addition, smokers actually experience nicotine withdrawal throughout the night, making it harder to steep.

Taking medications? Some medications have sleeplessness as a side effect. If you suspect this applies to you, be sure to discuss it with your healthcare professional.

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Step 5: Create a Sleeping Environment

Create a sleep environment

Take a careful look around your bedroom to see if anything could disrupt your sleep. Let's start with your bed.

  • Is your bed large enough? Do you have enough room to stretch and turn comfortably in bed or do you feel cramped?

    If you sleep with someone - both of you should have plenty of room to stretch out. Can your sleepmate get out of bed at night without waking you? Consider getting a larger bed or perhaps a mattress that is designed to minimize weight shifts, If you don't feel you have enough uninterrupted space.
  • Are your mattress, pillows, and bedding comfortable? Do you wake up with a sore neck or backache? You may want to experiment with different levels of mattress firmness and pillows that provide more support.

    If your mattress is too hard, you might consider adding a foam topper, purchasing a plush pillow-top mattress, or consider a different mattress construction altogether, such as a memory foam mattress instead of an innerspring mattress. You may also want to try out different types of pillows - feather, synthetic, or pillows designed especially for side, back, or stomach sleepers.

    Are your sheets making you uncomfortable in the middle of the night? Your comforter not providing enough warmth? perhaps it's time to replace your sheets with soft, breathable cotton sheets and heavier comforters. Flannel sheets will add some extra warmth during cold months.

Next, let's consider your room. To encourage sleep, your room should be quiet, dark and at a comfortable temperature and venfilahon.

  • Get rid of the TV and computer. While some people watch TV before they go to bed each night, most people would do better without a TV or a computer In their bedroom.

    Face it, a lot of shows, gaming, or other computer activities are stimulating, not calming. The commercials on TV and the pop-ups and banner ads on the Internet are meant to grab your attention - not what you need when trying to go to sleep. In addition, the light coming from a television or computer screen can interfere with your body's clock, which is sensitive to any light.
  • Good blinds or shades
  • Keep the outside noise level down. The sounds of television, computer gaming, traffic, or conversations outside your bedroom can make it difficult to sleep well. If the source of outside noises can't be eliminated, try covering it up.

    For example, a fan or "white noise" machine can help block noise. Playing recordings of soothing sounds such as waves, waterfalls, or rain might help. Earplugs could also help, but make sure they won't block important noises like an alarm clock or smoke alarm.
  • Keep your room dark. Once your body senses light, it begins to awake. So, if there is a streetlamp shining in your window at night or the sun will rise too early, block the light from your windows with heavy shades or drapes. Or, wear an eye mask.
  • Room temperature and ventilation. It's difficult to sleep in a hot, stuffy room or one where you're freezing. Although most people prefer a slightly cool room, experiment with your bedroom temperature to see what's best for you. You might also consider purchasing heated mattress covers or heated blankets to add some extra warmth.

    Make sure that your bedroom has good venUlation. A fan can help keep the air moving. And, check windows and doors to make sure drafts won't interfere with your sleep.
  • Reserve your bed for sleep or romantic interludes. In other words, don't balance your checkbook or write a shopping list while lying on your bed. Although it might seem relaxing to do these tasks on a comfortable bed, if you begin associating your bed with daily chores, it will only make it more difficult to calm down at night.
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Step 6: Give Yourself Time to Fall Asleep

Sometimes our daily activities cloud our mind with anxiety and worry. However, dont panic if you can't fall asleep. My kind of mental anxiety will only make it harder, Instead, make the 15 to 30 minutes or so before your bedtime full of peace and quiet.

As much as possible, avoid activities that could trigger worry or anxiety, such as watching the news or violent television shows. Read or meditate to refocus your thoughts and make you drowsy. Perhaps making simple preparations for the next day, such as jotting down a to-do list or laying out your clothing for the next day will help.

Of course, it's normal to wake briefly during the night. Good sleepers usually don't remember waking. However, there are times when you may wake during the night and not be able to fall back asleep. What can you do?

  • Continue to cue your body for sleep. Quiet your mind. "Counting sheep" and other mental games work by engaging the brain in repetitive, non-stimulating activities,
  • If you're awake for more than 15 minutes, try getting out of bed and doing a quiet activity. If you get up, be sure to keep the lights dim. Remember, bright lights cue your body to awaken.

A light snack of herbal tea might help relax you, but be careful not to eat so much that your body begins to expect a meal at that time of the day.

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Step 7: Call a Professional

get help

When you are sleep deprived, you can't function well and may pose a serious danger to others when driving, working with machinery, or engaged in other activities.

While sleeping pills and over-the-counter sleep medications work at times, most lose their effect quickly. Some people become addicted to them as they take larger doses to reach the same effect.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (www.aasmnet.org) recommends seeking medical advice if sleep deprivation has compromised your daytime activities (or more than a month.

Don't hesitate to ask for help when you're sleeping badly following a death in the family or some other stressful event. A physician may suggest the short-term use of a sedative to help you sleep at night to cope better during the day and prevent developing a long-term sleep disorder.

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The Mattress Menagerie – What's Best for You?

The right mattress can help you fall asleep faster, minimize sleep disruptions, and rejuvenate your body.

That's why you will find the best selection of mattresses on all of Tampa Bay. This includes innerspring, memory foam, and latex mattresses.

Mattress

Innerspring mattresses use coil springs for support. Over the coils, a variety of padding and upholstery provide the mattress a comfortable feel. Many of these mattresses also recommend using a foundation, like a box spring, to enhance support and elevate the mattress.

Memory foam mattresses, also known as visco-elastic foam, were originally developed by NASA. Mattresses made of this material mold to your body and provide an even support. Because the foam is slow to regain its original shape, it eamed the name "memory" foam.

Latex foam mattresses offer similar support and durability as memory foam. However, latex foam is less conforming to your body and features a faster recovery time to its original shape.

In order to learn more about the differences in mattresses, visit our showrooms to talk with our Certified Sleep Specialists or visit our mattress website: www.thesleepoasis.com.

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Sources of Help

The Better Sleep Council: www.bettersleep.org
This non-profit organization is devoted to educating the public about the importance of sleep to good health and quality of life and about the value of the sleep system and sleep environment in pursuit of a good night's sleep.

National Sleep Foundation: www.sleepfoundation.org
NSF is dedicated to improving the quality of life for Americans who suffer from sleep problems.

American Academy of Sleep Medicine: www.sleepeducation.com
The Sleep Education website is designed to be a valuable tool for patients and members of the public who are seeking dependable information related to sleep, sleep disorders, treatments, and services.

Guide to Healthy Sleep on MedicineNet.com: www.medicinenet.comlsleeplarticle.htm
MedicineNet.com is an online, healthcare media publishing company. Nationally recognized, Doctor-Produced by a network of over 70 U.S. Board Certified Physicians, MedicineNet.com is a trusted source for online health and medicinal information.

Sleep DIsorders GuIde from WebMD

WebMD blends award-wining expertise in medicine, joumalism, health communication, and content creation. MedicineNet.com staff serve as WebMD's Editorial Board. An Independent Medical review Board continuously reviews the site for accuracy and timeliness.

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DOWNLOAD THIS PAMPHLET [PDF] »

You are invited to come in and compare America's top mattress brand side-by-side at our Mattress Headquarters in Tampa Bay, Palm Harbor, and St. Petersburg, FL. Sealy®, Simmons®, Stearns & Foster®, and Tempur-Pedic® are among the mattresses you will be able to "test" in The Sleep Oasis showrooms.