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What can I do to help get the hours of sleep my body needs?

Without sufficient sleep your body is simply unable to function effectively. It is generally accepted that most of us need at the least seven hours each night.

However, getting these hours isn't always easy, even when you go to bed at a reasonable time. So with this in mind here are some top tips to help you get a deep, restful night's sleep...



Eat to sleep
Foods containing the amino-acid tryptophan have been shown to encourage the body to fall asleep. When you consume this chemical your body releases niacin (vitamin b) which helps to produce serotonin which in turn effectively calms the brain and relaxes the body. The best sources of tryptophan are dairy products, poultry, rice, lentils, peanuts and whole grains.

Pick a Pattern
The best way to get a good night's sleep is to go to bed at the same time each night and rise at the same time each morning. This helps your body adopt a constant sleeping pattern

Coffee and Chocolate
The caffeine in coffee, chocolate and, to a lesser extent, tea is a stimulant that, if taken in the hours leading up to your bedtime, will make it very hard for you to get to sleep and stay that way.

Temperature
Research has shown that having a warm bedroom is unlikely to result in restful sleep. Your body temperature should gradually drop through the night to around 17°C (63°F).

Exercise
You might think exercising before bed would tire you out and therefore encourage a good night's sleep. But in actual fact the opposite is true. Physical exercise raises the internal body temperature well above the ideal levels for a restful sleep.

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