New Ways to Sleep So It Counts

Experts offer sleep tips you may not have heard before.

By Lori Miller Kase | May 2007

Can’t sleep? Join the crowd. About 70 million Americans have trouble getting enough restorative shuteye. With recent research linking lack of sleep to health problems from hypertension to weight gain, there’s more reason than ever to make over your sleep habits. But how?

You may have tried medication. You know to stay away from saboteurs like caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. And you’ve probably heard it’s not wise to exercise too vigorously or eat too big a meal a couple of hours before bedtime. Perhaps you’ve even tried to stick to a regular sleep-wake schedule. Here, experts offer some snooze tips you may not have heard before:

Let Go of Your Worries
Anxieties often seem magnified in the still of the night. Dealing with them can help you sleep. Just writing down worries, deadlines or to-dos before hitting the pillow can make them feel more manageable.

Do whatever helps you relax. Ask your partner to give you a massage. Or have sensual, not-too-athletic sex. Try simple yoga exercises, like the forward bend: Standing with your legs hip-width apart, bend at your waist, letting your arms and head dangle while releasing the tension in your neck and shoulders. Or while lying on your back, do progressive muscle relaxation, tensing and then releasing body parts, beginning with your feet and progressing toward your forehead.

Find yourself constantly yawning? Some experts say it may be linked to not getting enough oxygen to the brain. Deep-breathing exercises, in which you focus on taking long, deep abdominal breaths, may help relieve pent-up tension (and the yawns).

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