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A good night’s sleep is both transformative and restorative. The amount of rest you receive at night directly impacts how you feel and act during the day. Good sleep reduces pain and helps prevent a variety of conditions from obesity and memory loss to diabetes and hypertension. It is a critical component for maintaining homeostasis and health.

Many Central Oregonians live a work hard, play hard life, staying up late working and getting up early to exercise. This on the go lifestyle is critically dependent on sound sleep. Sleep is the body’s primary opportunity to recharge.  While sleeping, the body can repair the heart and blood vessels. It triggers the release of hormones that are necessary for growth in children and teens. It repairs cells and helps us fight illness. Without sleep, we are more susceptible to injury, aging, and illness. Through sleep, we can live happier and longer lives.

If you want to be your healthiest self in 2019, ensure you are getting enough sleep each night. Here are four easy tips for making that happen.

Monitor caffeine intake.  Caffeine affects our system for many hours after ingestion. If you have trouble sleeping, make sure to stop consuming caffeine early in the afternoon to allow its effects to wear off before bedtime.

Exercise during the day. Although cardiovascular exercise will help you sleep, do not exercise vigorously just before bed.

Make the bedroom a sleep haven. Sleep is a habit. Reserving the bedroom for sleep can help form a good habit.

  • Ideally, there should be no TV, reading or computer in the bed. Make a work/reading nook somewhere else in the house.
  • Use a clock vs. your phone. It is hard to resist logging onto social media or email if you wake in the night and check the time. An alarm clock is an easy fix. Set your alarm clock and charge your phone in the kitchen or office.
  • Darkness will help promote sleep. Using a sleep mask or blackout curtains will help you stay asleep. Also dimming lights an hour before bedtime will help your body start to wind down and promote sleepiness.
  • Quiet the environment to reduce distraction. If others in the house tend to stay up late, use earplugs or shut the bedroom door. White noise can be helpful if the house is too quiet and small noises are a distraction.
  • Invest in quality sleep gear. Supportive pillows, mattresses, and cozy comforters make the bed a welcoming place to be.
  • Fido and Garfield get to rest much of the day. You don’t. Avoid sharing a bed with pets as this can disturb your ability to get a restful night’s sleep.  

Practice relaxation techniques throughout the day.

  • We spend most of our days on the run. Practice calming techniques often to help master the art of logging off and shutting down at the end of the day.
  • One of the simplest strategies to help us unplug is deep breathing. Take five deep breaths feeling the abdomen expand as you inhale. Repeat five times a day. It doesn’t take much time and can enhance the body’s ability to wind down.