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Local InterestBY SHERII SHERBANYou may be surprised to read that how you feel during your waking hours often hinges on how well you sleep at night. Consequently, the cure for sleep difficulties can often be found in your daily routine.Sleeping well directly affects mental and physical health. Fall short and it can take a serious toll on daytime energy. You have much more control over the quality of your sleep than you probably realize.Unhealthy daytime habits and life- style choices can leave you tossing andturning at night and adversely affect your mood, brain and heart health, im- mune system, creativity, vitality, and weight. Finding just the right practices will help you to enjoy better sleep at night, improve your mental and physical health, and improve how you think and feel during the day. Experiment with the following sleep tips to see which work best for you:Rule out medical causes for your sleep problems. A sleep disturbance may be a symptom of a physical or mentalhealth issue, or a side-effect of certain medications. Be sure to reach out to your health care provider to address whether this might be the case.Stick to a regular sleep schedule.Support your biological clock by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, including weekends.Avoid sleeping in – even on week- ends. The more your weekend/weekday sleep schedules differ, the worse the jet- lag-like symptoms you’ll experience. If you need to make up for a late night, opt for a daytime nap rather than sleeping in. This allows you to pay off your sleep debt without disturbing your natural sleep-wake rhythm.Be smart about napping. While nap- ping is a good way to make up for lost sleep, if you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night, napping can make things worse. Limit naps to 15 to 20 minutes in the early afternoon.Be smart about what you eat and drink. Caffeine, alcohol, and sugary foods can all disrupt your sleep, as can eating heavy meals or drinking lots of fluids too close to bedtime.Fight after-dinner drowsiness. If you get sleepy way before your bed- time, get off the couch and do something mildly stimulating, such as washing the dishes, calling a friend, or getting clothes ready for the next day. If you give in to the drowsiness, you may wake up later in the night and have trouble getting back to sleep.Sleeping Well Is Healthy26 SCENE 4309 I HEALTH ISSUE

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