Getting the rest you need is critical for having a happy, productive day. But it isn't always easy to fall asleep, stay asleep, or have your sleep be restful and restorative. Here are some tips to help you get the rest you need:

Take care of yourself

If you eat right and get some exercise, your body will be better able to rest. Besides all the other wonderful benefits exercise provides, it will help you sleep better and more deeply. Some people find that exercising at night stimulates them too much. If you believe this to be true for you, try exercising in the morning instead. Yoga and stretching shouldn't be troublesome in the evening, though, and may even promote better sleep.

Set your clock

Did you know you can help adjust your internal clock? Your body takes some of its cues from the amount of light it encounters. If your work schedule allows, spend some time during the day in sunlight, rather than spending all your time under artificial lighting. This way, your body will know the difference between day and night. Also, if you need to use the bathroom at night, avoid turning on bright lights, as this will disturb your natural rhythms and may make it difficult to go back to sleep.

Love the dark

When bedtime approaches, limit your use of TV, computers, and other electronic devices so that your body's natural supply of melatonin, a sleep hormone, can develop. Keep your bedroom as dark as you are comfortable with.

Use your bed for sleeping

Many people use their beds for catching up on tasks on their laptop or other work related items. Try not to associate your bedroom with work. Keep it a place of relaxation and rest.

Set the right temperature

Most people sleep better when the bedroom temperature is slightly on the cool side - about 65 degrees F. Try to keep the bedroom at a temperature that's comfortable to you...not too hot, not too cool.

Use some lavender essential oil

It has been shown to help people relax and fall asleep. Try a few drops on your pillow, rub some onto the back of your neck or the instep of your feet. Look for pure, natural essential oil. Synthetic versions abound in the marketplace, and these can actually be detrimental to sleep and can even cause headaches and allergic reactions.

Limit the noise level

Some outside noises can't be controlled, like sirens, cars, dogs barking, and so on. If noise is keeping you up or waking you up, try a white sound generator to mask it. Some people find that simply turning on a portable fan creates the necessary masking. Point it away from the bed if the blowing air makes you uncomfortable.

Above all, try to focus on relaxing. Set aside daily troubles as much as you can, and save planning and worrying for the morning. If you can master these techniques, then you shouldn't have any trouble sleeping the night away.

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