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By: Dan Annweiler
Getting a good night's sleep is one of the most basic of human needs, yet so many of us struggle to get the rest we need. There are various reasons for this struggle with sleep. Many people have trouble sleeping for medical reasons, others are too busy to allow adequate time for sleep, leading to sleep deprivation. Still others are living a lifestyle not conducive to proper and productive sleep. And finally, there are those whose jobs deny them a regular sleep schedule. Anyone, like myself, who has driven a truck, whether locally, regionally or over the road, is well-acquainted with the insane and erratic schedule requirements that go along with being a truck driver. Whatever the case may be, it is possible to alter some key habits and behaviors in order to enjoy the level of sleep you deserve. The following five tips can ease your sleep needs in an achievable goal.

#1 - Take a technology break before bed.
Limit your exposure to a computer screen or television before bedtime. The body produces sleep by altering its hormonal balance, which allows you to fall asleep more easily. Focusing on a computer screen or television tricks your body into thinking it's still daytime. Your body would then fail to create the proper hormones to help you fall asleep faster. It really is a good idea to turn off the computer a television at least thirty minutes before you go to bed and participate is some effortless activity during this time, like some light reading or writing in a journal.

#2 - Make a note of your ideas and thoughts.
Many people have their best ideas and thoughts right before bed. Leave a notebook beside your bed and make a note of your ideas and thoughts. Jotting down your ideas and thoughts saves you from having to process them during the night, giving you less worries. Fewer worries means better sleep-time and you may have additional ideas in the morning after a good night's slumber on how to implement some of your ideas and thoughts.

#3 - Lower the temperature in your shower or bath.
This tip is simple. Lower the temperature for your last minute in the shower. The water temperature doesn't need to be freezing cold, just cool enough to allow you to step out feeling refreshed rather than fatigued. The idea sounds absurd, but when we feel tired after showering or bathing, we still have trouble falling asleep. The fact is that the high water temperature tricks our bodies into wanting sleep, and when we remove ourselves from the heat, we gradually gain awareness until we are more awake than prior to taking a shower.

#4 - Power nap during the early afternoon.
Taking a quick 20-30 minute nap in the afternoon gives you two benefits: an increase in your work productivity and a deeper, more sound sleep at night. By napping in the early afternoon, you can increase your awareness throughout the day and give your body the optimal benefit for sleeping a full eight hours during the night. As a truck driver, I utilize some of my dock time for taking a nap, it gives me the energy I need for the drive after I leave the dock.

#5 - Limit caffeine and carbohydrate intake before bedtime.
Caffeine intake is obvious, but the adverse effects that carbohydrates make on sound, productive sleep eludes many sleep preparation strategies. With the intake of large amounts of simple sugars before bed, the body has two choices: The first is to burn the sugar for excess energy; thus, not allowing you to sleep well, and the second is to store the simple sugars as fat, causing you to gain weight. Keep your sleep-time for sleep, and your weight down, by avoiding, or at least limiting your carbohydrate intake before bed.

By incorporating these five tips into your lifestyle, you can help your body get the sleep it so desperately requires. Sleep is not a choice, we all need to sleep—God has wired the need for sleep into each of us. While the need for sleep is not fully understood, the effects of sleep deprivation are clear: diminished energy, alertness, awareness and work productivity. Make an effort to alter some key habits and behaviors in order to obtain a full night's sleep, and your body will reward you with a distinguishable increase in your energy, awareness, alertness and productivity.

Dan Annweiler is the owner of local blogs for Chicago, Kansas City, New York, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia where he provides posts of general and local interest as well as items available for purchase. You can read his related post entitled “Tired of Having Your Kids Wake You Up? on his
Chicago Blog or obtain a free related report at HowToGetYourKidsToSleep.us

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