(NaturalNews) In the old days, rising with the sun also meant going to sleep when the sun went down, after a few hours of healthy, honest hard physical work. Not anymore. These days we guzzle down coffee or tea, gulp soft drinks or even (yikes) swig an energy drink to keep us working long past our brain`s quitting time. Not to mention modern day stresses - those have the power to keep the best of us awake even when we`re tired. In short, we need a magic formula to give us those deep, restorative hours of sleep. Fortunately, you can orchestrate a good night`s sleep. The trick is to follow a few simple steps to get your sleep back on track:
Ten Tips for Getting Better Sleep
1. The first step, according to Harvard Medical School, is to cut out that caffeine! If you just can`t resist that cup of coffee in the morning, go ahead and drink it, but don`t have any more after lunch.
2. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol may in fact make you pass out for a little while, but chances are you`ll wake up repeatedly throughout the night and never truly get restful sleep.
3. Don`t exercise too close to bed time. You don`t have to give up your gym membership, just time it so you have a few hours to come down from your endorphin high before going to sleep.
4. Try a warm bath or massage. Either one will have you drifting into dreamland faster than you can say good-night.
5. Keep the TV out of the bedroom. This is also a feng shui recommendation for overall peace and balanced energy. If you must fall asleep in front of the tube, take advantage of your TV`s sleep function -- so once you`re dozing, the TV will shut itself off and not startle you awake when the late-night, screaming infomercials come on. Same goes for music or the computer: it`s best to keep it off before bed, but at the least don`t let it stay on all night long.
6. Keep a regular schedule. Your body will set its internal clock if you get up and go to bed at about the same time every day.
7. Let go of stress before bed. Maybe you had an argument with your spouse or boss, and you keep replaying it in your head. Maybe you`re worried about bills to pay or an elderly parent`s welfare. But bedtime is not the time for analyzation. It`s time to rest. So before bed, put your worries to rest. If there`s nothing you can do about it, let it go for the night. If you are itching to do something, try jotting down possible solutions in a journal by the bed.
8. Replace that mattress. Especially if you find you`re waking up with a sore back.
9. A warm glass of milk (raw organic certified) or soothing nighttime tea really can have a calming effect. Chamomile tea with honey and lemon can be especially relaxing.
10. Make your environment sleep-friendly. Turn on some white noise (a fan or anything steady that easily fades into the background and masks other sounds). Keep the room dark (especially avoid flickering or sudden lights (like on the TV). Make sure you`re neither too hot nor too cold. Tweak things until your sleep area is really your sleep haven -- not a spot that doubles as an office, day care center or walk-in storage closet.
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welco...