Are Your Hormones Out of Whack?

This is a good article by Dr. Oz….

 

By Dr. Mehmet Oz

470_2661688I think of the body’s hormones as musical instruments in an orchestra: Each plays its own part in creating a perfect concert–until the day one is out of tune and throws off the entire melody.

Although it was many years ago, I still remember one of the first patients I saw with a hormonal disturbance. She was a lovely woman in her early 40s who was a little heavy; despite having tried every diet under the sun, she couldn’t seem to shed the extra pounds. As we talked and she mentioned a few more of her concerns–dry skin, brittle hair, a lack of energy (even shortly after her morning coffee)–I realized I needed to test her thyroid levels. Sure enough, they were too low. With proper medication, my patient’s skin and energy improved, and she was no longer a prisoner to a simple chemical imbalance.

No one should have to live with an untreated hormone problem. Some require medical care, while others may be addressed with lifestyle adjustments, but almost all are treatable. Here is a guide to some of the most common signs of hormone imbalance–and what you can do to restore harmony.

Estrogen

The Clues
If you are overweight, you may have elevated estrogen levels; fat cells actually produce the hormone, so extra weight can lead to too much estrogen in the body. This can be a serious problem because excess estrogen can fuel breast and uterine cancers. During menopause, on the other hand, all women experience a natural drop in estrogen levels, along with side effects that range from hot flashes to headaches to joint pain.

What You Can Do
I know I sound like a broken record, but if you carry extra pounds, exercising and watching your diet are essential: Losing weight can improve your estrogen balance and simultaneously reduce your risk of cancer. (An overweight or obese postmenopausal woman who loses just 5 percent of her weight could potentially cut her risk of breast cancer by up to 50 percent.) I also suggest that women with too much estrogen avoid foods that are high in phytoestrogens (plant compounds that mimic the hormone), such as whole soy products.

For women going through menopause, there is some evidence that herbal supplements such as hops and black cohosh may help alleviate symptoms. But if the symptoms interfere with your daily life, talk to your doctor to see if hormone replacement therapy is right for you.


Testosterone

The Clues
In the years preceding menopause, a woman may suffer from decreased testosterone as her ovaries and adrenal glands slow the production of sex hormones. This may explain why many women experience a drop in libido during this period of their lives. Excess testosterone, however, may be the result of a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS); possible symptoms include irregular periods, male-pattern baldness, a deepening voice, and excess body hair.

What You Can Do
If you’re concerned about low libido, try incorporating more zinc-rich foods–like oysters and sesame seeds–into your diet (zinc appears to be linked to an increase in testosterone levels), and ask your doctor about testosterone supplementation. To treat PCOS, your doctor might recommend taking birth control pills containing synthetic hormones that reduce the production of testosterone. It’s also important to avoid refined sugars and other carbohydrates in your diet (insulin resistance is linked to a boost in testosterone production) and to eat more fiber (which counteracts blood sugar spikes and promotes the excretion of excess sugars from the body).

Melatonin

The Clues
Low levels of melatonin, the hormone responsible for maintaining the body’s circadian rhythm, are associated with poor sleep and depression. Our bodies may produce less melatonin as we age, which could explain why some older adults have more trouble sleeping than children do.

What You Can Do
If you struggle to get enough shut-eye, try taking .5 milligram of a melatonin supplement one to two hours before bedtime. I’d also suggest drinking melatonin-rich tart cherry juice: In a pilot 2010 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, subjects who drank two cups a day experienced some relief from insomnia.

Ghrelin and Leptin

The Clues
Stomach growling? Thank ghrelin. Produced in the stomach, ghrelin cues the brain that you’re hungry. After you eat, leptin swoops in to tell the brain you’re full. If these two hormones fall out of sync, you may lose the ability to recognize when your body is satiated and overeat as a result.

What You Can Do
Try your best to get a full night’s sleep: A Stanford University study found that habitual sleep restriction (five hours a night as opposed to eight) raised a person’s ghrelin levels by nearly 15 percent, lowered leptin levels by 15.5 percent, and was directly associated with increased body weight. Other research has shown that exercise and stress reduction may help keep ghrelin levels in check.

Thyroid Hormone

The Clues
Thyroid hormone regulates how fast you burn calories. One in ten women doesn’t produce enough of it–a condition known as hypothyroidism, which can lead to weight gain, depression, and fatigue. On the other end of the spectrum is hyperthyroidism, in which the thyroid gland releases too much of its hormone, causing symptoms such as anxiety, a racing heart, excessive sweating, even diarrhea.

What You Can Do
If you have hypothyroidism, a daily thyroid hormone replacement pill can help correct the imbalance. You might also want to consider eating more onion. This veggie contains kaempferol, a compound that may kick-start production of the hormone. If you have an overactive thyroid, your doctor may prescribe one of several treatments, from radioactive iodine–to slow hormone production–to surgical removal of the gland; most patients respond well once they get the proper care.

Aldosterone

The Clues
Aldosterone regulates your body’s sodium-to-water ratio. But a condition called renal artery stenosis–a narrowing of the blood vessels that supply the kidneys–can trigger the release of the hormone, causing a surge in blood pressure.

What you can do
A heart-friendly lifestyle that keeps your blood vessels healthy can also be a kidney-friendly lifestyle. Minimize salt intake, follow a low-fat diet, get some exercise, and don’t smoke.

Cortisol

The Clues
When you’re under pressure, your cortisol spikes to provide the body with a quick dose of energy. Chronic stress, however, can keep your cortisol elevated continuously–a dangerous state, since the hormone can suppress the immune system and has been linked to the accumulation of abdominal fat.

What You Can Do
When I’m stressed, I close my eyes and breathe deeply for two to three minutes with one hand on my chest and the other on my belly; my chest stays still while my abdomen rises and falls. As you calm down, your cortisol should drop to normal levels.

The Hormone Factory

A brief tour of your body’s finely tuned endocrine system

1. Pineal Gland
Named for its pinecone shape, the pineal gland is tucked between the two hemispheres of the brain. It’s still a bit of a mystery, though we know it produces the sleep hormone, melatonin.

2. Pituitary Gland
Known as the master gland, this pea-size organ releases hormones that stimulate the other glands to, in turn, release their hormones.

3. Thyroid Gland
Think of this gland as the thermostat for your metabolism: It can increase or decrease the rate of calorie burn by releasing more or less thyroid hormone.

4. Adrenal Glands
Perched atop your kidneys, these glands secrete hormones that control your “fight or flight” response to stress (cortisol and adrenaline) and your blood pressure (aldosterone), among others.

5. Ovaries
These organs produce more than eggs; they manufacture and release the most important hormones for female development: estrogen, progesterone, and–yes–testosterone.

Coffee and Estrogen Dominance

I saw this and thought it was a great article and wanted to share it with you…

Clifta 🙂

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Coffee and Estrogen Dominance

Understanding Acid-Base Balance, Hormones, and Disease

Jul 30, 2007 Ronald K. Frazer

coffee and estrogen dominance - www.sxc.hu

If women understand the relationship between their diet, the acid-base balance in their bodies, and estrogen dominance, they can improve their ability to avoid disease.

What is estrogen dominance?

Estrogen dominance is a condition where the estrogen in a woman’s body is not balanced by progesterone. That doesn’t sound like a big deal on the surface, but, according to Dr. John Lee, it is thought to be a contributing factor in many diseases including allergies, breast and cervical cancer, endometriosis, PMS, breast and uterine cysts, decreased sex drive, infertility, hair loss, osteoporosis, and many other conditions.

Coffee contributes to estrogen dominance. The way that it contributes may be by making the body more acid. Once our bodies are too acid, the production processes of all hormones are altered; and we all know how dependent women are on hormones for their health and happiness.

It seems that when a woman’s body is too acid, it produces too much estrogen and not enough progesterone. Dr. Michael Lam of the American Academy of Anti-aging Research reports that in a small study of 500 women, those who consumed four or five cups of coffee per day had 70% more estrogen that those who drank less than one cup per day.

There is no research that proves that coffee reduces progesterone production but there are anecdotal reports from women that suggest that this is true. Kerri-Lynn Lapointe, N.D., writes in Menopause Myths Debunked that coffee and stress force the body to convert progesterone to cortisol which suggests a link between coffee and progesterone deficiency. Whatever the cause of a progesterone deficiency is, drinking coffee will make estrogen dominance worse by increasing the estrogen levels.

Coffee is such a delicious institution in many countries. It’s tempting to deny the facts in favor of the wonderful smell of a fresh pot. But there is no doubt that coffee makes the body more acid than it was designed to be.

Besides the acid-base problem, an article in Better Nutrition reports that there are 17 known carcinogens in coffee. There are hundreds more chemicals in the delicious brew that are yet to be evaluated. Coffee is a good example of a natural product that has some very deadly ingredients totalling 10 mg in each cup, including benzene and formaldehyde among others.

Is coffee the only cause of estrogen dominance?

No. There are other causes:

  1. Xenoestrogen exposure–pesticides, herbicides, beauty products, solvents, adhesives, birth control pills, etc.
  2. Eating non-organic meat which is fed estrogen to plump it up
  3. Stress
  4. Obesity

Is coffee the only cause of acid-base imbalance?

No. Much of the American diet causes an acid-base imbalance:

  1. Carbonated drinks
  2. Excessive protein in the diet, insufficient vegetables
  3. Artificial sweeteners

So what does this all mean?

If a woman is concerned with cancer, endometriosis, a lack of sex drive, or any of the other conditions in the first paragraph, she should be concerned about estrogen dominance. She should:

  1. explore all the factors that produce estrogen dominance and eliminate as many as possible from her life.
  2. learn what makes her body more acid and substitute things that make it more alkaline.

It would be nice if there was a single cause of cancer, of endometriosis or of the many other ailments that plague women. Then science could come up with a pill that would block that process–maybe even reverse it. But there isn’t a single cause, except perhaps living an unnatural lifestyle. But they can’t make a pill for that. So it’s really up to us to be aware of the dozens of things we do each day that stress our body’s biochemistry, and avoid as many as possible–replacing them with natural health and wellness.

Ten Reasons to Drink Aloe Juice

Top 10 Reasons to Drink Aloe Vera Juice

Dental Health and Hygiene—Aloe Vera helps your mouth and gums.

Provides Rapid Soothing–Aloe Vera enhances fibroblast function. Fibroblasts are those remarkable little cells responsible for collagen formation. They also assist in the soothing of minor burns, cuts, scrapes, sunburn, and skin irritations.

Aids in Healthy Digestion –A healthy digestive tract ensures that nutrients from the foods we eat are absorbed into the blood stream. Aloe Vera Juice has natural, detoxifying abilities. Drinking Aloe Vera Gel daily may improve bowel regularity and increase protein absorption, while at the same time decrease unfriendly bacteria and yeast.  Aloe Vera has also demonstrated its ability to assist in soothing heartburn and other types of digestive upset.

Immune Support and Function –Aloe Vera provides natural support for the immune system. Since the immune system works around the clock protecting the body, aloe vera, with its natural immune enhancers, gives the body a continual arsenal from which to draw.

Regulates Weight and Energy Levels–Aloe Vera Gel naturally allows the body to cleanse the digestive system. Our diets include many unwanted substances which can cause lethargy and exhaustion. Taken regularly, Aloe Vera Gel ensures a greater feeling of well-being, allowing energy levels to increase while helping to maintain a healthy body weight.

Collagen and Elastin Repair –Aloe Vera can add a rich supply of building materials to produce and maintain healthy skin. The skin replenishes itself every 21 to 28 days. Using the nutritional building blocks of aloe vera, the skin can utilize these nutrients daily to help combat the effects of aging.

Daily Dose of Minerals–Some of the minerals found in aloe vera include calcium, sodium, iron, potassium, chromium, magnesium, manganese, copper, and zinc. We all know that adding foods to our diets with naturally occurring vitamins and minerals is recommended for overall health. Drinking Aloe Vera Gel is a natural and healthful way to replenish the body’s supply.

Daily Dose of Vitamins–Aloe Vera Gel includes Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C and E, Folic Acid and Niacin. The human body simply cannot store some of these vitamins; therefore we need to supplement them regularly through our diets.

Anti-inflammatory Properties–Aloe Vera Gel has 12 natural substances that have been shown to inhibit inflammation without side effects. Aloe may also support proper joint and muscle mobility.

Body-Building Blocks–Amino acids are our body’s building blocks. Eight which are essential and cannot be made by the body are found within the aloe plant! Drinking Aloe Vera Juice on a regular basis allows you to help maintain your health by replenishing your body naturally with these essential amino acids. An analysis of the aloe vera plant shows that it comes closer than any other known plant to the duplication of essential amino acids.

*  All of this, with just 2 to 4 ounces, twice a day!

Are You Suffering From Exercise Burnout?

Are You Suffering From Exercise Burnout?

Get tips on how to avoid exercise burnout and maintain a healthy fitness schedule.

Medically reviewed by Christine Wilmsen Craig, MD
avoiding exercise burnout

Two of the most popular New Year’s resolutions are to exercise more and get in better shape. Many people start January with high hopes of big success, yet by March find themselves struggling to get to the gym and watching their home treadmill collect dust. What happened in the intervening weeks?

A simple thing called, “exercise burnout,” most likely. “Positive enthusiasm often turns into negative because the individual forgets another key component of success: moderation,” says Erica Tuttolomondo, athletic director at Rush-Copley Healthplex, a fitness center in Aurora, Ill.

While many believe the faster and harder they exercise the better; in reality, this can lead to physical and mental exhaustion. Overtraining can cause loss of appetite, lack of progression, extreme fatigue, and even recurring injury. The mind, too, needs time to adjust to exercise. “For many, the thought of exercising every day becomes a chore,” says Tuttolomondo. And that’s when many people quit.

Beat Exercise Burnout

“Spend a week evaluating current activities,” says Thomas A. Fox, an exercise physiologist and author of The System for Health and Weight Loss. “Look at what you’re eating, and even use a camera to help. Then it’s easier to know what to change.”

If exercising is new to you, start out slowly, gradually building up to a reasonable routine. Beginners should keep with the same routine for a couple of months. At first, you will notice physical and mental changes until eventually your body adapts to the routine and hits a plateau. At this point, it’s time to add variety to the workout by using different machines or adjusting frequency, intensity, and time spent exercising.

“If you’re carrying extra weight, physical activity is going to be more difficult for you than for someone else, so be realistic in your goals,” adds Edward Abramson, PhD, professor emeritus of psychology at California State University, in Chico, and author of Body Intelligence: Lose Weight, Keep It Off, and Feel Great About Your Body Without Dieting!

Be sure to go in with the proper mindset. Realize that you won’t see results overnight. It takes time to get into shape. Weight loss occurs gradually over time, so don’t get discouraged if the scale doesn’t show a big drop after one week of working out.

Set a Realistic Exercise Schedule

While everyone’s situation is different, the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association recommend aiming for moderately intense cardio, 30 minutes a day, five days a week (or vigorous cardio 20 minutes a day, three days a week) plus 8 to 10 strength training exercises at 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise, twice a week, to maintain health. (For weight loss, 60 to 90 minutes of exercise a day may be necessary.) These guidelines are for healthy adults under age 65.

If exercise is new to you or if you have an existing health problem, consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. “A beginner should start at the low end of the recommendation,” says Tuttolomondo. Consider two 20-minute sessions per week and aim to increase the time each session. Alternating between two or three different cardio machines during a single workout is a good way to avoid physical and mental fatigue.

Choosing a time and place that is easy and convenient will also help you maintain a successful exercise schedule. Tracking your progress on a chart may give you extra motivation as well. “Research shows that graphic feedback about our performance tends to be even more effective than written or verbal feedback, probably because we can see our improvements over time,” says Nicole Gravina, PhD, assistant professor at Roosevelt University in Chicago.

Most importantly, find something you enjoy. Before long, the dreaded chore of exercise might become something to look forward to.

How to Feel Sexy for Life

How to Feel Sexy for Life

Don’t let your age keep you from experiencing the pleasures of intimacy. Although libido may lessen as you age, here’s how to feel sexy for a lifetime.

As you grow older, it’s easy to lose that spark in the bedroom. Boredom, loss of adventurousness, physical ailments, and other problems can overcome even the healthiest of relationships over time, causing a loss of libido and creating emotional distance. But keeping intimacy alive can have profound effects on your life.

Research has shown that healthy people have better sex lives. Fit people enjoy sex more and have a lower chance of dealing with a sexual dysfunction that can impair their love life. If you’re experiencing a loss of intimacy, there are steps you can take to reclaim it. Here’s how to feel sexy again.

Intimacy Tip No. 1: Stay Healthy

To keep your libido revved for lovemaking you should:

  • Exercise regularly. Your arousal depends in large part on how well blood flows through your body. Regular aerobic exercise can help keep the heart pumping and the blood flowing.
  • Eat right. Maintain your health by eating a diet low in fats and sugars and high in fiber and good nutrition. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, plenty of whole grains, and a good daily amount of low-fat dairy products. Protein should come in the form of fish, poultry, and lean meats.
  • Sleep well. Good, healthy sleep gives your body the chance to refresh and recuperate.
  • Stop bad habits. Alcohol and tobacco can harm sexual function and can negatively affect your overall health.

Intimacy Tip No. 2: Communicate

Partners with a satisfying sex life talk to one another; those with an unsatisfying one need to talk to one another.

  • Voice your concerns. Tell your partner about changes in your body that worry you along with any other issues that bother you about your sex life.
  • Describe what makes you feel good. Your partner can’t satisfy you if he doesn’t know what you desire.
  • Don’t criticize. Focus on what he’s doing right, rather than pointing out the things he’s doing wrong.
  • Talk at the right time. During lovemaking is the right time for discussing what you like and enjoy. Save your concerns, worries, and more negative issues for outside the bedroom.

Intimacy Tip No. 3: Improve Your Own Game

Try these ways to be a better lover:

  • Think about sex. The brain is an important — some say the most important — sexual organ. Get your head in the game by thinking about your fantasies and desires more often. Write down your sexual fantasies and share them with your partner.
  • Touch. Maintaining physical affection is critical to keeping a love life happy and frisky. Cuddle, hug, kiss, and hold hands often, even if you’re tired or not in the mood for sex. During lovemaking, experiment with touching your partner in ways that please and arouse him.
  • Educate yourself. There are plenty of self-help books available that will give you tips on improving your sexual technique.

Intimacy Tip No. 4: Have Fun

Don’t forget that sex is supposed to be an enjoyable experience. Be sure to have fun in the bedroom (and elsewhere) by:

  • Trying out different sexual positions. The tried-and-true missionary position can become stale. Experiment.
  • Taking a break from intercourse. Try pleasing each other with oral sex, manual sex, massage, and caressing.
  • Being inventive. Leave love notes. Plan an erotic getaway. Try making love at different times of the day. Read a love poem. Craft a scene that appeals to all five senses. Try having sex in different locations.

Most importantly, have sex and enjoy intimacy on a regular basis with your partner.

4 Ways to Boost Your Confidence During Menopause

4 Ways to Boost Your Confidence During Menopause

Besides the physical changes that menopause brings, it also can shake your sense of self-assurance — but these confidence boosters can help.

In medical terms, menopause — the absence of a woman’s menstrual period for at least a year — is a strictly physical phenomenon. However, most women find that, beyond physical symptoms, menopause can also be a time of emotional upheaval.

“It can be a sad time,” says Dale Perry, a nurse practitioner at Women’s Care of Beverly Hills in California and a specialist in menopausal issues. “You know you’re not going to have any more children. You throw that last box of tampons away. You can have mood swings, fatigue — you may just not feel like you’re completely on top of things.”

This combination of physical changes and emotional stress can be enough to make a woman feel a little down or unsure of herself. But you can regain the confidence that menopause symptoms may have shaken. Try some of these tips to start feeling like yourself again.

Confidence Booster No. 1: Have Sex

If you’re feeling less than feminine because of menopause, a great way to overcome that is by being intimate with your partner.

Intimacy can also help you overcome the so-so feelings you may have been having about sex — a common symptom of menopause. “If you don’t use it regularly, it doesn’t work so well,” Perry says.

Some menopausal women find sex to be uncomfortable because of vaginal dryness, which can happen when estrogen levels go down. If you experience this, an estrogen supplement can help increase moisture. Some of the newest estrogen supplements, like Evamist and Vivelle-Dot, are delivered through the skin. “It’s a much lower dose, you can swim with it, and it slowly releases the hormone into your bloodstream,” Perry says. Other options are topical estrogen creams and estrogen tablets that deliver the hormone directly to the vaginal tissues.

Confidence Booster No. 2: Get More Exercise

Regular physical activity can help relieve some of the stress of menopause and improve your physical health, leading to a general sense of well-being. “I think yoga works particularly well,” Perry says. “You can ease yourself in by starting with a gentle stretch class, and move from there.”

Adults should aim for a total of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking, every week. All of the body’s major muscle groups should be exercised at least twice a week.

Confidence Booster No. 3: Pamper Yourself

Breaking out of your routine by treating yourself to something new or luxurious can be a real confidence booster, Perry says. Also, since your body is changing, this is a perfect time to change your outward appearance in small ways. “Let a personal shopper pick out some clothes you wouldn’t have chosen yourself,” Perry says. “Do something different. That can be really exciting.”

Confidence Booster No. 4: Get Help if You Need It

Many women sail through menopause with no major problems, but others may need to consult with their doctor if they’re feeling symptoms of depression or anxiety. Women with a history of these problems should be on the lookout for signs, which can include loss of energy, sadness, and constant feelings of worry and tension. “If your sleep is disturbed, you need to talk to your doctor,” Perry says. “If you’re not sleeping well, nothing else in your life seems to go well. You start the day already feeling behind.”

If you are diagnosed with anxiety or depression, your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant medication to help improve your mood. Commonly prescribed medications include Zoloft ( sertraline ) and Lexapro (escitalopram ). One antidepressant, Effexor (venlafaxine ), also tends to relieve the hot flashes associated with menopause.

While there’s plenty to moan about during menopause, there’s also a lot to celebrate at this time in your life. “In some ways, it’s a very freeing age for women,” Perry says. “In your twenties and thirties, you really care what people think of you. But now, you’re much more comfortable in your own skin. Many women are at the height of their careers … This is not a time of life when life is over. The best stuff is not necessarily behind you at this point.”

Make Over Your Bedroom for Better Sleep

This is one of my things that I'm working on.
Getting more and better sleep so I thought this
article was a good one... and one that I thought
I'd share with you.
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Make Over Your Bedroom for Better Sleep

A simple bedroom makeover, starting with a comfortable bed, can help you sleep better and through the night.

 

By Diana Rodriguez

 

Sometimes it takes more than being tired to fall asleep. Relaxation techniques can help you sleep more soundly, but don’t stop there. Creating the right atmosphere in your bedroom will also lead to better sleep.
Better bedroom environment

The ultimate sleep setting starts with a comfortable bed — good pillows and a blanket or comforter make your bed more inviting. You also want to set the right mood to help you sleep.

The Root of Sleep Problems

People have trouble sleeping for many reasons. Barbara Phillips, MD, director of the University of Kentucky Good Samaritan Sleep Center in Lexington, speculates that sleep problems may have to do with human instinct and the need to survive.

“Difficulty sleeping is a normal reaction to stress and to an unhealthy or dangerous environment,” Dr. Phillips says. This probably gave our ancestors a survival advantage when the greatest risk to their well-being was being attacked at night, whether by saber-toothed tigers or enemy tribes.

How does that affect your sleep today? “We are probably hardwired not to sleep as well when there are problems in our lives,” says Phillips. “This may be part of the reason that insomnia is often associated with stress, depression, and anxiety.” Being physically uncomfortable when trying to sleep can make it even harder.

How to Sleep Well: Creating Your Sleep Haven

The right sleep environment is essential to set the stage for better sleep. Give your bedroom a makeover with these tips:

  • Set an appropriate noise level. Certain sounds may annoy you at night, while having your room too quiet can also affect your ability to sleep. White noise is purposeful noise — usually a steady, low-level background sound — that blocks out distracting sounds. Try running a fan at night or playing a CD of soothing sounds, like rain or ocean waves — whatever relaxes you.
  • Check the temperature. It can be difficult to sleep in a room that’s too hot or too cold. The right temperature depends on your personal comfort level. Find out what makes you most comfortable in bed so that you don’t wake up sweating or shivering.
  • Make a comfortable bed. When you slip into bed at the end of a long day, it should feel welcoming, luxurious, and relaxing. Clean, soft sheets, blankets or a comforter, and pillows are a given. But also make sure that your mattress is in good shape and has the level of firmness you need.
  • Turn out the lights. Exposure to plenty of sunlight during the day can help you sleep better at night, but you want your room as dark as possible while you sleep. Hang curtains or shades designed with a backing material that blocks outside lights and early morning sunlight, or consider sleeping with an eye mask.
  • Limit bedroom activities. When you work, watch TV, or play on the computer in bed, it stimulates you and negatively affects your ability to sleep. Learning to associate your bedroom with only sleep and sex will help you fall asleep and sleep better when you’re in your bed.
  • Give yourself some space. Partners, cats, and dogs can lay claim to space on your bed, snore, and generally disrupt your sleep. If your partner’s snoring interferes with your sleep, talk about solutions to get it under control. If you have pets, consider keeping them out of your bedroom at night.

Sleep is a necessity, and it should be restorative. It can also be enjoyable. Create a tranquil sleep environment so that you can sink into a deep, restful sleep easily each night.