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A good night’s sleep is just as important as getting good, healthy food, but many of us don’t pay to much attention to when, how or how much we sleep. So what’s keeping you from getting your sleep on?

1. You Over-Indulge Too Close To Bedtime

Whether it’s smoking, drinking too much or eating a giant steak–over-indulging at bedtime can keep you awake. So nix the cigs (even e-cigs), put down that tumbler of scotch and forgo the pizza. Ideally, research shows that you shouldn’t be putting anything into your stomach for at least two hours before bedtime.

2. Your Room Is Too Warm

Your body temperature naturally lowers while you sleep, that’s why you feel like you need a blanket when you’re sleeping. But a room that is too warm will keep your body temperature from reducing as it should. A cool room promotes better, faster sleep because your body temperature lowers faster in a cool room. So lower the temperature in your room by a few degrees. Still not sleeping? Lower it bit more each night until you sleep better.

3. Your Room Glows

If you regularly sleep with a night-light on, or if there is light streaming in from the street outside, you have a light problem. Ambient light from all sorts of sources, including alarm clocks and DVD players, can effect your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Try for complete darkness to improve your sleep. Use black-out curtains to block outside light, close your door to shut off inside light that streams in from outside your room, and use a sleep mask if necessary.

4. Your Hormones Are Changing

Fluctuating hormone levels can have a dramatic effect on all areas of your life, including sleep. Pregnancy, PMS, Menopause and Peri-menopause can wreck your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Talk to your doctor about hormonal changes when they first begin to appear to head off sleep disturbances. Try a warm – not hot – bath a few hours before bed, to help relax and relieve discomfort from cramps or even aching feet. Stay on a strict sleep schedule and always avoid caffeine after lunch.

5. You’re Exposed To Too Much Blue Light

New research shows that Blue Light may be a dangerous culprit in sleep deprivation. Blue Light is a type of UV that is thrown off by things like computers, iPads, iPhones, and even CFLs. Blue Light suppresses the production of melatonin, a naturally-occurring sleep hormone that sends a message to your brain that triggers sleep. When you’re constantly bombarded by Blue Light, your body begins to lose its circadian rhythm, making it harder to sleep. So shut off that computer and close that iPad early in the evening. If you want to read in bed, choose a good old fashioned book!

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Sebrina Smith

Sebrina Zerkus Smith is a Southern Gal that has been scratching the writer’s itch for nearly 30 years. Her career began in Washington, D.C., in 1987, fresh out of collage and full of ideals. While plying her trade by day on congressional reps and senators, at night she burned the candle writing features for local newspapers and national magazines. She quickly realized that her southern upbringing gave her a unique and humorous voice that resonated with her readers. Eventually, she moved to Los Angeles where she pursued her dream of becoming a novelist and screenwriter. She paid her bills by working as a freelance writer for major marketing projects from studios such as CBS, NBC and Disney. Realizing that the future of writing lay with the internet, she was bitten by the blogging bug back in the 90’s, back before it was even called “blogging.” Then it was still just writing and trying to make a living. Through those early blogging years, Sebrina found passion and purpose. Over the past 10 years she has written articles for clients such as LightCues.com, MatterMore.com, Greenopolis, MacAddict, Yahoo, CNN and more. Today, Sebrina writes about a variety of topics including the Southern Experience, sustainability, clean water, food, gardening, sleep and her obsession with pugs. She is a regular paid contributor to WildOats.com as well as other entities. She now lives in Houston with her husband Jeff and their pug Newton. She hopes one day to complete her opus, Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed.

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