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Published on August 22, 2017

older woman sleeping

A good night's sleep is good for your heart

6 tips to help you sleep better naturally.

Endless nights of poor sleep can take a toll on your health, including predisposing you to heart disease.

According to a new study published by the American Heart Association, otherwise healthy people who get too little or too much sleep can show the early markers of heart disease. Researchers report that 50 percent of all adults report occasional insomnia and 20 percent have chronic sleep troubles.

The new study joins earlier research that found people who tended to get less than six hours of sleep nightly were more likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and tend to obesity.

Before turning to over the counter or prescription sleeping medications that can have undesirable side effects, try these strategies first:

1. Keep a diary for two weeks to spot patterns that affect your sleep. Record when you go to bed, how many times you wake up and how you feel in the morning. Also note what you ate close to bedtime and your exercise.

2. Change your ways: In conjunction with your diary, change the habits that seem to lead to restless nights. Many people find that they cannot drink caffeine after 2 pm or exercise after 5 pm if they have hopes of sleeping well.

3. Unwind at day's end. Give your body time to move from activity to a relaxed state. Pick up your favorite magazine or dive into a book to relax the mind. Television is not necessarily the best way to relax the mind.

4. Establish a sleep schedule. Stick with it as much as possible, even on weekends. A regular routine keeps your body's clock steady.

5. Turn on white noise. Soothing sound machines or fans help block outside noise that could be disturbing your slumber.

6. If you wake up, don't immediately turn on a light. Lie in the dark and breathe deeply. However, if staying in bed stresses you, get up and do something calming in dim light until you feel drowsy again.

Copyright 2017 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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