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Tips for improving women's sleep

October 9, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Worry, anxiety, stress -- lots of things can keep us up at night. Many experts are calling lack of sleep a national health crisis. Here are the top things you can do right now to get a good night's rest. "People need to get some sleep." That's the sole concept behind "Parker and Morgan," a new Canoga Park store dedicated to sleep and wellness.

"So when people walk into the store, they are blown away because no one really listens to them about their sleep issues," said Paul Buckland, Parker and Morgan.

"Probably 70 to 80 percent of most people, men and women, have difficulty sleeping at some point in their life," said Rebecca Hulem.

Author and women's health expert Rebecca Hulem says dependence on sleep medications is worsening America's sleep crisis.

"You become dependent on these medications; you can't get off of them easily," said Hulem.

Experts say there are only two types of sleep problems: Getting to sleep and staying asleep.

"Some of us have both issues, some of us have only one issue," said Hulem.

To get consistent sleep, get to bed at the same time every night, even on the weekend.

Create a bedtime routine like herbal tea and a warm bath.

Most importantly, make sure your bedroom is dark and cool. Hulem also recommends the sleep hormone melatonin, but in small amounts.

The standard recommendation is one to three milligrams. Hulem recommends products that contain only a fraction of that.

Other sleep fixes: avoid caffeine four hours before bed and the urge to light up. Hulem says nicotine revs up the metabolism.

While you might think a glass of wine is relaxing: "It will disrupt our sleep and we're going to be awakened frequently in the night," said Hulem.

If you're a woman who wakes frequently at night, it's probably 2 a.m.

"That's when our estrogen levels are the lowest and that's when women tend to be awakened by feeling warm or hot," said Hulem.

For this, Hulem recommends cotton or heat-deflecting fabrics.

Finally, white noise like a fan or a sound machine to shut out external sounds.

"Sometimes we need that just to turn off that monkey mind, when we can't shut off our minds," said Hulem.

All tricks to help you turn off and tune out.

 

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