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Tips to Improve Your Sleep

* Stay on a sleep schedule
Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day will help to keep your inner clock set. Sleeping late on weekends can sometimes affect your circadian rhythm, causing a disruption in your sleep pattern.

* Get exercise during the day
Sleep disorder clinics are recommending moderate daytime exercise as part of their treatment program.

* Set up a bedtime ritual
Do things that are relaxing such as taking a hot bath, doing a relaxation exercise, listening to music or quiet reading. Do not rush to bed.

* Eat healthy food
Protein foods such as beef, beans, tuna and eggs produce the amino acid tryptophan, which can induce sleep. Milk, cottage cheese and yogurt contain calcium which is a natural tranquilizer. A small carbohydrate snack about an hour before bed triggers serotonin, a brain chemical with a calming effect.

* Limit caffeine, alcohol and sugar
Caffeine can cause insomnia even when consumed during daytime hours. Although alcohol can put you to sleep, insomnia may occur as the sedating effect wears off. Many people are also bothered by excessive amounts of sweets.

* Try not to force sleep
If you are having a bad night, get up and do some calming activity. Return to bed when you start to feel drowsy. Getting up helps to break the association between sleeplessness and your bed.

* Share your problems with someone
If you are experiencing sleep disturbances because of a conflict in your life, talk to a friend or call your health care provider for advice and information.