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Sleep well to fight stress
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A good night's sleep not only lifts your mood but is also a stress buster. Make sure you get adequate amount of sleep and start your day fresh. 

Whether it's for a tough test or a big presentation, most of us are guilty of stayingawake till the wee hours of the night and preparing for the next day. However, this sleep deprivation actually affects us negatively. Adequate amount of sleep (8 hours) helps us cope with stress and prepares us for the next day and a well rested brain is more capable of retaining and reproducing information. When we are sleep deprived, we often wake up with headaches and body aches, feeling restless and even cranky. 

However, a number of the times the loss of sleep is not in our hands. Although insomnia is a medical condition, there could be various other reasons why one looses sleep, and stress is a prime factor. Instead of subjecting yourself to this somatic torture, here are certain things you should try to make sure you get the right amount of sleep your body needs. 

1. Eat whole foods such as fruits and vegetables and take a regular course of a multivitamin. Avoid highly refined foods and heavily processed foods as much as possible. A healthy diet helps in maintaining a healthy blood sugar level, which will help prevent sleep cycle issues. In addition, make sure there is at least a two hour gap between your bed time and dinner. This gives your body sometime to digest the food before you hit the sack. However, if you want to drink something before bedtime, try calming herbal teas such as chamomile or passion fruit, or a glass of warm milk. 

2. Practice yoga, belly breathing and meditation. Yoga incorporates breathing exercises and meditation which can help reduce stress and result in more restful sleep. In addition to helping you fall asleep more quickly and sleep longer, yoga also helps maintain your blood sugar level which aids digestion and is an excellent exercise to get fit. Yoga has an overall calming effect which relaxes the nerves, thus freeing your mind off anxieties. 

3. Get into an eight-hour sleep routine. This means you don't let yourself sleep longer during weekends or wake up before eight hours during weekdays. Fix a particular time when you go to bed and when you wake and try to stick to that as religiously as possible. Once your sleep cycle isdisturbed it becomes all the more difficult to get back to normalcy when you have to wake up the next workday. 

4. Sleep in a dark room, or use curtains, blinds or shades to block out light if your work schedule forces you to sleep during the day. The body prepares for sleep by secreting the hormone melatonin into the bloodstream, which causes the body to experience a decrease in temperature and alertness. Studies have shown that any sort of light stimulation, even night bulbs, disturbs the natural production of the hormone. Once you wake up, open the curtains or switch on the lights and prepare yourself for a new day.

Source : Times of india

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