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Fight Insomnia: 20 Things That May Be Keeping You Awake 
 
by Diana Bocco June 23, 2005

Insomnia is a real problem for millions of Americans that don’t realize the solution may be as simple as changing a few habits.

Here is a list of the things that may be keeping you awake without you knowing it.

1. A messy bedroom. It can cause stress and restlessness. Pick up a Feng Shui book for tips on how to create a harmonious environment.

2. A wandering mind. Meditate, do yoga, or practice breathing exercises before bed. They will take your mind off the tensions of the day and prepare you for a restful night. “That’s the secret behind the old remedy of counting sheep,” says Richard Evans, a sleep laboratory technician and certified hypnotherapist. “You focus your mind on something relaxing and immediately forget about everything else that causes tension and tends to keep you awake.” You can also try keeping a journal and making a habit out of jotting down all the day’s worries before going to sleep. Seeing them down on paper is great therapy and it will ease your mind.

3. Too much work. Make your bedroom a work-free zone. No laptops, planners, or appointment books allowed beyond the door.

4. Spicy food. Avoid zesty dinners, as they can cause heartburn and an unsettled stomach.

5. Too much light. Change all your light switches to dimmers. At least an hour before bedtime, dim down all lights so your body starts to “let go.” It can also help to put thick, heavy blinds in all your bedroom windows and make sure they are closed before you go to bed to avoid early sunlight sneaking in and waking you up.

6. Exercise. Do not work out late in the evening. Most people become alert after an intensive workout and may have a harder time falling asleep. Try to finish your workout at least three hours before bedtime.

7. Diet. Going to bed hungry will make it harder to fall and stay asleep. Try a glass of warm milk, a piece of turkey, or a handful of nuts –All three contain L-tryptophan, an amino-acid proven to induce sleep.

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