Get Refreshed: 5 Tips for Better Sleep

Good, sound sleep means you wake up feeling well rested and refreshed. However, if your nights are filled with frustration and mornings with fatigue, and you've checked yourself for the usual culprits like downing 7pm espresso shots or using your bed as a home office, here are some less obvious insomnia-inducing habits that just may be the source. Since these things happen while you're off in slumberland, they may not be the first to come to mind, but they can cause both sleep and health troubles.

GERD

Bedtime milk and cookies sounds like the perfect way to wind down before hitting the sack. But that soothing ritual might be costing you more than a few extra calories. When Oprah tells us she doesn't dare touch food after 8pm, she's doing it for weight loss reasons. But even if you're not a dieting diva, eating late is never a good idea. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, if you're eating a large meal before bedtime, the digestion process can get in the way of your good night's sleep. Besides disrupting your REM time, you may also be contributing to a more serious condition, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This occurs when food is pushed back up into the esophagus via stomach acids, causing a burning sensation and sometimes choking and coughing.

Remedy: Do not eat a large meal or snack within two to three hours of bedtime. If this is unavoidable, plan ahead and satisfy your appetite earlier in the evening so all you'll need is a light snack before going to bed. If you do conk out after your gorge session, be sure to elevate your head with pillows.

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