Get Refreshed: 5 Tips for Better Sleep

Are You a Stomach Sleeper?

Get in touch with your inner child while you sleep. According to researchers, the best sleeping positions that put the least stress on your joints and organs are on your back or in the semifetal position, where you lay on one side with knees slightly bent, one arm outstretched above the head, the other resting comfortably on the opposing upper arm to cradle the head. Both give your spine and body proper alignment.

However, if your preferred sleep position is on your stomach, you may be asking for trouble. You'll spend many hundreds of hours smashing your delicate facial skin into a pillow, which helps produce wrinkles, sagging and puffiness, not to mention trauma to your neck, spine and lower back.

Remedy: Change sleep positions. Sleep doctors suggest adhering two tennis balls to your stomach so whenever you try and switch to the old tummy routine, you'll automatically reposition yourself.

Increased Blood Cortisol Levels

The highly publicized study that linked lack of sleep with extra weight is accurate on one side of the equation. The study does not suggest getting more sleep will help you lose weight. It says if you're not getting enough sleep, you'll feel less equipped to handle stress and your intricate hormonal system will react, increasing stress hormones like cortisol. Higher blood cortisol negatively affects your sleep patterns in a round-robin effect. Numerous studies also show that increased cortisol levels both increase appetite '- particularly for sugar and starchy carbohydrates '- as well as promote stubborn belly fat. If that's not enough to want to keep them in check, recent studies also indicate a direct correlation between elevated cortisol levels and high blood pressure, diabetes and a decreased resistance to infection.

Remedy: Put in plenty of pillow time. Get yourself to bed at a reasonable hour so that you're not dreading the sound of the alarm clock come morning. Figure out how many hours of sleep your body operates best with, and once you start getting that magic number, your hormones will readjust and both your sleep and weight will normalize.

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