Improve Your Sleep For Less

by Shaunna Privratsky


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Sleep Cheap

Nighty Night

Getting Enough Sleep

Fighting insomnia is a multi-million dollar industry. Furniture stores sell specialty beds with four-digit price tags. Drug stores do a brisk business in "guaranteed" sleep-aids. Infomercials sell "miracle" products to "cure" insomnia.

Studies show the amount and quality of sleep directly affects our health. Adequate sleep is necessary for us to rest our bodies and recharge our minds. Yet we shouldn't have to break the bank to get the recommended six to nine hours of sleep a night. Here are some tips that will improve your Z's without draining your dollars.

  • Start a sleep journal. Note what time you go to bed, how often you wake up, whether you can fall back to sleep, and when you naturally wake up without an alarm. This will pinpoint the exact problems you are facing.

  • Don't pay big bucks for a bed. An adequately firm surface with enough room to stretch out is sufficient for slumber. Adding a soft mattress pad, feather duvet or foam pad can add a touch of softness without the huge price tag. Shop around for sales and discounts.

  • Large comforters make ideal mattress pads for a lot less. Look for discontinued patterns or clearance items for maximum savings. I recently bought a queen-sized down comforter on clearance for $9.97. The original price was $99. Although it features prancing ponies and rainbows, I don't mind since it is always covered with a sheet.

  • Establish a regular sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking at the same times each day sets your sleep rhythm naturally, without expensive sleep gadgets.

  • Tape a soothing sound like a running shower, wind in the trees or the ocean waves. You will save a bundle on white-noise machines and special recordings.

  • Add soothing scents to carry you off to dreamland. Wash your bedding in pleasantly scented laundry soap. Make your own scented candles and potpourri for extra savings.

  • Stay hydrated. Getting adequate water throughout the day flushes out toxins. Dehydration weakens your immune system and can interrupt sleep.

  • Get your 30 minutes of exercise for better sleep. Doing this at least three times a week leads to better health. You'll fall asleep faster and have more restful sleep.

  • Turning down the heat not only saves money on your heating bill, but also it will make you sleep sounder. Stay warm in the winter with cozy blankets and warm pajamas. Adding socks to your bedtime wardrobe adds tons of warmth without extra cash.

  • Don't smoke. Tobacco use disturbs sleep. With the high price and new "health" tax on cigarettes, this is just one more reason to quit.

  • Avoid alcohol before bedtime. It fragments sleep, not to mention the hangover the next morning.

  • Cut out the caffeine in the evening. Yet don't forget about your daily intake. Too much coffee in the morning can lead to tossing and turning in the night. Cut back gradually to avoid a "cold-turkey headache."

  • Ditch your pillow. Sleeping with too many pillows can lead to neck pain and sleeplessness. Sleep experts recommend one pillow in the firmness that you prefer. To test your pillow, fold it in half. It should spring back into shape when released. If it doesn't, it is time to buy a new pillow.

  • Watch your posture. Do you sleep on your back, sprawl all over the bed or scrunch up in a little ball? How you position yourself can make or break your night's sleep. The best position is on your side, with your spine aligned, knees and elbows bent at a comfortable angle.

  • Banish worries from the bedroom. If worry is keeping you wide-eyed in the dark, consciously choose to quit worrying. Writing your fears down will actually help you let go of them until the next day. Everything looks brighter in the light.

  • The occasional use of over-the-counter sleeping pills may help combat insomnia, but should not be used regularly. Generic or store brands will save you money when you need to go this route.

  • See your doctor if your symptoms don't improve. You are entitled to a good night's rest. In fact, your health depends on it.

Getting a restful night's sleep shouldn't cost a fortune. In fact, improving your sleep will save you countless dollars at the doctor's office. Try these tips tonight. Instead of sheep, you can count the money you've saved as you drift off into dreamland. Sleep tight!

Take the Next Step:

  • A restful night's sleep directly affects your health. Therefore, try the above ideas and get the six to nine hours of sleep that your body so desperately needs.

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