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Tips for Better Sleep

Getting a good night's sleep can make all the difference in the way you feel. And sleep is important to stay healthy. But for many people, grabbing the right amount of z's isn't always easy.
Getting a good night's sleep can make all the difference in the way you feel.  And sleep is important to stay healthy.   But for many people, grabbing the right amount of zzz's isn't always easy. 

If you want to  get up in the morning with lots of energy, then you need to get a lot of sleep.

Sleep experts say the average person needs 6 to 8 hours of sleep a day. There are tips out there to help you sleep better.  But which ones work? Try these...

1)  Shut off electronics before you hit the sack.  Sleep experts say it's best to put your laptop away at least an hour before you go to bed.  And make your room as dark as possible.  Light disturbs sleeping patterns.

"No more tv, computer, phone, none of that stuff, in the bedroom, do it outside of the bedroom," says Dr. Neal Maru of Integrated Neurology Services.

2)   You could try melatonin, a natural hormone in the body that regulates your circadian rhythm and tells you when it's time for bed. Travelers who suffer from jet lag sometimes take synthetic melatonin to re-set their body clocks. 

"We get a rise in melatonin during the night. Typically that rise starts about two hours before a preferred bedtime,"  Dr. Maru says.

In some cases taking melatonin works, but if you have a serious sleep disorder, like sleep apnea, you need to see a doctor. 

3)  Take a nap: Yep, cats have the right idea.. grabbing a 20 minute snooze can make all the difference.  But don't sleep too long; that can cause you to wake during your deepest stages of sleep, which will make  you just as tired as if you didn't nap at all.  So make it quick or keep it to over 90 minutes.



(Carl Azuz for CNN's Health Minute)


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