Doze Control: Eat Right and You'll Sleep Like a Baby

Eat Right, Sleep Better

From the WebMD Archives

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Curbing the Midnight Snack Attack

Do you awaken in the middle of the night, unable to fall back to sleep unless you eat something? These midnight snack cravings may be triggered by hunger, or they may just be habit. In either case, your best bet is to break the cycle. Try eating more during the day, and stop rewarding your stomach by feeding it every time it wakes you up. Instead, read a book, drink a glass of water, or ignore the craving. It takes up to two weeks to break a midnight snack habit.

Exercising to Relieve Stress

Stress is a common cause of insomnia. Often, relieving tensions and anxieties eliminates sleep problems. One tension reliever is exercise. In a study from Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., healthy adults with mild sleep problems who exercised twice a week for at least 40 minutes per session fell asleep faster and slept about 45 minutes longer than people who didn't exercise. Physical activity also helps you cope with daily stress and tires the body so it is ready to sleep at night. Vigorous exercise should be done no closer to bedtime than six hours; mild exercise should be done no closer to bedtime than four hours.

In short, sleeping pills are a temporary fix, but a few simple dietary and lifestyle changes could do wonders for your long-term snooze control.

WebMD Feature Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD
© 1999 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved.

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