Bedroom makeover may help you catch more z's - New York News

Bedroom makeover may help you catch more z's

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PHOENIX -

Having trouble resisting that jelly donut, or the biscuits and gravy on the breakfast menu? you may actually be starved not so much for food, but for sleep.

Research shows the less you sleep, the more likely you are to gain weight. The solution may be a bedroom makeover.

Our bedroom should be our escape from the world: a place that's quiet and relaxing.

But if you look around your room, you've probably got a laptop, a cell phone and maybe a TV.

So, if you want to sleep better, one sleep expert says start by giving your bedroom a makeover.

Starved for sleep? Craving junk food you know is bad for you?

Clinical psychologist Michael Breus, author of "The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan," says you need to think about where you're sleeping.

"Walk into your bedroom and take a look around, and how does it make you feel?" said Breus.

If "stressed" is the answer, Breus says start by focusing on your senses. First, what do you see?

"Too much light can actually make it difficult to fall asleep. So one of the things I do is I ask people to take the bedside lamp and use a 40 watt bulb instead of a 90 watt bulb.  Or to use a dimmer switch and dim the lights maybe 40 minutes before bed," said Breus.

Next, think about what you're hearing in your bedroom,
   
"We know that if it's too quiet, it's hard to fall asleep, and if it's too noisy it's hard to fall asleep," said Breus.

If you sleep with a snorer, try earplugs. If you can't stand the silence, turn on a fan, or a sound machine.

"Believe it or not ocean sounds have been shown to help people fall asleep, any type of meditation, or relaxation, like an audio relaxation can also be quite helpful," said Breus.

If the TV helps you fall asleep, Breus says leave it on.

"The caveat is you need to have a TV timer that will turn it off for you 30 minutes after you go to sleep," said Breus. "I find that some of my patients, if they're just quiet, in a dark room, their brain just starts going and going and going and they can't fall asleep.  So that's something that helps them."

Next, take a look at your bedding. And most people don't think about this, but your mattress and your sheets have a lot to do with you how sleep.

Breus says think of your bedding as "performance equipment," get the good stuff.

"The easiest way to ruin your mattress is to have a cheap pillow.  So I often tell people, "Don't just go out and get the $7 dollar what-have-you. Really get a pillow that fits you and your sleep needs."

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