If too much sleep is bad for you, then am I in trouble! I think I slept most of the weekend away. I made it to the car rally Friday night with Little Guy. I also made it shopping with Hubby for a new TV stand – shopping with Hubby is like going on a covert operation: Get in, Get your item, Get out. No window shopping allowed! Otherwise, I was too sleepy to do anything else.

Some studies suggest that individuals who sleep less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours on a regular basis are actually at greater risk for mental and physical decline, which can lead to early death. A 2002 study showed that you can age your brain by up to seven years! My brain doesn’t need help getting any older!

So how do you get a good night’s sleep? The advice is simple enough. Don’t go to sleep later and expect to wake up in the morning earlier. You’ll want to sleep in …If you do have to change your schedule, get to bed as soon as possible and wake up at the same time. Going to bed doesn’t always have to mean early, just enough to get 6-9 hours of sleep. And the secret is quality sleep too – not just quantity. Apparently I’m guilty of hitting the snooze bar…which is training my body to stay tired in morning. I used to sleep on the train and I found that my body craved a nap within an hour of getting up…I’m not sure I’ve ever really broken the habit.

Stick to the same morning routines even on the weekends (guilty again – I love to lie in and snooze under the covers). Whatever your morning routine, get your blood moving, like going for a walk. It’ll let you clear mental cobwebs left by sleep and settle into wakefulness. Hydrate and exercise through the day, and avoid caffeine later in the day. Caffeine can affect you up to 12 hours. Similarly, avoid drinking water or other liquids in the hour before bed.

I usually have a snack before, preferably a small bowl of cereal…but apparently they recommend that your stomach have something in it before bed – not too full and not too empty. And nothing too sugary! That’s good news for General Mills and Post – I’ll help keep them in business.

Wear appropriate clothing – and don’t forget your feet!

Sleep in a dark room, and if possible, use a white noise generator. I find, particularly in the summer, that I sleep well when I turn on the large square fan by my bed. The combination of the noise and the breeze on my face knocks me out quickly. I can’t, however, sleep in a room with a ceiling fan. I wake up screaming, thinking it’s falling on me. I’ve had the same reaction when I sleep in the bottom bunk…TV and music overnight is too great a distraction (I usually start singing along).

And when you do wake up in the night, roll over. Be sure to keep your neck and back aligned. Pillows shouldn’t be too tall or too flat. If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your knees to support your hips. If you sleep on your back, rest a pillow under your knees. And never sleep on your stomach.

As for me, I’m tired from all this research, but I’m not going to have a nap. I’m going to get busy, maybe get groceries for the first time since Easter…then maybe I’ll have a nap. I have, after all, been sick for over a week and maybe I just need a couple more winks.