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Stress Getting You Down? Perk Up with a Good Night’s Sleep

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(ARA) - Stress. We�ve all felt it at one time or another and we know it�s not healthy. How we handle that stress differs from person to person. Some of us try with aromatherapy or at-home spa treatments, and others cook healthy meals or start an exercise program . . . all in pursuit of a balanced, healthy lifestyle with lower stress.

According to the Better Sleep Council�s (BSC) third annual stress and sleep survey, women identify getting a good night�s sleep as their top priority for personal wellness. Twenty-seven percent believe sleep is the most important wellness activity over a balanced diet (24 percent) and exercising 30 minutes a day (19 percent).

However, understanding the value of getting a good night�s sleep is not resulting in restful nights and refreshed mornings for American women. The BSC survey found that while 45 percent of women feel most energized after a good night�s sleep, only 16 percent were likely to sleep more to improve their overall wellness. This disconnect is leaving women exhausted and stressed.

"Research and intuition tell us that sleep is an important part of our well-being," said Mary LoVerde, health and wellness expert and author of "I Used to Have a Handle on Life But it Broke." "Women can achieve the gift of balance and improve their quality of life by giving themselves permission to go to bed."

Survey results also validate the important role a mattress plays in the overall quality of sleep, finding a direct connection this year between sleep deprived women (60 percent) and their desire to purchase a new mattress.

Recognizing the important role sleep and a good mattress play in reducing stress and improving quality of life, the BSC encourages women to take the time during Better Sleep Month to evaluate their sleep habits and sleep environment. The BSC has developed ten tips to help consumers start each day with a good night�s sleep.

1. Give yourself "permission" to go to bed. As hard as it may be to put away your "to do" list, make sleep a "priority." You'll thank yourself in the morning.

2. Unwind early in the evening. Try to deal with worries and distractions several hours before bedtime.

3. Develop a sleep ritual. Doing the same things each night just before bed signals your body to settle down for the night.

4. Keep regular hours. Keep your biological clock in check by going to bed around the same time each night and waking up close to the same time each morning -- even on weekends.

5. Create a restful place to sleep. Sleep in a cool, dark room that is free from noises that may disturb your sleep.

6. Sleep on a comfortable, supportive mattress and foundation. It's difficult to sleep on a bed that's too small, too soft, too hard, or too old.

7. Exercise regularly. Regular exercise can help relieve daily tension and stress -- but don't exercise too close to bedtime or you may have trouble falling asleep.

8. Cut down on stimulants. Consuming stimulants, such as caffeine, in the evening can make it more difficult to fall asleep.

9. Don't smoke. Smokers take longer to fall asleep and wake up more often during the night.

10. Reduce alcohol intake. Drinking alcohol shortly before bedtime interrupts and fragments sleep.

For additional findings from the third annual stress and sleep survey or to download a free copy of the updated Better Sleep Guide, visit www.bettersleep.org.

For information on how to live a more balanced lifestyle visit www.maryloverde.com.

Courtesy of ARA Content

1. Stress is a common problem. True: False:
2. Women believe a balanced diet is the most important wellness activity. True: False:
3. Varying your activities before bedtime will help you sleep. True: False:
4. A cool room will help you sleep. True: False:
5. Giving up smoking will help you sleep better. True: False:
6. Drinking alcohol helps you to sleep well. True: False:

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