If you've spent more than 15 minutes perusing this website you know that one of my favorite topics of discussion is sleep. I think we all like to write, hope, and dream about things we don't have. If I was to win the Powerball, the first thing I would buy would be a nap. Most of us have an issue with sleeping some of the time. All of us have an issue with sleeping some of the time.

Here are 4 things I found that you should avoid doing at bedtime because it confuses your brain and your body about the impending shutdown. You see going to sleep isn't just one thing, it's a series of things your body has to do in order to put in the proper physical and mental condition for rest.

1.Don't let that pet in the bed: Over the past twenty some odd years of married life Jill and I have always had a dog. That dog has always slept in the bed. I am sleep deprived and Jill is sleep deprived but still the dog remains. We as humans move in our sleep, we move a lot. Having another body in the bed restricts that movement. That creates a situation where optimum rest is not achieved. Dogs and cats move in their sleep too. More than once I have been awakened by the darn  dog having a dream or licking his privates or both. We love our pets but for a better night's sleep, let them have their  own space that isn't your space.

2.Don't chug that big glass of water: Hydration is important and having a glass of water or a bottle of water by the  bed for a quick sip in the middle of the night isn't bad. However, drinking a full glass of cold water at bedtime will actually wake the body back up. It's like all of the systems have  just gotten a fresh shot of oil. Instead of starting to wind down the day, the body will actually do just the opposite. Plus, a large shot of water a bedtime will lead to a trip to the  bathroom in the  middle of the night and that certainly won't make for a restful night.

3. Don't run through your next day's schedule or play video games: I spoke to a therapist about this practice many years ago when I was really having trouble with sleeping. He explained planning your day or doing an exercise like a video game that requires quick thoughts and reaction is the equivalent of running a mental marathon. You are putting obstacles in the way of the brain's ability to shut down and relax. Those activities are good to do if they help you settle down, but build in some quiet time between planning and playing before sleeping and laying and you'll rest much better.

4.Save your shower for the morning: I have never been a night time shower person. I always liked to use the shower to wake up. That's what our bodies think too. As inviting and relaxing as a hot shower can be it does stimulate the body. Stimulation is what we are tying to avoid when we are trying to turn the conscious mind into the sleeping mind. The caveat to this routine. If you've always showered at night then your body will see that action as normal but trying to shower at night to save time getting ready in the morning will only lead to a more difficult time nodding off.

As always we'd love for you to share what works for you when it comes to turning down the day. If you've got some tips or tricks that you use for yourself or for your children please send us a note so we can share your ideas with others. After all, we are all a lot nicer after we have had a good night's sleep.