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Wide Awake In America

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We've all heard the adage if a butterfly flaps its wings in Hong Kong, there's a hurricane in Manhattan. Today, quantum physics says yes, the world is kept spinning by an unending energy spiral intermingled and never lost.

At the same time, as a sleep counselor women often ask me what has changed from past generations and why women seem so tired, fatigued and un-well-rested.

Is there any possible connection between the two?

The simple answer: yes; there's too much technology inside your bedroom!

It's bad enough being so wired on the info-mania highway during daytime, but please don't drag it into your sleep hours. If you want to get better sleep - and even if you think you do sleep well enough - clean out the electronics from your bedroom.

Somehow, bedrooms have transformed from a simple place for sleep and rejuvenation into info/entertainment centers. How did this happen? I'm not even sure when it happened but it has, sadly. Tally up the electronic devices in your bedroom, and weed most out.

If you're a good consumer, you'll have a TV, portable phone, CD player or iPod, cell phone, electric alarm clock, radio, perhaps a computer, laptop, fax, scanner, a DVD or video player, and even the dreaded BlackBerry -- you get the idea. These electronics -- particularly the television and computer screens -- jam up your air and emit energy waves long after they've been turned off.

How many pieces of electronic equipment are acceptable in a sleep-focused bedroom? Of course, zero is the best number, but today, this seems highly impractical. So compromise.

I tell people if they must have a television in the bedroom, put it in an entertainment center or cupboard where you can shut the doors; or if it must be free-standing, place a cloth or piece of fabric over the screen at night. Simple but effective.

Plants also help absorb some of this electrical pollution: the rule of thumb is one big plant per item of electronic equipment. Palms, peace lilies, and spider plants are said to absorb the most electrical charges.

If you cannot remove your computer, fax, printer, and other work-related electronics, at the very least diligently turn off the machines at night, turn the computer screen around and/or close the lap top, and cover it with a plastic cover. Make sure all electronic pieces - and that includes clock radios and portable phones - are at least four feet from where you rest your head while asleep.

Sleep problems are complex and removing television and computer screens along with entertainment goodies out of your bedroom won't automatically return you to prized slumber, but it's an excellent start.

Madison Avenue will never tell you about electromagnetic fields when they try to sell you the latest entertainment gadget, which today inevitably gets place in the bedroom; its buyer and sleeper beware.

So if you want to return to good sleep at night, do yourself a favor: clean out your room and make it a place not to be entertained, but to sleep.

For more information on sleep and sleep counseling visit Janet's website: or purchase her book, "The Well-Rested Woman: 60 Soothing Suggestions for Getting a Good Night's Sleep."