Friday, June 11, 2010

Get Plenty of Sleep

The days are getting longer, the sky stays light much later and gets light much earlier and we get much less sleep. Not to mention, all the summer re-runs of my favorite shows! There is definitely not enough sleep happening at my house!

But don't despair, I have some great tips to help you fall asleep without the need for sleep aids.

  1. Eat Early: Your body uses food to produce energy. So why would you eat just before you go to bed? That is the one time that you do not want energy! Not only will you fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer if you eat earlier, you will also help your metabolism to burn off those calories and lose some of that winter weight. So eat your dinner early and if you need a little snack before bed roll up a piece of cheese in a slice of turkey or drink a glass of warm milk. Turkey and Dairy both have the amino acid tryptophan which helps calm your brain and makes you sleepy.
  2. No Caffeine, No Sugar: Caffeine is a stimulant and should be avoided 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. Sugar on the other hand will spike your insulin levels and make falling asleep difficult and later, the dropping of insulin could cause you to wake and have trouble falling back asleep.
  3. Turn off the TV: Almost everyone has a television in their bedrooms now and I am no exception, but the stimulation caused by television and even the computer, can make falling asleep very difficult. Do not watch television or use the computer during the hour leading up to bedtime and you will find it much easier to fall asleep.
  4. Meditate: Meditation has long been touted for all the mental and physical benefits it can bring. If you meditate prior to sleeping, it will help your brain "turn off". Think of your brain as a computer. Before you can turn the computer off it has to download and install all updates and then power down. Your brain needs to do the same thing. Mediation will give your brain a chance to file all thoughts and slow down.
  5. Have a Routine: Start an hour before bedtime and take a shower, paint your nails, write in your journal, meditate or listen to soothing music. But do the same thing, at the same time, in the same order every night. Then when you take your shower, your brain and body know that it's time to start shutting down. By bedtime, you will be yawning, relaxed and ready to fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow.

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