7-Step Solution for Getting Better Sleep

Best. Sleep. Ever!

Chronic, long-term insufficient sleep ups your odds of diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease, even weight gain. So what to do?  Try these unexpected tweaks, and wake up feeling incredibly well-rested.

1. Halt your afternoon habit

It’s a no brainer that drinking coffee or tea right before you hit the sack won’t do you any sleep favors.  Even more so… watch what your drinking in the afternoon.  It’s good NOT to drink any caffeine after 2pm.  The effects of cortisol (stress hormone) become even more elevated so your body will thank you stopping after 2pm.

2. Choose sleep superfoods

Eat any food containing the amino acid tryptophan such as turkey and other proteins.  In the body this is converted to serotonin.  If you stop eating by 8:30pm and hit the hay around 10pm or 10:30pm your body should not be craving more food if your dinner was balanced to control your appetite.

If you ever do feel hungry try a small bowl of cottage cheese with banana slices or other combos of healthy carbs and protein such as graham crackers or yogurt sprinkled with cereal, will also do the trick.

3. Sip wine sooner

Even though a nightcap may help you relax and fall asleep faster, it’ll make the second half of your sleep cycle restless and unsatisfying. Alcohol decreases deep sleep and increases arousals from sleep. If you like a glass of wine in the evening, have it with dinner around 6pm rather than 11 and drink in moderation, so it will wear off by the time you lie down.

4. Take an early soak

If you believe in hot baths before bed time its great you’re reading this.  When your body temperature rises it hinders your sleep cycle. If you want to take soak, do so right after work.

5. Stretch for sleep

Doing a little gentle restorative yoga before you hit the sack can help put your mind at ease, steady your breathe, and reduce muscle tension without revving up your heart.

6. Set the mood for slumber

I am a big believer in dimming the lights in the house an hour or two before bedtime. Bright light too close to bedtime can make it hard to fall asleep, because you’re telling your body its daytime.  This small change will help get your biological clock to wind down and fall asleep.

7. Ban your cell Phone

The bedroom should be a phone free environment.  No texting! No emailing!  The bright lights from computers and phones is known to produce cortisol  so it’s good to shut down and read a little or chat with your significant other, that is if you have one… right before bedtime.

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