Sep 212011

sleep tipsSnooze news you will use
Do you struggle for shut-eye every night?  The latest research from neuroscientists shows that the deep slow wave sleep (SWS) is the stage in which new information is integrated with the old for storage.  Translation: Long term memory.  So getting your zzzz’s is more important than ever. In fact it’s time to rethink sleep as the most productive time of the day!  Try these simple suggestions and say good night to insomnia for good.

  • Avoid Computer Screens Before Bedtime–For many people, modern living means a lot of time sitting in front of a computer screen. Try to avoid using the computer right before bedtime. The bright light given off by the screen can disturb sleep patterns– even after you’re in bed.
  • Cut back on stimulants— Avoid caffeinated beverages at least eight hours before your desired bedtime. Your body doesn’t store caffeine, but it does take many hours for it to eliminate the stimulant and its effects. Even decaf coffee and chocolate contain small amounts of caffeine.
  • Avoid large meals late in the day.  Your metabolic rate and body temperature will increase when they should be decreasing. This makes it harder to get to sleep. It is wise not to eat a large meal within three hours of bedtime
  • Eat a small snack several hours before bedtime. Hunger pangs can wake you up, so don’t go to sleep hungry. Choose a small healthy snack, such as a small bowl of oatmeal, cereal with low-fat milk, or yogurt with granola sprinkled on top.
  • Go to bed when tired—Sounds crazy, but to stay up longer can cause a second wind where you become alert again. After pushing past the initial sleepiness you are likely to find it hard to fall asleep later.
  • Aromatherapy— Lavender is the trick here, as studies have proven that it aids in sleep. It’s an inexpensive, nontoxic way to slip into a peaceful slumber. Find a spray with real lavender and spritz it on your pillow before bedtime. Lavender oil can also be inhaled, applied topically, or added to bathwater.  It’s always a good idea to do a little patch test first.
  • Melatonin—If you are into natural supplements, this is the one to try.  Melatonin is the hormone that controls sleep, so it’s no wonder that it naturally induces sleep.sleep tips Although some experts recommend taking higher doses, studies show that lower doses are more effective. Take 0.3 to 0.5 milligrams before bed, and always check with your medical care provider.  Tip: Dried cherries and walnuts both contain melatonin.  What a yummy bedtime snack.
  • Learn how to relax—This can be difficult –whether it’s doing some simple Yoga stretches or meditation, find a way to clear your mind.  Close your eyes for 5-10 minutes, and focus on nothing except your breathing.  This gets easier with practice

The reasons for insomnia are usually multifaceted, and differ from one person to the next.  Keep a sleep diary and become your own sleep detective.

~Sweet dreams~


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