This week we'll touch on the basics of sleep, including why it's important, how much you need, and the benefits of naps. But first?
5 Ways to Sleep Better - TONIGHT!
1) Make it dark: your internal clock can be disrupted by a variety of things, but one of the bigger disruptors is lightness. Whether it be moonlight, clock radio, blackberry or even a night light, any form of light signals the body to be alert and not to sleep. This is a major contributor to poor quality of sleep!
2) Make it less stimulating: any alarm clock, blackberry or portable device should NOT be next to your bed. In fact, any electric device should be at least beyond the foot of the bed. These devices send electromagnetic fields (even when off) and disrupt the production of melatonin and serotin.
3) Make it simple: Try to leave your bed for sleep only. TV, internet, doing work in bed - this all makes it harder to associate your bed with sleep, and might not allow you to fully relax into a deep sleep.
4) Make it last: Avoid eating or drinking 2 hours before bed. Avoid drinking because this will lessen the chances of waking to use the bathroom. You can also go to the bathroom right before bed to help lower those chances as well. Also, eating and digesting is a metabolically boosting activity - something you want to participate in throughout the day, but not within 2 hours before bed.
5) Make it quality: Ever awaken in the middle of the night, a few hours after 'passing out' from a long night of drinking, and find yourself in a mild sweat, and unable to fall back asleep? This is when your liver switches back to metabolizing fats (versus alcohol). This stimulates the body (hence the warmth) and is another reason to avoid alcohol before bed. The average metabolic breakdown of 1 drink in the liver is 1 hour, so on those nights you must participate in drinking, minimize the effects by alternating with water/seltzer instead of drinking straight alcohol.
In better ZZZ's...