Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Steps to Better Sleep

I cherish my sleep. G loves to sleep. Kingston, loves to sleep. We are a sleep worshiping group. So, when I came across some tips for better sleep I thought, "this is worth sharing for those other sleep-loving folks."

1. Unplug

Tucking in with your laptop in tow can be disruptive to your sleep. It is obvious that the noise and movement would keep your mind busy but did you know that the glow from the screen can simulate daylight making it difficult for your brain and body to unwind and inhibiting your body's production of melatonin? Time for me to make some changes to my routine...

2. Less of the Dark Stuff

I know what caffeine does, wakes me up in the morning. Whether it's diet coke or coffee, you can find it in my hand from 5:30am-1:00pm and sometimes later. What I didn't know is it can linger in your system for up to twelve hours...! You mean that diet coke I drank at dinner could wake me up at 4am? Not fun. This is a tough one to choke down.

3. Drink up, Drink up! But wait... not too much.

We have all made the goal of drinking more of this good stuff but it only makes sense... it has to come out at some point. It's recommended that we cut off 1 hour prior to bedtime. 

4. Create a Nest

We spend a large chunk of time in our bed, only makes sense for it to be as comfortable as possible.

5. Keep it on the Low

No not the height of your bed, the temperature. I have to agree with this one. I have a small heater that I turn on for a few minutes if it is blistering cold but otherwise I curl up with tons of blankets and a Pomeranian to stay warm. G on the other hand likes her room like a sweat box. Your room should remain at 65 degrees (plus or minus 5) which is the temperature at which your body can remain most comfortable.

6. Get moving in the A.M.

Unfortunately, my schedule does not allow for this most days but someday I hope to fit morning workouts into my schedule. Exercise reduces stress which is good for relaxing but, it increases your core body temperature making it tough to doze. Get it done earlier rather than later!

7. Tidy up

Making your bed might seem like a waste of five minutes when you are already rushing out the door but, the benefits are endless. Not only is it much more inviting when you come home becasue it's already done and let's admit it's not the first thing we want to do after a long day but, the National Sleep Foundation says that 44 percent of people who make their beds daily report sleeping more soundly than those that don't. Take the extra five minutes!

8. Sleepy Sundays

Another tough pill to swallow. Wide range of wake up times can put you at risk for insomnia. Those extra hours in bed on Sundays feel nice at the time, but are probably coming back to bite you by Wednesday.

9. Not Another Night Cap

Now, the article suggests skipping the drink altogether. However, I'd like to contest that there are some benefits to a drink before bed. Whether those are psychological or physical probably depends on the person. I think it can't hurt. Keep that glass of wine if it helps you relax but stick to just one.

10. Cherry Juice

I can remember hearing radio commercials preaching this juice. Now, they say it has benefits before bed. Just one class and you could be on your way to an extra 25 minutes of peaceful sleep, claims a British study conducted on those who drink it regularly.

11. Your Nose Knows

Researchers have found that lavender can improve sleep quality. Perhaps a reed diffuser or scented spray?

Some options:

Lavender Reed Diffuser $17
Bath and Body Works Lavender Wallflower $6.50
12. Help! 

If none of this works for you, you should seek professional assistance. You can visit for more information.

*Post adapted from this article.

H's Sleep Tricks:

1. Reading
Grab a book before bed. Even a few pages can help. It does wonders for your mind, and makes your eyes sleepy.

2. An oscillating fan
I enjoy the constant and settling noise. I actually find it difficult to sleep without one!

G's Sleep Tricks: 

1. Reflect
I try not to think about the next day but rather think about the day I just had.

2. Music
I often fall asleep to classical or jazz music or sometimes the This American Life podcast because Ira Glass' voice is the most soothing thing I have ever heard.

Do you have any sleep tricks? What works for you? What doesn't?