Health: Simple ways to ensure better sleep

Everyone’s sleep patterns are different. Health professionals recommend adults get 7-8 hours of sleep a day but for some of us clocking these hours may seem impossible. Here are a few tips to help you get those Zzz’s you need:

1. Power down: At least one hour before bed shut off your electronic devices. Checking your smartphone or reading on your tablet too close to bed can make it harder to fall asleep. These forms of cognitive stimulation make your mind race and result in a less restful slumber. Even if you work a job where you’re constantly “on call” it’s important to unplug for at least a few hours a day to unwind. And yes when I say turn it off I mean completely off! Even if you put devices on silent the glow from them passes through the retina and delays sleep inducing hormones.
Afraid to turn your phone off? Get a house phone or a second line for emergency purposes only. I have a little $30 Samsung phone that’s for family and emergencies only so when it’s bed time my main line goes off. It’s been two months since I’ve added the second line and I’ve already noticed an improvement in my quality of sleep.

2. Eat right: This may seem like a no-brainer but the better you eat the better you feel the better you sleep. Eating a well balanced diet helps keep blood sugar in normal range and prevents feeling sluggish. Think about it; when you eat crap you feel like crap. Make sure you eat throughout the day and get enough protein and complex carbs. Keep an eye on labels too. A lot of so called “healthy” foods are loaded with sugar and sodium for flavor and preserving. Just because its a protein bar with a little fit guy flexing on the wrapper doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Also make sure you stay hydrated. Fatigue can be a sign of dehydration so if you’re feeling sleepy mid day have a glass of water. You can’t go wrong with water, drink it until your pee turns clear!

3. Lights off: As mentioned earlier; light can delay sleep-inducing hormones. For those of us that work the night shift it can be hard to get some shut eye in the day. Look for thick black curtains to block out the sun. If you live in a congested area it might also be wise to invest in some noise canceling headphones. My sleep wile living in the city vs my sleep back home in the suburbs is immensely different.

4. Tryptophan: Big fancy word for a sleep promoting substance found in certain foods. Tryptophan-rich foods like milk, nuts, honey, eggs and bananas are perfect before bed snacks.

5. No booze before bed: Ever notice when you fall asleep after a few drinks you have crazy ass dreams? Although alcohol is a depressant it causes less restful sleep and nightmares. Try to balance out alcohol with water. For every shot you take at the bar chug a glass of water.



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