Friday, March 18, 2011
Simple Rules for a Great Night's Sleep
Having a great night's sleep is precious, especially when you have daily responsibilities with kids and/or work.
Maximizing your bedtime hours is key. Here are a few easy-to-follow tips published by Self Magazine. Remember that your sleep should be part of your top priorities. It allows you to be sharp in the morning, and ready for all other activities!
"Here's what to do before you actually turn off the lights:
6 Hours Before Bed..Cut out caffeine. Even if you don't get a big rush from caffeine the same way others do, it's best to skip that post-dinner espresso if you have to be up early (and alert) tomorrow.
4-6 Hours Before Bed...
No more alcohol!"Alcohol is a sedative and we often think that this will help us fall asleep, however, in the middle of the night, we begin to withdraw from alcohol and this can interrupt sleep," says Undevia.
2-3 Hours Before Bed...
No more exercise. Exercise stimulates us and can make it harder to fall asleep. Your blood is pumping, your heart rate is up and your body is generally in "go" mode rather than "slow" mode.
1-2 Hours Before Bed...
Have a glass of warm milk an hour before bed (the tryptophan is relaxing), then cut off fluids.
Turn off your BlackBerry and computer -- at this point, looking at work-related emails is counterproductive. You're too tired to do much about them, but they will amp up your brain and keep you wired.
Take a warm bath.
30 Minutes Before Bed...
Do something calming: Read a book, listen to music, meditate or simply get in bed and breathe deeply, or practice progressive muscle relaxation (contract your muscles, head to toe, then slowly relax them).
Adjust thermostat to 68 to 74 degrees, and turn off the lights and TV. Darkness triggers the release of melatonin, the hormone that induces sleep. Even if your eyes are closed, light from a TV screen or computer monitor gets through, so it's best to power off your computer completely if it's in your bedroom. If it's impossible to make your room completely dark, invest in an eye cover.
Can't fall asleep? If, after 30 minutes, you're still awake, don't stay in bed. Move to another room and engage in a relaxing activity (reading, listening to music, meditating) then return to bed. If you're still amped up, write down your thoughts, which can help quiet whatever is bouncing around in your brain."
Sources: Shine and Self