The quality of your sleep is closely related to the quality of your waking hours. Live happily and actively, and sleep will come more easily.
Here are some ways you can live an Sleep-Friendly Lifestyle
Take a walk after lunch, then read a book on the patio
Exercise cuts stress, and getting exercise in the sun can help keep your body’s circadian rhythms calibrated. You need about two hours of daily exposure to bright sunlight to help your body stay in sync. If you can’t get outdoors, consider buying a light box – a fixture that radiates light that mimics the brightness and wavelengths of natural sunlight.
Or try Tai Chi on the Lawn
In China, people rise at dawn to perform this series of ancient, gentle, dancelike movements in local parks. The sleep bonus: In a study Tai Chi beat out low impact exercise for improving sleep.
Schedule worry time during the day, in the kitchen!
If your mind is accustomed to revving up sleep-robbing anxiety in bed, retrain your brain by moving your worry session to another place and time. Try morning at the kitchen table – pour a mug of chamomile tea (a natural soother) with honey, grab a notebook and pen, and write out your worries. This will clear your mind and break the association between bed, night, and worry. If thoughts keep popping up, keep a notebook by your bed and write them down so you can think about them during the day.
Make herbal tea or water your drink of choice at lunchtime
Nix coffee as well as other caffeine sources like chocolate, colas and other soft drinks and black, green or white tea. Even small amounts of caffeine may keep you up late. Caffeine blocks a brain chemical called adenosine that helps us feel drowsy and fall asleep, and the effect may last longer the older you get. Instead sip some chamomile tea, which contains ingredients proven to calm the nervous system and, at bedtime, can induce sleep.
Instead of an evening cocktail, have a glass of wine with and early supper
Drinking before bed may help you fall asleep, but as the alcohol wears off, you’re likely to have light, easily broken sleep. If you enjoy a drink, have one with supper a few hours before bed.
Now that we talked about what to do during the day to set yourself up for a great sleep, here are some things to do right before bed to prepare yourself for a great sleep.
Soften the mood
An hour before bedtime, switch your phone to silence, turn off the television or computer, pull on your softest pajamas, and cue up your favorite relaxing sounds. The best music is the music that soothes you.
Try progressive relaxation
Sit in a comfortable chair with both feet on the floor or lie on the sofa or your bed. Inhale and exhale naturally. After a few minutes, systematically tighten a muscle group as you inhale, then relax it completely as you exhale. Progressively loosen and tighten both feet, your lower legs, and upper legs, then work your way up to your back, arms, neck, shoulders, and even your face. Then continue to breathe naturally feeling any remaining tension ebb away.
Soak in a hot bath
Immersing yourself in warm water an hour or two before bed helps blood vessels dilate so your body can release heat – part of the natural cooling down that proceeds sleep.
Enjoy a sleepy-time snack
Have a handful of walnuts, a banana, or a glass of milk- all rich sources of the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan. (Bananas also pack melatonin, the sleep hormone.) Drink a glass of water – but stay away from juice. In one study, people who drank juice just before bed became extra alert due to the high sugar content of their drinks and need an extra 20 to 30 minutes to fall asleep.
Take antacids right after dinner, not before bed
Antacids contain aluminum, which appears to interfere with sleep.
Give these a try right away, so you can start reaping the benefits of a Sleep-Friendly Lifestyle today!
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