26 Sep Get The Best Sleep Ever
What you do and what you eat has more of an effect on how you snooze than you may think. Here are a few simple strategies that can help you hit the sack, sleep deeply and feel more refreshed each morning.
Limit Tea and Coffee
If your goal is a great night sleep, caffeine before bedtime is a huge no-no! Both coffee and tea (black or green) have substantial caffeine. A nice exception is herbal teas which often are naturally caffeine-free. Coffee and tea are also diarrhetic, which encourages an unfortunate trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Be careful with chocolate too close to bedtime as it also contains caffeine. Finally, note that it can take up to 10 hours for the body to clear all traces of caffeine from your bloodstream.
Increase Your Potassium
This vital nutrient calms the nervous system down. A deficiency in potassium can cause sleep disturbances. Potassium keeps the pulse rate down. It relaxes and lowers blood pressure naturally. Eating a diet loaded with processed foods and refined carbohydrates pulls this nutrient straight out of the body.
Seek to add potassium-rich foods into your evening meal. Here are few delicious examples; avocado, lima beans, winter squash, sweet potato with skins, prunes, coconut water, brussel sprouts, banana, cantaloupe, beets, apricots, raisins, yogurt, dried figs, and pumpkin seeds.
Eliminate Processed Foods and Carbs
Starting your day by eating a carbohydrate breakfast like pancakes, syrup and orange juice is not a good idea. This unhealthy food turns into glucose skyrocketing your blood sugar, releasing a surge of insulin. Eating processed food always sets up a cycle to crave sugar and repeat itself. If you eat a processed food lunch and an evening meal of perhaps pasta, and garlic bread, your body will demand a sugar fix smack in the middle of your deep sleep cycle awakening you. Most people who have a pattern of eating like this routinely awaken around 2 or 3 a.m.
To remedy this broken pattern, be sure you have about 30 percent protein, 30 percent healthy fats and 40 percent carbohydrates (in the form of vegetables and some fruit) at every meal. Eating nourishing and satiating food will assist you with deeper sleep.
Lower Cortisol and Stress
Stress produces cortisol in your body. Cortisol should be at its highest level in the morning when you awaken. It should be at its lowest level in the middle of the night during your deepest most restful sleep. Fragmentation of your sleep cycle can occur if stress is present before bedtime, releasing a surge of cortisol. By reducing your mental stress you will reduce the release of this awakening hormone.
Listening to soothing music, enjoying a lighthearted podcast or reading a novel are all helpful ideas to relax your mind. Prayer and meditation are also beneficial. These can be very effective approaches to supporting sleep.
Turn Down The Temperature
Humans get the best sleep in a cooler environment. Somewhere between 68-69 degrees seems to encourage a restful night sleep. You will naturally awaken if you are too hot and begin to sweat. So, turn down the temperature and snuggle under a soft warm blanket.
Sleeping with pets can also discourage a restful night sleep. If they share your bed they can often awaken you by shifting about during the night. They also give off body heat causing you to become too warm. If this is true for you, consider giving your furry friend his very own designated bed.
Stay Away From Bright Lights
Our internal body clock and circadian rhythms are real. Before retiring to bed consider staying away from bright lights. Begin turning down lamp lights, getting off computers and smartphones a few hours before bedtime. You might even consider wearing blue-blocker glasses if you absolutely must be on the phone or computer.
It’s a good idea to darken the room in which you sleep even removing night-lights. Light inhibits the secretion of melatonin. This hormone naturally promotes a sweet sleep. Joyce Walsleben, PhD said, “Light can be detected through your eyelids—and your brain won’t produce melatonin if it’s confused between night and day.” Using a contoured eye sleep mask is beneficial.
Two Supplements That Assist Sleep
Melatonin guides your body’s sleep-wake cycle. When in play, it signals your brain that it’s time to sleep. Melatonin levels should naturally rise in the evening and fall in the morning. If you aren’t sleeping well, this can be taken at bedtime to improve your overall sleep quality.
Magnesium is a mineral involved in hundreds of processes within your body. It helps quiet your mind and soul, making it easier for you to fall asleep. Studies show that magnesium’s relaxing effect may be partly due to its ability to regulate the production of melatonin.
Keep in mind that high-quality sleep is just as vital for overall health as eating an organic nutritionally dense diet and exercising regularly. By the way, rest well tonight and sweet dreams!
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National Sleep Foundations: Eat to Sleep Better in the New Year
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Livestrong: How Long Does the Caffeine from Coffee Stay in Your System? By Nina Bahadur Updated September 9, 2019