In Nutrition

Five Tips To A Good Night Tonight

There’s no shortage of advice pointing you to get more pillow time. In my own fitness book I dedicate and entire chapter to it, pull in the Sleep Doctor (Michael Breus), and ask you to dedicate a week to doing some sleep homework. What if you’re in an emergency situation and you don’t have the week to lounge around?

You’re in the countdown to the end of the year both at home and work, piles of lists to check twice and you’re beginning to dread going to bed because you won’t be able to fall asleep. Maybe that’s not you at all. You wonder when it gets dark (about 4:45 around these parts right now) if it’s too soon to go to bed. Then you wonder when you wake up at 2:30 if its too early to get up.

Who hasn’t been there? 

So here are five small secrets that just may help you get some shut-eye if you make some changes over the next few days.

1. Be Like a Bear and Hibernate. Turn the temperature way down in your bedroom. Experts recommend 65-68 F. I would suggest even lower. (The last few nights up here in the mountains my bedroom has been 61: goodnight!) Get some warm comforters and pajamas so you’re ready. When the temperature drops, so does your body temperature and it’s a natural signal to sleep.

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2. Manipulate Your Temperature.Turning down the thermostat is just one option. Getting your body temperature to drop before you want to call it lights out is another way to boost the likelihood you’ll fall into restful sleep. Take a warm bath or shower about 90 minutes before bed. That will elevate your temperature. What goes up, of course, must come down. Not only will your muscles relax with the heat from the shower or bath but you’ll be ready for bed right on cue.

3. Supplement Your Sleep. If you’re already leery of this one, I understand. Magnesium is one of those micronutrients we don’t hear a lot about until you complain of headaches, muscles aches, or sleep disturbances, however. The amount in a multi usually isn’t up to par with what docs recommend. Many women 50 and over who are challenged with sleep benefit from a magnesium supplement taken with the evening meal 250-600mg can be helpful. Another way to get magnesium in is with oil rubbed on the bottoms of your feet. If you’re opting for that bath mentioned in #2 above, soak in Epsom Salts. It’s safe and non-toxic for anyone. If you’re already getting all the magnesium you need, you will simply eliminate it.

4. Eat lighter. Eat light at night and you may encourage yourself to begin a whole new better diet that starts with breakfast. Yet, that’s not the reason. When you eat light and allow at least 2 hours after your evening meal before bed, you’ll sleep better with your body not digesting. Sleep may be restful but your body is at work restoring and repairing a lot of things and you help it not have to compete by having digestion done for the evening.

5. Boost Your Melatonin Morning and Night. First thing in the morning you want to get sunlight for about 15 minutes. While that makes sense, that with the light on you’ll be on, it’s also about turning up your melatonin production so you’ll have it to sleep better at night. Melatonin is the sleep hormone that we produce less of as we age. If you have to get up when it’s still dark, turn on all the lights in the rooms where you’ll be or consider investing in a light box that mimics natural sunlight. You can also consider taking a melatonin supplement. Three to six milligrams about 90 minutes (while your bathing!) before you need to turn out the lights.

Try them! Stick to it for a week at least. Better yet, try this all month, make it all a part of your routine.

Sweet Dreams!

Write a quick comment below about your biggest sleep challenge. Falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking way too early plague you? Dealing with a pet or snoring? (I have some simple advice for that one).


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