It is a very fine balance that we ask our bodies to do daily. We ask the mind to wake up refreshed and the body recovered despite the rigors of yesterday and forecast of today’s stress. Rest is the “reboot” that is meant to erase all that and if it goes off the rails, so too does the recovery.
How to Stop the Sleep Stealers at the Source
Aside from the gripping novel that keeps you up until 4 am turning the pages, there are common (preventable) sleep stealers:
- Stress is the number one reason people say they lay awake at night
- Caffeine can take up to 20 hours to leave your system
- Indigestion and eating late-prevents the body from creating “reboot” hormones that do their work while you slumber
- Exercising late at night can keep you pumped when you should be in slow down mode.
5 Ways to Guarantee a Good Night’s Sleep
#1: Fight Stress – There are undoubtedly some things you can’t change and simply have to learn to live with. Dividing them into two columns and writing them all down before bed gets them out of your head.
Once the “Stress to forget” and “Stress to do” lists are done, set up a good sleep routine. Computers, TVs and Smartphones deliver stress not only because the information on them is endless, disturbing or distracting, but also because their flickering lights are stimulating in and of themselves. Turn all gadgets and off 2 to 3 hours before bed.
#2: Stop Sneaky Caffeine – Assuming that you go to bed around 10 or 11 pm, try to stop drinking caffeine by 2 or 3 pm. Cut back slowly from your usual last cup so withdrawal doesn’t get the better of you. It can take a long time to get used to less but your rest will thank you.
#3: Manipulate Meals – Give yourself at least 2 to 3 hours after eating before you expect your body to slumber.
#4: Smart Steps – If the only time you can get your exercise is at night, set a cut off time of 2 to 3 hours before bed. It is better to get exercise and risk a little sleep interference than not get any at all. Be sure to cool down and stretch or meditate for a much longer time than you would have to if you work out in the morning. It cools the body and sets the mind up for rest.
#5: Smart Snacking or Supplementing – Magnesium is the nutrient that helps muscles relax so giving the body what it needs when it needs to use it is a good idea. Evening snacks (2 to 3 hours before bed) should include foods like oats dates, nuts, figs, molasses, seeds, wheat germ. These foods are warm and comforting too!
Try this recipe for Sleep Nut Cookies that uses many of the above ingredients. Two of those and a glass of warm milk before bed and you are good! If you choose to take a supplement 100-250 mg of magnesium will suffice.
Sleeping tight isn’t just for children anymore and with just a little bit of tweaking, anyone can have it. Footed PJ’s optional.
Laugh, eat well and be inspired at www.myfriendinfood.com where Theresa shares her weekly meal solutions!