Sleep. For some of us, it can be painfully elusive.
The problem is that the more we chase sleep, the harder it can be to catch a few ZZZs.
It’s because lack of sleep stresses our bodies, and stress can interfere with falling asleep or staying asleep.
It’s a frustrating cycle, to say the least.
Regardless of whether you experience frequent bouts of insomnia or an occasional toss-and-turn night, there is hope.
Here are three of our best tips for getting the restorative sleep you need to thrive.
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
For most adults, 6-8 hours of sleep is optimal. According to the National Sleep Foundation, so many of us suffer from sleep debt that we’ve forgotten what it feels like to be well rested.
The National Sleep Foundation offers some insights to determine if you’re sleep deprived. Ask yourself these questions:
• Do you need caffeine to get you going and to keep you going during the day?
• Are you drowsy while driving?
• Do you need nine or more hours of sleep to feel refreshed?
If you nodded in agreement to any of the questions listed above, it’s likely you’re not getting quality sleep.
Tips for a Good Night’s Rest
Falling asleep or staying asleep can be accomplished by making some simple lifestyle changes. Here are three effective strategies for busting through your sleep debt.
Exercise. No, you don’t necessarily have to be a workout warrior, but you do have to get moving.
Try going for a brisk walk for 20-30 minutes at least three times a week. For menopausal women, exercising a minimum of three and-a-half hours a week will dramatically improve their quality of sleep.
It’s important, however, to strategically schedule your workouts. Early morning workouts are optimal for your circadian rhythm, while exercising too close to bedtime may actually stimulate you and keep you awake.
Think of your circadian rhythm as your body’s time cue. Because sunlight may enhance melatonin production – the hormone that regulates your sleep and wake cycles – it’s a good idea to absorb as much natural sunlight as possible.
If you can’t get out in the sun, arrange your office so that your body can benefit from the sun’s rays as you work. Studies have shown that people who work in sun-lit offices often experience more restful sleep than their co-workers who are hidden away from the sun’s rays.
Eat a balanced diet. You’ll want to eat a balanced diet to promote healthy sleep patterns. Cut down on caffeine consumption, particularly close to bedtime.
Dr. Richard DiCenso suggests that you follow a diet similar to the Mediterranean Diet. It’s important to consume meals with a good mix of fluids, antioxidants, and free radical scavengers (such as leafy, nutrient-dense greens and deep-colored berries).
Take time to wind down. Regardless of how busy your life may get during the day, taking as little as 3-5 minutes at night – before bedtime – to embrace solitude and quiet can go a long way toward falling asleep.
Pray. Meditate. Contemplate. Do what helps you to synchronize your body with your circadian rhythms and to drain away the stress. Over time, this quiet time will be your body’s signal that rest is on its way.
As we have mentioned before, these tips can provide you with a short-term solution that can help you fall asleep but if you are suffering from pro-longed bouts of insomnia there is likely something much deeper going on. We have discovered a wonderful technique that can help to heal deeper rooted issues that may be causing your insomnia and once you have mastered it, you will be able to fall asleep in 15 minutes or less each and every night.
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