Losing sleep is certainly not something to be taken lightly. If lack of sleep tends to happen more often than not, our body is no longer able to function normally.
Research shows that lack of sleep affects your body's ability to lose weight, impair your concentration and even mimic the symptoms of impaired glucose tolerance (which can lead to diabetes and hypertension).
Your mood also suffers when you don't get enough sleep, causing you to become disoriented on the job, fatigued behind the wheel or irritated at home. More importantly, these mood swings can affect your relationships with others and even lead to depression.
There is good news, you can improve the quality and quantity of your sleep starting tonight. Here are six tips to get a good night's sleep.
Your Sleep EnvironmentCreate an environment that is just for sleeping. Avoid sitting in bed to pay your bills, do work, watch television, eat, talk on the phone or other distractions. Your mind will expect that the bedroom is for daytime activities. Use soft lighting, comfortable bedding and turning the clock away from your view.
Develop a RoutineSet a time to get in bed and stick with it. Eventually your body will get used to going to sleep at that time and it will begin to come naturally.
Limit Your Food and Beverages Before BedAs you lie down to sleep, acids in the stomach level out, your metabolism increases slightly to digest food, which can also raise your energy level. Stop eating at least three hours before your scheduled bedtime. If you must snack on something, keep it small, and avoid high-fat foods, which take longer to digest. Alcohol may be a depressant, but after its sedative effects wear off, your sleep patterns will suffer.
A Breathing ApproachFocus on your breathing will clear your mind and relax the body.
Know When and How to NapIf you are looking for some rest during the day, try to limit your nap to about 20 minutes. This will allow the body to rest mid-day and still be able to get to sleep at night.
Take Control of Your ThoughtsTry to decrease your brain activity before bed by writing down your thoughts in a journal and closing the book on the day. If thinking keeps you up at night, deal with those thoughts (pay the bill that you are worried about forgetting, make a to-do list, etc.), and come back to bed when you're ready to sleep.
Madeline Romeo is a Certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, and Child Birth Educator. She is a marathon runner and triathlete. She started as an Athletic Trainer for college athletes in 2000 and moved to coaching and personal training in 2006. Her motto: "We all need that person who can see our strengths and abilities, and can push us further than we can push ourselves." www.MobileWorkoutSD.com