Your overall health relies heavily on the amount of sleep you’re getting. Not getting enough sleep has been linked to weight gain, increased stress, depression, and even decreased lifespan. Read on for some quick and easy tips for increasing your zzz’s.
There are a variety of foods that can improve how quickly you fall asleep, and how long you are able to stay asleep. Walnuts are a great source of tryptophan, which is a sleep-enhancing amino acid. Almonds are rich in magnesium, which is necessary for quality sleep. The calcium in dairy products such as milk and cheese aids the brain’s use of tryptophan to create sleep-triggering melatonin. Fish such as tuna and salmon are high in vitamin B6, which the body requires to make melatonin and serotonin. Cherries, especially tart ones, are natural boosters of melatonin levels. Finally, sipping on some chamomile tea can increase glycine, which relaxes nerves and muscles.
A dab of lavender oil on wrists and temples can be relaxing, and when repeated, can serve as a signal to the brain to get ready to sleep. The smell is also found to bring a sense of calmness. A few deep breathing exercises can also help clear your mind after a long, busy day. If you have difficulty relaxing before bed, try progressive muscle relaxation. Beginning at your toes, tense for 7 seconds and then relax. Do this to all your muscles groups moving up to your forehead. Ingraining these helpful habits into your routines before bed can help deliver you a restful night’s sleep.
The room and environment that you sleep in largely impacts the quality of sleep that you receive. Sleeping in a dark room helps to trigger your brain to sleep. Additionally, white noise will help to block out city noises or other sounds that may disturb your rest. The optimal temperature for sleeping ranges from 65-72 degrees, so that you can avoid waking up due to overheating or being too cold.
Most of us need a cup of coffee (or three) in the morning to get ourselves going. Avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and evening as its effects can make it harder for you to fall asleep. Studies have found that people who exercise sleep better. Aim for working out several times a week. Additionally, getting yourself on a sleep schedule is important. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day (including weekends). While afternoon naps can be a quick pick-me-up, try to keep them to 20 minutes so you don’t disturb your schedule too much. Additionally, avoid napping in the late afternoon and evening to avoid trouble falling asleep when it comes time to go to bed. Finally, limit your screen time an hour before bed. Opt for a book instead to help your brain wind down for the night.
These tips and tricks can help you get the most rest possible. Everyone is different, so try them out and see what works best for you. Sleep serves as a “reset” for our bodies and plays a role in nearly every aspect of our lives. By improving the amount and quality of sleep you receive each night, you will greatly improve your health.
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