Look, we have all heard it a million times “Get more sleep!” Yet most of us just do not. American daily life is increasingly becoming more and more demanding, though sadly, the demands are being supplied by getting less and less essential Zs. So, how do we correct this problem, have we forgotten how important it is to sleep, or is it that we are so dialed into our daily lives that we actually must deal with it? These thought provoking questions are grounds for serious debate, however, presented here are five simple tips that will help, at least somewhat, to get one more sleep naturally.
Where You Do the Deed
It is of the utmost importance that you have a room that is only for sleeping and maybe one other activity. Your brain needs to associate this place with sleep as opposed to work, television, drama, and all other distractions. It is like a sanctuary where your body can go and retire from the world on a nightly basis. It should be silent, dark, but with natural lighting, and comfortable.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that adults should get at least 150 minutes of exercise described as moderate-intensity per week. The break down for this is about 20 to 60 minutes of what one might consider to be a vigorous workout three days per week or instead, 30 to 60 minutes of a moderate intensity workout five days out of the week. A good exercise session can leave you feeling tired and ready to pack it in. If you schedule your exercise right around your bed time, you will be in the perfect position for a good night’s rest.
Respect Your Schedule As Well As Your Body’s
The human body operates on a schedule called the Circadian Rhythm. This rhythm controls, among many other things, the sleep schedule for the human body. When light is received through the eye, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) sends signals to produce different hormones such as cortisol and raise one’s body temperature. The SCN will then respond to light by actually delaying the release of other hormones such as melatonin, which is associated with the onset of sleep and is produced when one’s eyes make a signal to the SCN that it is currently dark. Melatonin levels then rise during the evening and proceed to stay raised throughout the entire night, in order to best promote sleep. As you can see, your body has a strict schedule which it adheres to and it would be in your best interest to respect it, as well as your own.
Properly Hydrate and Use When Needed
One should always strive for good hydration. A good rule of thumb is to consume a minimum of four 20 ounce glasses of water per day. I personally always try to drink at least 1 gallon per day. Water keeps nutrients and other biochemical systems arriving on schedule. A good trick to help with sleep is to drink a melatonin rich beverage, such as milk, closer to bed time. This will assist in the production of your body’s natural hormone melatonin, which as we mentioned before, relaxes the body and induces sleep.
Take a Healthy Diet
A good diet is important no matter what the subject of health is at hand. In regards to rest, there are certain foods that can help. As was mentioned before, melatonin is the hormone associated with the onset of sleep. A couple of foods rich in melatonin are oats, rice, milk and other dairy products, and even wine. These foods have documented evidence of melatonin in them. They alone will not induce rest, but they do contain the important nutrients to a good night’s sleep. Therefore, they are worth thinking about adding into your diet.
In closing, there are many other pointers, methods, tips, and tricks out there which aim to help you get more sleep in today’s world. The ones shared here were just a few of the plenty available. Read over them, study them, take what you can from them and you might just benefit from a good night of rest.
By Zohan James
Photo by frankieleon – Flickr License