Have you ever laid in bed, tossing and turning, only getting frustrated by your inability to fall asleep? When you go to bed with a full day on your mind and every little thing you forgot to do suddenly comes to mind, do this breathing technique to ease your stress levels, relax your mind and body and put you on the fast track to a good nights sleep:
Typically, if we wake up in the middle of the night, we chalk it up as a ‘bad nights sleep’, but apparently, it may be our bodies way of fighting for it’s natural sleep cycle. Confused? Take a look at the video below to see the history of sleep and how waking up after four hours for a bit was totally normal and actually stimulated creativity:
Do you cringe at the thought of opening your curtains in the morning to let the bright sunshine in after 5 alarms (because you and the ‘snooze’ button are well acquainted)? Well, good news for you because there is a way to retrain your body to be a morning person… Your body and your boss will be thankful because you will have time for a good breakfast in the morning and you will also start arriving to work on time if you follow these simple steps to becoming a morning person:
Lower Your Body Temperature at Night
“To fall asleep and get into deep sleep, you have to reach your daytime low body temperature,” says Spencer. To get there, move your workout to earlier in the day so it doesn’t interfere with bedtime, limit hot showers at night, and drop your apartment’s temp by a few degrees, she says. The cozy duvet on your bed will be calling your name in no time.
Limit Your Nighttime Exposure to Light
Your internal clock is controlled by light. “Whether it’s TVs or screens, all of those devices that shine light at our eyes are ‘awake-promoting’ and not ‘sleep-promoting,’” says Spencer. Help your clock start to shift naturally by cutting your exposure an hour before bedtime. Not ready to kick your Netflix-in-bed habit? Turning your iPad light to low could help you catch Zzz’s more quickly after the credits roll.
You don’t need to shut yourself off from the outside world, but it’s a good habit to stay calm as it gets late. That means avoiding stressful work e-mails if they can wait until the morning, horror movies, and intense novels that keep your mind spinning. “All of those things just cause mental stimulation that you need to have turned off well enough before bedtime,” says Spencer. Sorry, Girl on the Train. You’re strictly a commute-only read.
Reach for Melatonin as a Last Resort
In the beginning of your efforts to become a morning person, a dose of melatonin can help. “Taking it a little before you want to start falling asleep helps give you a little extra boost to feel sleepy,” says Spencer. Once you’re stable, lay off, though. Eventually, you want to rely on your body’s natural melatonin production rather than the pill form.
Wake Up to Morning Light
Getting to sleep is only half the battle. “Helping yourself wake up is just as important as helping yourself fall asleep,” says Spencer. Immediately open your curtains or head outside to catch some early rays. As a bonus, early to rise likely means early to bed that night. “If you’re able to alert yourself and wake up at an earlier hour, you’re going to be more prepared to go to bed at an earlier time,” says Spencer. And that means you’ll be even closer to tricking your internal clock into its new pattern.
There’s nothing worse than spending the night tossing and turning getting no relief, but waking up groggy from sleep medicine is not pleasurable either… So how does one get a solid nights sleep? Check out these five foods that will do the job better than those sheep you’ve been counting:
Turkey, not just for Thanksgiving anymore! The reason behind your epic after-Thanksgiving nap is also the secret to helping you sleep better. Tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey, is known to help calm you down and naturally get you to sleep.
Not feeling the meat munchies? Try roasted pumpkin seeds (although be careful which kind you buy, as many cheap brands are roasted in rancid oils and soaked in salt).
This herbal drink lacks the caffeine found in traditional teas, and it has a calming effect on the body. Also, a warm liquid before bed can make you sleepy by raising body temperature.
High-fiber garbanzo beans are rich in vitamin B6, which your body uses to produce serenity-boosting serotonin. Try adding garbanzo beans to salads, soups, and stews when you need sleep.
Halibut is packed with two building blocks for better sleep: tryptophan and vitamin B6, which has a mild flavor and meaty texture that appeals to finicky seafood eaters. Other foods high in tryptophan include poultry, beef, soybeans, milk, cheese, yogurt, nuts, and eggs.
The carbohydrates in nonfat popcorn help bring the amino acid tryptophan into your brain, where it’s used to make a sleep-inducing neurotransmitter called serotonin. Since eating a heavy meal within two hours of bedtime can keep you awake, low-calorie popcorn (just 93 calories in three cups popped) is a great late-night snack. Choose plain, fat-free popcorn and jazz it up with some curry powder.
Waking up in the morning can be one of the most difficult things you face all day: You vs. The Alarm… but lucky for you, this video will show you multiple ways you can defeat that obnoxious, loud device and really show it whose boss, because your waking up on the right side of the bed tomorrow!
There are a lot of things that hang on a good nights rest; your mood the next day, productivity level, diet, and the list goes on. Below are 10 hacks to get you a better night’s sleep so you can rock your week without the dreaded exhausting shadow that lingers:
Moderate Your Alcohol Intake
A nightcap might make you drowsy, but it probably won’t improve your sleep. Alcohol is an anesthetic that depresses your central nervous system, says Rafael Pelayo, MD, a clinical professor at Stanford’s sleep center. As the sedative wears off, you’re more likely to wake up in the middle of the night and then sleep fitfully. A small 2011 study found that when participants went to bed drunk (for some that is having the equivalent of three drinks in an hour), they had less REM sleep. They also woke frequently during the night, an effect that was more pronounced in women than in men. Since it takes at least an hour for your body to metabolize a standard drink, Pelayo suggests waiting one hour per drink before heading to bed. “Going to sleep sober is a healthier choice than nodding off with a buzz,” Pelayo says. “You might sleep less, but the sleep you get will be far better.”
Cognitive? Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia.
The best-kept secret in sleep medicine isn’t some wonder drug, but a pill-free treatment called cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), which targets the thoughts and behaviors that screw up your slumber (the panicky feeling of being wide awake at 3 A.M., the hours of tossing and turning). According to recent research, CBT-I can be stunningly effective—after at least three sessions, 86 percent of insomniacs showed significant improvement in their sleep. However, there’s one big challenge: About 60 million Americans suffer from insomnia, but there are only a few hundred CBT-I practitioners.
To help bridge the gap, a new app calledSleepRate delivers the therapy to your iPhone. The app works with a heart rate monitor, logging your heartbeats as you sleep, while your phone records ambient sounds, such as a snoring spouse or barking dogs. Once the app collects data for five nights of a nine-night stretch, it generates a personalized plan based on science from Stanford University. The suggestions, which can take up to eight weeks to fully implement, might surprise you. If you normally go to bed by 9, for instance, “we could recommend that you don’t get into bed until two to three hours later,” says Britney Blair, who is board certified in behavioral sleep medicine. “If you have trouble falling asleep, we want you to get in bed only when you’re good and sleepy. When patients feel their sleep improving, I often get an ‘Oh, my God!’ response because they can’t believe it’s actually working.”
Exercise. Anytime, Anywhere
For years we’ve been told that exercise improves sleep unless you work out close to bedtime, in which case it can have the opposite effect. But according to recent research, fitness can be great whenever. We asked Kelly Glazer Baron, PhD, an assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University, to explain.
Q: I can really exercise any time of day? A: When insomniacs did 30 minutes of exercise as late as 7 p.m. three times per week, we found that it actually improved their sleep. A separate poll also found that working out within four hours of bedtime won’t keep most people up.
Q: So will it cure my insomnia? A: The subjects in our experiment slept 45 minutes longer and reported having higher-quality sleep. But more research needs to be done to determine how much exercise is needed to maintain those effects.
Q: When can i expect to see results? A: In about two to four months. We don’t know why it takes that long; it could be due to improvements in mood, which take time to have a lasting effect on your sleep patterns.
Imagine You Slept Better Than You Did
Telling yourself you got a good night’s rest may make a difference in how you think and feel: In a study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, scientists told one group of subjects that they had logged an above-average amount of REM sleep, while a second group was told they didn’t get enough. Then everyone was given a test that measured their cognitive function. The above-average sleepers performed better than those told they’d slept poorly. “Simply hearing that you had high-quality sleep may trigger automatic responses, like heightened energy, that your brain has come to associate with being well rested,” says study coauthor Kristi Erdal, PhD.
The New Jet Lag Cure.
Tired of feeling like a zombie the first few days in a new time zone? Entrain, a recently launched app developed by mathematicians at the University of Michigan, can help speed up the recovery process. The free app focuses on light, the most important factor when it comes to resetting your circadian clock. “When people travel, they often want to immediately shift their sleep schedule to the new time zone, but for some trips, that can actually make things worse,” says Olivia Walch, one of the app’s creators. “You can adjust fastest by exposing yourself to light at times of day that aren’t always intuitive. We may, for example, recommend staying in the dark until 10 a.m., even if you wake up at 6. When curing jet lag, sleep matters, but light matters more.”
Lullabies Aren’t Just For Babies.
Before you hit the sack, cue up a soothing playlist. Research in the International Journal of Nursing Studies found that when insomniacs listened to relaxing music for 45 minutes prior to bedtime, they spent more time in REM sleep.
Myth: The Early Bird Gets The Worm.
At least, not always. When you rise before dawn to finish a last-minute task, you may be more likely to experience microsleeps—temporary moments of nodding off that can last up to 30 seconds. “Your body follows its own circadian rhythms and wants to keep sleeping,” says Michael Twery, PhD, a sleep expert at the National Institutes of Health. Try to complete your work before you turn in (even if it’s past your normal bedtime). And if possible, Twery advises, plan ahead for the lost sleep with a nap during the day.
There’s nothing worse than having a full busy day after a terrible night’s sleep. All you want to do is stay in bed and have a lazy day to catch up on the lost Zzz’s…Unfortunately that isn’t always an option. Next time you spend half the night tossing and turning remember these four strategies to help you rock your next day despite your bad night:
Avoid ups and downs.
Try to stay away from energy spikes caused by excessive caffeine, energy drinks, or sugary foods. Although consuming these might temporarily increase our energy, doing so inevitably triggers a rebound of sleepiness. Unless it’s essential, try to avoid going down for a nap. Napping will likely draw you into deeper stages of sleep, leaving you with sleep “drunkenness” and potentially disrupting your circadian rhythms. And avoid using alcohol to slow down before bed. It can interfere with the quality of our sleep and dreams.
Light up your day.
Get exposed to bright light for about 30 minutes as soon as possible after rising. Morning light energizes us and improves our mood by boosting serotonin levels. It also resets our circadian clock, contributing to better sleep in the future. Even on a cloudy day, it’s significantly brighter outdoors than in a well-lit room. If you can’t get out, brighten your indoor space as much as possible by allowing light through windows and turning on electric lights.
Follow your usual routine.
Get up and out of bed at your typical rising time and set your sights on adhering to a normal schedule. Prepare for your day as you usually do, get some gentle exercise, and have regular, healthful and light meals. A cup or two of green tea might be helpful. It has only one-fifth the caffeine of a cup of brewed coffee and also contains L-theanine, a naturally soothing compound. And make sure to stay hydrated.
Finishing your day.
Take time to wind down and relax in the evening. Eat a light dinner and stick to your regular bedtime. Of course, your chances of sleeping better the night after are improved because absence does, indeed, make the heart grow fonder. Let this heightened awareness of sleep’s value strengthen your resolve about systematically doing all you can to heal your sleep. Promise yourself that you will make healthy sleep a priority.
Original Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rubin-naiman-phd/10-strategies-for-managing-the-day-after-a-bad-nights-sleep_b_8622662.html?cps=gravity_7027_3314442403081410824
Considering you spend about ⅓ of your life asleep, you might as well learn how to master the perfect night’s sleep. This can also be easier said than done as stress, work, kids, etc. can interrupt our intention of a good night’s sleep… so take note of the 5 exercises that can bring you back to your intention Zzz…
Howdy Horse Stance
The horse stance is a Qigong exercise where you stand, feet a bit wider than shoulder width, soften your knees, and drop your tailbone down until your butt is parallel to the ground. Next, reach your hands above your head as you inhale, then slowly lower your hands to your stomach as you exhale. The aim of this exercise is to connect your body’s energy (chi) with the earth, and to center your mind. Repeat the arms movement and inhale/exhale ten times, and your mind should be clear and relaxed.
Control Your Breath
A hectic lifestyle means your mind and body are constantly on the go. Before you go to bed, though, it is helpful to slow everything down. One of the best methods is to practice some breathing exercises. The simplest: sit cross-legged (or in any position that’s comfortable) on a soft surface like a yoga mat, inhale deeply for 5 to 7 seconds, hold the breath for an equal amount of time, then exhale for as long as you can. By the time you’ve finished repeating this for 10 rounds, you should feel a lot calmer, and hopefully, a lot sleepier.
Massage Your Feet
Your feet are the main point of contact with the earth, and over the course of a day, they can take a heck of a beating. Rubbing them not only relaxes those tiny, overused little muscles, but also slows your nervous system and stimulates your internal organs, explains Angi McClure, a licensed massage therapist, fitness instructor, and founder of MYMA Movement. McClure says to especially focus on an acupuncture point in the center of the foot, just below the knuckles, where, when pressure is applied, will calm you down like nothing else.
Feel Your Forearms
Whether it’s typing all day at a computer, carrying heavy bags, or lifting weights in the gym, your forearms are constantly being used throughout the day. “They tend to hold a lot of tension, and [massaging them] can resonate not only in the neck, but also emotionally in the head,” says McClure.
One would assume that our overbearing obsession with Netflix before we fall asleep or the invisible super glue that binds our hands with our smartphones would be the culprit of a sleepless night; but a new study found the devious theft of the majority of people’s sleep around the world are stressful thoughts about money and work.
“With the help of research firm KJT Group, Philips conducted a survey titled “Sleep: A Global Perspective” to help gain insight into the main sleep disturbances affecting people worldwide. They found that worrisome thoughts about work and economic or financial issues are the top two stressors keeping people awake at night. Speaking with almost 8,000 people across 10 countries, the research team gathered information regarding participants’ sleep times, wake times, daily routines, sleeping environments and perceptions of their work-life balance to determine the greatest obstacles in the way of developing healthier sleep habits.
There is no question whether people believe sleep is important. Ninety-six percent of respondents said sleep is valuable to them, and sleep proved the most valuable of the 12 measured factors influencing a person’s overall health and well-being. However, money and financial SECURITY ranked a close second, and 28 percent said economic and financial stress was their most common sleep disrupter, followed by work stress at 25 percent.
“Our report indicates how psychological factors can impact sleep, and how those factors can change depending on the times in which we live,” Mark Aloia, Ph.D., the senior director of global clinical research for Philips, said in a statement. “Combating stress is critical to a good night’s sleep, but the toughest part for people is often just getting motivated to make changes.”
For more information regarding sleep deprivation, visit: