Endless experts, studies, research, and articles exist in regards to what are indeed the magical ingredients for a night of sound, restful sleep.
And yet, we still find ourselves twisting and turning night after night in frustration. One of the most common life complaints is failure to get a complete night of sleep.
Have you ever tried on a “one size fits all” garment? If you fall in the average category of height, weight, and size, then at best, the piece fits you OK. If you stray from “average size,” like most of us do, you know that suddenly this one size doesn’t come anywhere close to fitting you, much less all of us.
On the other hand, have you ever had a piece of clothing altered just for you by a talented seamstress? Regardless of your unique height, weight, or size, this piece fits you as if it were made for you, because, well, it almost was.
Perhaps that is how we should begin to approach the research and studies out there in regards to sleep.
We need to examine our positive and negative choices leading up to bedtime, and handpick through the “these sleep solution fit all” choices and make our own altered-to-fit-our-life list that will accentuate our own personalities.
According to Taylor Kubota’s “Do You Have Insomnia” published in Men’s Journal, “Insomnia has a specific definition, which has been developed fairly recently — an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, or problems waking up too early, that occur for at least three nights a week for three months and affect daytime performance.”
In this Four Part Series, DreamFit examines many factors and solutions in sleeping restfully through the night and in keeping the following day performing the way it should. We look at daytime activities, nighttime activities, food and drink choices, and quick solutions for sleeping through the night. Our hope is that you can examine all of the suggestions while examining what it is that you feel may be hindering you personally from sleeping restfully and hand select a few of these options and design a beautiful night’s sleep made just for you.
So how do I make sure that the bright hours leading up to the evening will usher in the moon and a good night’s rest?
1. Finish all Forms of Extended Cardio Exercise Three Hours Prior to Bedtime.
Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern School of Medicine director Dr. Phyllis Zee came up with some simple “easy fixes” that are research supported and suggests that extended strenuous cardio prohibits falling asleep.
Yes, we know, any exercise at any time is better than nothing, but remember: these are common sense approaches, so if you are struggling with sleep, plan accordingly.
2. Caffeine Intake Should Be Limited Even During the Day.
According to the results of “The Effects of Coffee Consumption on Sleep and Melatonin Secretion” study, “We found that drinking regular caffeinated coffee, compared to decaffeinated coffee, caused a decrease in the total amount of sleep and quality of sleep, and an increase in the length of time of sleep induction. Caffeinated coffee caused a decrease in 6-SMT excretion throughout the following night. “
So, while it seems natural to assume that adding caffeine to your evening routine will cause a disruption in our sleep, none of us who love coffee will be thrilled to realize that all caffeine makes an impact regardless of the time of consumption.
3. Avoid Naps.
The Health at Harvard Journal acknowledges that sometimes a nap is inevitable. But the literature is clear: “Avoid naps unless it’s absolutely necessary. Even then, restrict your nap to 15 to 20 minutes in the early afternoon.”
4. Throughout the Day, Increase Fiber and Decrease Sugar and Saturated Fat.
While most of us recognize the importance of this suggestion for better health, we probably didn’t realize that this healthy habit would help our sleep as well.According to Carmen Chai’s What You Should Be Eating for a Good Night’s Sleep, “Doctors at Columbia University Medical Center discovered that when people ate more fiber, they fell into a deeper sleep. On the other hand, saturated fat interrupted a person’s slumber, and a higher sugar intake was tied to a more restless night. “
When we have a difficult night sleeping, it is difficult to think of anything else the next day. We now realize that by thinking about the great night of sleep we are anticipating during the day, we can now proactively prepare for a restful evening ahead.
Next, we will look at EVENING activities to promote sleep! Stay Tuned!