Tossing and turning too much at night? Not only can lack of quality sleep make you feel grumpy and sluggish the next day, but chronic lack of sleep has been linked to serious health problems such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. It can even shorten your life expectancy.
Wondering how to improve the quality of your sleep? Keep reading for some ideas.
Can body temperature affect sleep?
Think about your toes for a minute. Body temperature is key in the wake-sleep cycle. If your feet are cold, your body might be expending a lot of energy trying to heat them up – and that’s not going to be very relaxing. When the blood vessels in the hands and feet open up, heat is distributed throughout the body. A consistent body temperature is optimal for a good night’s sleep. Warming up the hands and feet causes the blood vessels to dilate and heat to be distributed throughout your body. This lets the brain know that the body is at a consistent temperature and that it’s OK to relax and get some sleep now.
Cover your tootsies in some soft, comfy socks. You might want to try athletic socks, because they won’t bunch up and roll off your feet. If you don’t like the feeling of socks on your feet, try placing a heating pad or an extra blanket over the foot of your bed.
What’s that smell?
Smell: No other sense is so intensely wired to your brain’s memory and emotion centers. Your other senses are filtered through another region of the brain, the thalamus, before being passed along to their destination in the brain. But your sense of smell bypasses the thalamus and goes directly to your brain’s memory and emotion centers. This direct route could get to the heart of the matter, so to speak, in helping you get better sleep.
Stress and anxiety are often cited as major reasons people have trouble getting to sleep. Aromatherapists say that smell can help relieve this stress and anxiety. Some essential oils to try are lavender, vanilla, rose, geranium, jasmine, and citrus. You can put essential oils in an oil diffuser or add some to your bathwater. Experiment with some scents and see if they make you feel more relaxed.
What time is it?
Stop counting the hours: You look at the clock and think, “If I fall asleep now, I can still get 6 hours.” An hour later, you look at the clock and think, “If I fall asleep now, I can still get 5 hours.” Stop watching the clock! The stress of counting down the time isn’t going to help you relax. If you can’t stop looking, turn the clock around or cover it with a towel.
Have a snack…
Carbs can help you get to sleep. Carbs boost tryptophan, an amino acid that helps your body produce melatonin. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that helps regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycles. Carbohydrates also help lower cortisol, the stress hormone, making us feel more relaxed.
Some experts advise eating carbs 4 hours before bedtime. Others say that right before bed is fine too. Experiment and see what works best for you. Try a small bowl of multigrain cereal with milk, a few whole-grain crackers with cheese, or half a cup of rice.
… but not a big snack
But don’t eat too much too close to bedtime! Eating a heavy meal before bedtime can keep you awake. You feel full and uncomfortable, and you could develop gas or heartburn.
Time for a nightcap? No
Avoid the temptation to have a few drinks before bed. Alcohol consumption before bedtime can make you feel drowsy and help you fall asleep faster, but the effects can be short-lived. During the night, there can be a rebound effect that wakes you hours later. This disruption can also keep you from reaching REM sleep, the stage of deep sleep your body needs to become fully rested and replenished.
Should I take something to help me sleep?
There are some supplements that can help you get better sleep. One to try is SeroVital ADVANCED. This hormone-free, steroid-free supplement has been designed to nourish the pituitary gland, boosting levels of human growth hormone, or hGH. Optimal levels of hGH have been associated with, among other things, better sleep! In a study on Amino Renewal Complex in SeroVital ADVANCED, participants experienced a 65% decrease in time awake at night – that is, they woke up less often during the night and fell asleep faster.
Now that you have some great tips on getting better sleep – put down your phone and go get some z’s!