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A GUIDE TO GOOD SLEEP

February 28, 2018

Do you toss and turn or wake multiple times during the night instead of sleeping soundly?

 

If so, your battle with sleep might be caused by your day time habits.

A cup of coffee, black or green tea, a glass of cola or an energy drink are quick pick-me-ups in the day that might undermine your sleep at night. Even small amounts of caffeine can affect your sleep, especially if you are sensitive to caffeine. Eliminating all caffeine-containing beverages for 3 weeks then try adding back one or two cups of coffee or tea per day after the two-week trial, if sleep problems reappear, you will know that you are indeed sensitive to caffeine and should avoid it.

 

Alcohol might make you sleepy at first but won’t get sound sleep and will wake up more tired. Alcohol and other depressants suppress a phase of sleeping called REM (rapid eye movement) during which most of your dreaming and most restful sleep occurs. Less REM is associated with more night awakenings and restless sleep. One glass of wine with dinner probably won't hurt but avoid drinking any alcohol within two hours of bed time. And never mix alcohol with sleeping medication!

 

Sleep-Friendly Table Tactics

 

Big dinners make you temporarily drowsy but prolonged digestion interferes with a good night's sleep. It's best to eat your biggest meal before mid-afternoon and have a light evening meal of 500 calories or less. A light vegetable soup or stew, a small portion chicken, extra-lean meat or fish at dinner with a vegetable side will help curb middle-of-the-night snack attacks.

 

Spicy foods can contribute to sleep problems: dishes heavily seasoned with garlic, chilies, cayenne, or other hot spices can cause nagging heartburn or indigestion. Avoid spicy foods at dinner. Gas-forming foods and hurried eating also cause abdominal discomfort, which in turn interferes with sound sleep. Limit your intake of gas-forming foods to the morning hours, and thoroughly chew food to avoid gulping air.

 

Bedtime Snacks: a Great Alternative to Sleeping Pills

 A certain foods or drinks can triggers the release of a brain chemical called serotonin, which aids sleep. And although the traditional glass of warm milk probably doesn't affect serotonin levels, the warm liquid soothes and relaxes you and makes you feel full, which might help facilitate sleep. You can find  some recipes for bed time elixirs that will help you fall asleep and stay asleep, to wake up revitalized in this article.

 

 

Curbing the Midnight Snack Attack

 Do you awaken in the middle of the night, unable to fall back to sleep unless you eat something? These midnight snack cravings may be triggered by hunger, or they may just be habit. In either case, your best bet is to break the cycle. Try eating more a nutrient dense during diet during the day,and stop rewarding your stomach by feeding it every time it wakes you up. Instead, read a book, drink a little warm water, or just ignore the craving. It takes up to two to three weeks to break a midnight snack habit.

 

Exercising to Relieve Stress

 Stress is a common cause of insomnia. Often, relieving tensions and anxieties eliminates sleep problems. One way to relieve tension is exercise. In a study from Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., healthy adults with mild sleep problems who exercised twice a week for at least 40 minutes per session fell asleep faster and slept about 45 minutes longer than people who didn't exercise. Physical activity also helps you cope with daily stress and tires the body so it is ready to sleep at night. Vigorous exercise should be done no closer to bedtime than six hours; mild exercise should be done no closer to bed time than four hours. Light stretching exercise is most suitable for relaxation before bed time.

 

Do eat early and often.

"Your body uses up energy during the sleep process; it needs to be restored," Breus says. Eat a mix of protein and carbs for breakfast (think eggs and whole wheat toast), and have six 250- to 300-calorie mini meals throughout your day. Eating something nutritious every few hours helps your body and brain maintain the right balance of hormones and neurotransmitters, essential for falling — and staying — asleep at night.

 

Don't go to extremes.

 

When daily calories dip below 1,200, you miss out on key nutrients, and this may affect your sleep and may cause symptoms similar to restless leg syndrome. A deficiency in folic acid may lead to insomnia. Studies also suggest that anorexics on extremely low-cal diets limit the time their bodies spend in the slow-wave sleep cycle, necessary for muscle repair and recovery.

Diet and natural remedies remedies.

 

A well-rounded diet with foods high in B vitamins, calcium, and zinc will help you rest better. Vitamin B6 signals your body to produce the calming hormone serotonin and calcium and zinc are natural relaxants.

 

Before bed, have a cup of chamomile or lavender tea; they acts as a mild sedative, calming your body and helping you drift off.

Essential oils have long been known to help with numerous ailments.The wide range of benefits is endless and helping you get a restful night of sleep is one of them. What’s great about essential oils is that you don’t get that groggy feeling or other side effects that often comes with a synthetic sleep aid. According to a study published by Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, cancer patients have a particularly tough go at getting good sleep. Subjects were given aromatherapy over a 13-week period of time. The effects were very beneficial, producing more sleep for the patients. In fact, over 90 percent said they would continue use of the blend that included bergamot, lavender, sandalwood, frankincense and mandarin.

 

Some healthcare facilities are incorporating aromatherapy within their practice to help patients with anxiety and better sleep. Here’s a DIY sleep aid recipe that uses aromatherapy and will help nearly anyone sleep better.

 

 

Lavender oil relaxes the body and eases tension creating the perfect platform for rest.

 

Frankincense offers feelings of relaxation and other health benefits, such as reducing chronic stress, anxiety, pain and inflammation, while boosting your immunity. Additionally, it can create a balanced mood upon waking.

 

Cedarwood essential oil has a warm, woody scent that can help promote a good night of rest. It’s both grounding and calming, which enhances that relaxation mode. It relieves tension by producing serotonin that causes the release of melatonin which helps induce a sedative state that can offer restorative sleep and give you a refreshed feeling in the morning.

 

Bergamot essential oil may help add to the calming of the body and mind. It can relieve nervous tension by stimulating dopamine and serotonin while delivering a sedative, relaxing and content feeling.

 

Now that you have your DIY Aromatherapy Sleep Blend, follow the directions for your diffuser. Most require that you add water to a certain level indicated on the diffuser. Then, add the drops of your new DIY sleep aid mix. Place the diffuser in your bedroom and turn on a few minutes before you plan to go to bed.

 

 

DIY Sleep Aid with Essential Oils

 

Blend 1

  • 2 drops lavender essential oil

  • 2 drops frankincense essential oil

  • 2 drops cedarwood essential oil

  • 2 drops bergamot essential oil

Blend 2

  • 2 drops ylang ylang essential oil

  • 1 drop bergamot essential oil

  • 1 drop lavender essential oil

  • 1 drop sweet marjoram essential oil

  • 1 drop roman chamomile essential oil

  • 1 drop valerian essential oil

Blend 3

  • 2 drops sweet orange essential oil 

  • 2 drops lavender essential oil

  • 2 drops roman chamomile essential oil

Directions:

  1. Add drops of your blend of choice into your diffuser.

  2. Place in your bedroom at night a few minutes before bedtime and turn on.

Mindful breathing

Mindful breathing practices have been a part of yoga and Eastern wellness modalities for centuries but aren’t as popular in Western culture. The most well-known champion of the 4-7-8 breathing technique in the U.S., who is somewhat responsible for the prevalence that the technique does have amongst integrative medicine practitioners, yogis, and those in search of stress reduction and overall relaxation, is Harvard-educated Andrew Weil, MD.

 

 Mindful breathing will help you fall asleep way faster. Not only is it free, it also works for a number of different instances. In addition to using it to fall asleep in a pinch, you can practice it if you wake up in the middle of the night and find yourself thinking about something you have to do the next day, in order to fall back asleep; if you are nervous before an event (like a wedding, or giving a speech); if you are angry about something and want to calm down.

 

If you would like to learn more about relaxation techniques or adequate nutrition, we invite you to book Nutrition and Health Consultation with The Health Coach Academy or join or 6 month Health Coaching Program.

Results may individually vary. Information and statements made in articles of The Health Coach Academy Blog are for education purposes only and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. The Health Coach Academy does not provide medical advice, prescribe medication and treatment plans, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by The Health Coach Academy are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. Should you have a medical condition or health concern, consult your physician.

 

 

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