A business owner’s health – and his or her Studies have shown that getting enough sleep is critical to good health. Here are tips from sleep experts to help you sleep better.– is vital to consistent and efficiency in the workplace.
1. Eat an appropriate snack an hour before bedtime.
Penelope Lewis, director of the Sleep and Memory Lab at the University of Manchester, cites two reasons for eating a snack:
- It’s hard to fall asleep when you’re hungry.
- Some foods actually promote sleep.
Bananas and turkey are some of these foods that form neurotransmitters that support sleep. The nonprofit Helpguide.org International recommends trying whole-grain, low sugar cereal or granola with low-fat milk or yogurt as well.
2. Avoid bright lights late at night.
In the quest to sleep better, you need to avoid televisions, computer screens, smart phones, and tablets. The blue wavelength of light will break down melatonin, the hormone that your body is naturally secreting at night that helps you fall asleep.
If you can’t avoid looking at a screen right before bed, then look into getting a screen or app that will block out the blue wavelengths such as the free program f.lux.
If you’re really having trouble, licensed acupuncturist and practitioner of integrative medicine Chris Kresser recommends purchasing amber-lensed goggles to put on in the evening to block blue wavelengths from all devices.
Other pre-bedtime alternatives:
- Reading a hardcopy book or an ebook on a device that is not backlit.
- Listen to music or audiobooks.
- Try relaxation exercises or stretching.
3. Make sure your room is cool enough.
Your body temperature cools down while you sleep, says Lewis, who also authored the book The Secret World of Sleep.
“If your room is too warm, it’s going to be harder for your body to start cooling down, so that’s going to keep you awake a little bit,” she said in an interview with Terry Gross on National Public Radio. “If it’s cool, then when you stop being active and you lie down, you’ll cool down.”
If you have trouble sleeping, Lewis suggests heating yourself before lying down.
“You could have a hot bath, a hot shower, or put your feet in a hot foot bath so that you heat up your temperature and then you go to bed in a nice cool room and your body temperature cools down,” she said. “And that tricks your body into thinking, ‘Oh, I’m falling asleep because this is what happens when I fall asleep.’”
4. Turn off the lights in your bedroom. All of them.
Even the slightest bit of light disturbs somewhen they’re trying to fall asleep. Here are some ways to minimize the amount of light in your surroundings so you can sleep better:
- Make sure your alarm clock is not extravagantly bright.
- Use blackout curtains.
- Sleep with an eye mask. (Lewis mentioned that she even puts a towel around her head to block out all the light.)
- Get amber-colored nightlights.
What should you do if you can’t fall asleep?
“It’s not a good idea to just keep lying there,” Lewis says. “It’s a much better idea to get up and go and do something else and come back later.”
But there are activities that are off limits in this situation.
“It’s really important to avoid anything that’s going to really wake you up, so you wouldn’t want to go and have a cup of coffee…[or] eat something really sweet,” she cautions. “And you wouldn’t want to go and turn on any really, really bright lights.”
Want more tips? Helpguide.org has a very comprehensive page on better sleep.
What have you found helps you sleep better?
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