Thursday, December 13, 2007

10 Top Sleep Tips to Cure Insomnia

  1. If you take a daytime nap keep it under 30 minutes (otherwise you throw off your body's schedule).

  2. Expose yourself to sunlight/bright light immediately after waking. It gets your body's clock moving. It causes your brain (pineal gland) to release serotonin (lifting mood & energy) and decrease melatonin (hormone that makes you sleepy). Serotonin and melatonin work in a daily rhythm. It's important to do things to support this rhythm (like getting exposure to bright light first thing). Even if the light is only a bright bedside lamp... that will help.

  3. Aerobic exercise (including brisk walking) twenty to thirty minutes in the morning or afternoon gets your body's clock moving. Come bedtime you're more likely to feel sleepy.

    Avoid it at night though... it's too stimulating.

  4. Are you iron deficient? Iron deficient women tend to have more problems sleeping. (Most people in North America have diets that are very low in iron.) Get tested, or just make sure you get enough iron in you diet. (Look here for a huge list of iron rich foods:

  5. Make your bedroom primarily a place for sleeping (and making love). Don't use it for work, hanging out, or watching tv. We are creatures of habit more than we may realize. Let your body recognize that this is it's reserved place for rest and intimacy.

  6. Avoid nicotine and caffeine (e.g. coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate) close to bedtime. No caffeine 6-8 hours before bed. No nicotine at least one hour before bed.

  7. Make sure your bed is comfortable. If you're body isn't properly supported it can't fully relax and you can't get a good night's sleep. Test mattresses. Buy only if you can exchange it. Try therapeutic pillows to cradle your neck.

  8. Have a bedtime snack. An amino acid called tryptophan, found in milk, turkey and peanuts, causes the release of serotonin which relaxes you making it easier to sleep. A bowl of cereal, some turkey or a peanut butter and jam sandwich are easy ones.

  9. At bedtime jot down all of the concerns and worries presently on your mind (and possible solutions). Anxiety and stress are two of the most widespread causes of poor sleep and insomnia. Jotting your worries down helps flush them out of your brain, gives you new perspective and renewed ownership of your mind and life.

  10. If it's past 8pm... go to sleep as soon as you feel sleepy. Don't stay up to watch TV, read, or do anything. Go to bed. Sleep.

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