How to Sleep Tight Every Night
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Bedtime Story1 of 9
By Alison Singh Gee
Consistent high-quality sleep can bring us vibrant health, even better relationships. While more than 40 million American adults suffer from insomnia, deep slumber can be yours if you know how to prime yourself for it, says Dr. Ruben Naiman, a sleep and dream specialist and the author of The Yoga of Sleep. Here are his tips for lulling yourself to sleep.
Have a Snack2 of 9
Twenty minutes before bed, try noshing on a complex carbohydrate such as a slice of whole grain bread with natural jam or a piece of fruit. Doing so will create tryptophan, an amino acid that the brain uses to produce seratonin, a natural relaxant.
Have a Chat3 of 9
Talk to your partner or someone you love about your day, and try to get some perspective on the events that may have caused you grief. “Anxiety and resentment make bad bed partners,” says Naiman. “Processing your day before you come to bed can help you release those negative emotions and allow you to ease into sleep.”
Indulge Yourself4 of 9
Create a private decompression ritual with a nightly warm bath or shower. Make a mental connection between cleansing your body with water and purifying your body of negative thoughts — the practice will send your brain the signal that it’s time to wind down and relax into zzz’s.
Power Down5 of 9
We’re able to extend our waking hours thanks to technology, but this extra "daytime" can cost us. Artificial light — even that which emanates from the computer and TV — suppresses our brain’s production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates our natural cycle of sleeping and waking. Start dimming those lights at least an hour before bed, and say no to Facebook after 8 p.m.
Clear Your Space6 of 9
Make your bedroom your sanctuary. Piles of clothes, books and bills create visual noise. Relocate your home office to a spare bedroom or even a kitchen nook. Keep your bedroom spare and neat — a visual and sensual pleasure. “Where you rest should be a sacred place,” says Naiman. “Someplace you love to be at the end of a long day.”
Try Soothing Scents7 of 9
To ease your way into slumber, try adding a few drops of calming lavender oil to your bath water or rubbing the same amount onto your pillow just before you climb into bed. The scent — and taste — of chamomile also has a calming effect: Drink a cup of herb-infused tea an hour before bed.
Watch It8 of 9
Ban the late-night cop shows and watch a sitcom instead. CSI devotees absorb violent images, which resonate in the brain all night. Tonight, try a little Seinfeld instead. “I call it Post-Dramatic Stress Syndrome,” says Naiman. “I know it’s a bit unorthodox, but 30 minutes of sitcom before bed can really ease you into sleep. Laughter is healing and quieting.”
Get Intimate9 of 9
We thought you’d like this suggestion! Having sex, and climaxing, triggers a relaxation response from the whole body (and besides, it feels good!).