prepare yourself for sleep

How To Prepare Yourself For Sleep

Developing a consistent routine to prepare yourself for sleep is the best way to get better rest. If you’re like a lot of people, you need to be at your best during the day. It’s go-go-go from the moment you wake up until your head hits the pillow. While this can be great for getting stuff done, it can leave you overstimulated so that dreamland is hard to come by.

This article will give you a wholistic approach to prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep. These actions take some effort but are worth it. By giving your body the rest it needs, you will wake up mentally and physically rejuvenated so you can tackle the challenges of the day.

#1: Limit Stimulants

There are many benefits of coffee, but preparing yourself for sleep isn’t one of them. When you are relying on caffeine all day long, it can leave your brain overactive. Drinking caffeine later in the day triggers the adrenal glands to pump out cortisol. A form of adrenaline, cortisol is great for helping you get through tough times, but it can leave your mind racing and impair sleep.

Solution: People respond to caffeine differently. Some can drink it in the morning and still get a good night’s rest. Others will do better avoiding it entirely. Find your sweet spot!

#2: Avoid Sugar

Too much sugar is bad for sleep quality. Most people think sugar is a stimulant, when in reality, it dulls your senses and makes you tired (1). This can lead people to fall asleep faster, but it also causes poor sleep and more nighttime awakenings (2). Sugar and other foods high in carbohydrates suppress the chemical orexin in the brain that prompts alertness (3). Although sugar makes you drowsy, this reaction is offset by poor sleep quality later in the night As a result of not getting enough deep sleep, you may wake up feeling unrefreshed.

Solution: Not all sugars are created alike. Consuming more added sugars are linked with worse sleep (4,5). In contrast eating more fruit helps prepare yourself for sleep (6). Try to remove added sugar and processed carbs from your diet in favor of fruit or other whole carbs, like vegetables.

#3: Eat Protein At Every Meal

High-protein foods help balance blood sugar, which plays a role in your body’s stress response. Peaks and valleys in blood sugar cause your adrenals to pump out cortisol, overstimulating the brain. Low blood sugar overnight can also cause awakenings as your organs are not getting the energy they need for rest and repair. Protein also balances brain chemistry so that levels of neurotransmitters that make us alert are higher during the day but lower at bedtime when sleep-inducing chemicals take over (1).

Solution: Protein is important at every meal but especially at breakfast when many people rely on toast or cereal. Start your day with a high-quality protein like eggs, meat, or salmon to set your neurotransmitters up for a successful day and restful night’s sleep.

#4: Keep Stress At Bay With Magnesium

Magnesium is a calming mineral that helps set yourself up for good sleep. By regulating the nervous system and playing a role in the body’s ability to metabolize cortisol magnesium status can affect your ability to rest (7).

Magnesium deficiency is widespread, affecting more than 50 percent of the population. Not only are you very likely not getting enough magnesium, but the RDA for magnesium of 300 to 420 mg is unlikely to fulfill your needs. Stress, intense exercise, high-carb diets, and chronic illnesses, including GI diseases all increase magnesium requirements.

Magnesium supplements are chelated with amino acids to improve absorption. These chelates can calm the nervous system and help prepare your body for sleep. Experts recommend 10 mg per kg of body weight of magnesium a day.

Solution: To fulfill your magnesium needs for restful sleep, you need to supplement at strategic points throughout the day. Magnesium Essentials is great at meals to support baseline levels while Poly Mag ATP supports exercise performance. Zen Mag is a go-to post-workout and can help get you ready for sleep because it crosses the blood-brain barrier.

#5: Optimize Your Vitamin D Level

Vitamin D deficiency is a widespread problem that is linked with trouble sleeping. Vitamin D helps you sleep better because there are vitamin D receptors throughout the brain. A large concentration of these receptors are in the cells of the brainstem that allow us to sleep. If vitamin D is deficient, the sleep-wake cycle is disrupted (8).

Solution: To get vitamin D from the sun, you need about 20 minutes of full body sunlight during the hours of 10 am and 2 pm. In the absence of sun exposure, 1,000 to 2,000 IUs of vitamin D3 daily will bring levels to 30 ng/mL (considered adequate) in 50 percent of the general population. A dose of 2,000 to 7,000 IUs of vitamin D3 per day should be sufficient to maintain year-round serum levels between 40-70 ng/mL.

#6: Include Mindful Moments

The daily, debilitating stress that dogs our days is the enemy of good sleep. It leaves your nerves frayed and your mind racing, just when you need to turn your brain off and escape to dreamland. One proven strategy for lowering cortisol output is meditation and other activities that bring you into the moment. Mindfulness activities cause favorable chemical changes to the brain and balance the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis, which governs release of cortisol and related adrenaline-like hormones, leading to better health and sleep.

Solution: A regular meditation or yoga practice is a great way to bring you into the moment. Mindful moments throughout the day may be just as helpful. Spending a few minutes on deep breathing or doing a short guided meditation can calm your nervous system, preparing yourself for sleep.

#7: Try Melatonin

A lot of people turn to a pharmaceutical sleep aid but still find themselves fatigued and groggy the next day. Melatonin can help by synchronizing your circadian rhythm. A hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain, melatonin is available in supplement form. It is comparable to prescription sleep drugs for improving sleep, but with the noteworthy advantage of reducing grogginess upon wakening.

Melatonin levels drop with age, so older adults may benefit the most compared to young 20-somethings who are burning the candle at both ends.

Solution: Taking melatonin before bed can regulate your biorhythm. Small doses of less than 1 mg can be effective for some people. In others, a dose of 5 to 10 mg can help knock you out during stress-filled times.

Final Words:

Preparing your body for sleep is worth the effort. Not only will your night’s be restful and rejuvenating, but you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and more able to handle the challenges of the day.

 

 

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