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How to Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Sonia O'Brien

 

When your body isn’t getting proper rest it can present a host of problems later such as weight gain, poor memory, and premature aging.  The good news is when you get a good night's sleep on a regular basis, it results in increased energy and productivity, improved heart and immune system health, a better mood, even a longer life. 

How can you get more sleep? Easy!

Start a sleep schedule

Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning—even on weekends. Setting a regular sleep routine helps keeps your biological clock even so you rest better. Exposure to a regular pattern of light and dark helps your body stay in sync, so open the blinds or go outside immediately after waking up helps your brain develop regular sleep patterns.

Eat a banana

Studies show that eating a banana, two hours before bed helps promote drowsiness, thanks to magnesium.  This substance has nature’s natural nerve and muscle relaxers.  Plus, bananas contain lots of tryptophan, an amino acid that your body converts into melatonin, a sleep supporting compound.   Bonus: Combine banana with a small amount of peanut butter to promote an even better drowsy effect.

Exercise during morning hours

People who exercise  during morning hours (especially cardio)  improve the quality of their regular sleeping patterns.  Studies show getting 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise can keep your body temperature raised for about 4 hours, inhibiting sleep. In essence, you don’t want to exercise during the evening hours—after work.  To get a good night’s sleep, your body needs to cool down, that’s when it signals your brain to release sleep-inducing melatonin, which makes you drowsy.

Cut caffeine after 2 pm.

That simply means soda, tea, coffee and anything containing caffeine, which is a stimulant that stays in your body for up to 8 hours.  That means drinking it before bedtime will prevent your brain from entering sleep mode.   

How about multivitamins?

Many of the nutrients in multivitamins, especially B vitamins, have a stimulating, energizing effect, which means that taking them before bed will keep you up all night.  Start taking your vitamins with breakfast and look forward to a good night’s sleep.

Try a melatonin aid

Melatonin can reset the body's internal clock such as, countering the effects of jet lag or help someone sleep, if they have an unusual work schedule or suffer from a circadian rhythm disorder. 

Melatonin is a natural hormone made by your body's pineal (pih-knee-uhl) gland. This is a tiny gland located just above the middle of the brain. During the day the pineal is inactive. When the sun goes down and darkness occurs, the pineal is "turned on" by the SCN and begins to actively produce melatonin when released into the blood. Usually, this occurs around 9 pm. As a result, melatonin levels in the blood rise sharply and you begin to feel less alert. Sleep becomes more inviting. Melatonin levels in the blood stay elevated for about 12 hours - all through the night - before the light of a new day when they fall back to low daytime levels by about 9 am.

How to use Melatonin?

For trouble falling asleep: 0.3 to 5 mg of melatonin daily for up to 9 months is used. People who have sleep-wake cycle disturbances should try: 2 mg to 12 mg taken at bedtime for up to 4 weeks is used.

Where can I get Melatonin?

Try Natrol 60 tablets at Amazon ($5.99)


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