Sleep Better!

We all know that sleep is important.  In fact, in addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise, getting enough restful sleep is the most important thing we can do for our overall health.  Proper sleep can help fight infection, promote good mood, support your metabolism to help prevent weight gain, as well as jump-start your energy and vitality.  

Getting a great night’s sleep is one of the keys to looking and feeling your best, yet 70% of Americans report being chronically sleep deprived.  If you fall into this demographic of not getting enough restful sleep, it may be time to analyze your bedtime habits.  Here are some thoughts to consider in order to get your bedtime routine on track for your best rest:

 

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

If you are having trouble sleeping, you want to stay away from caffeine after noon.  And while alcohol may help you relax and fall asleep, it can disrupt the deep REM sleep your body needs to function at it’s highest level.  If you are going to enjoy a glass of wine or a beer, try to do it a few hours before you go to bed to ensure a great night’s rest.

 

In the evening, enjoy a hot beverage like chamomile or peppermint tea.  They both have a calming affect on the body.  A good Magnesium supplement promotes muscle relaxation and can promote sleep.  I like CALM Magnesium powder.  Put 1-2 teaspoons in a cup of hot water before bed.

 

Valerian, passion flower, lemon balm and chamomile work synergistically with key hormones and amino acids to relax the body – so you can get a good night’s sleep. Without the side effects of prescription drugs.  Take a look at this great product, containing all of these sleep inducing ingredients: Best Rest Supplement


Find a Relaxing Activity (That Doesn’t Involve a Screen):

Bright screens like those  on your TV or computer emit blue light, which suppresses melatonin, the hormone that encourages your body to sleep.  Try instead to read a real paper book or use an e-reader (without the blue screen) like the Kindle.  Turn off your phone, computer and iPad at least one hour before bed for best results.

 

In addition to the tea, you may want to try the following Nighttime Stretch Routine.  Stretching at night can help relax your muscles and prepare your body for your best sleep. When performed correctly, stretching at night as part of your wind-down ritual can help you fall asleep faster, and have a more restful slumber.

 

Start a bedtime meditation practice:

This is a great meditation to do before sleep.  The goal of this breathing exercise is to incrementally relax yourself, in steps.

Here is how it works:

 

  1. Inhale normally and as you exhale, relax your muscles.  With each breath out, visualize your body becoming slightly more relaxed.  The goal is to become more and more relaxed with each exhale than before you began.
  1. Be aware of your tension areas:  
  • Face
  • Jaw
  • Shoulders
  • Hands
  • Legs
  • Feet
  • Abdomen

  1. On your next exhale, relax your face.  Imagine all of the stress and tension leaving that area.  
  1. Alternate targeting the tension areas with each exhale, until your entire body feels relaxed.

 

I hope these tips help you achieve better deeper more relaxing sleep.

Sweet dreams! 



lisa cohen

Submitted by:

Lisa Cohen

Nutritionist & Personal Fitness Coach
Lisa Cohen, MS CN, is a Certified Nutritionist and Exercise Physiologist with a Masters Degree in Nutritional Science from American Health Sciences University. Lisa has been providing health coaching and nutritional counseling for 15 years and has helped her clients to dramatically improve the quality of their lives through the variety of health and fitness programs that she offers. read more »

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The Aspen Hope Center's mission is to extend a beacon of hope to those in emotional crisis and offer a continuum of comprehensive care while steadfastly working to decrease the stigma of mental illness through expert clinical care, public education, community collaboration and outreach.

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