2 Strategies to Get More Zs
By Marie-Josee Salvas Shaar
We’d love to think that that with enough willpower, we can get away with little sleep, but reality is quite different. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep every day is important not only for your energy levels, but also to your memory, mood, immune system, motivation, and productivity. (For more info on this, please see my article Beauty Sleep and Optimal Performance).
But for many of us, the problem lies not in understanding the importance of sleep, but in surrendering to it. Between 50 and 90% of people 65 and over have a hard time sleeping at night, and then find themselves tired throughout the day. It’s the worse of both worlds! But fortunately, there are things you can do to insure you get sufficient shut-eye. This article identifies 2 little-known strategies.
Sleep Tight Tonight
1- Try a light night-time snack. A carbohydrate-rich, low glycemic index snack can help. A whole grain toast, a peach, an apple, or a small bowl of oatmeal are good examples. Here's how it will help: carbs encourage the production of serotonin in your brain, and serotonin is in charge of sleep regulation, so carbohydrates will help prepare you physiologically. But again, you’ll need low glycemic-index carbs to avoid any unwanted sugar rush.
2- Try a sleep-inducing meditation. Don’t worry, there's no need for any kind of esoteric experiences. Just get in a comfortable position, turn off the lights, maybe light up a candle and focus on breathing deeply from your belly for a few minutes. For extra encouragement, play your favorite relaxation CD, or try this youtube video: Sleep Music. I recommend you turn off your computer screen so it doesn't project bothering light while your eyes are closed. Breathe in for 1 count, and breathe out for 2. Then count to 2 as you breathe in, and count to 4 as you breathe out. Keep breathing out for twice as long as you breathe in, and slow down your breath as much as you can. Giving yourself a mental break by focusing on your breath will help you get ready for sleep mentally.
Once mind and body have received the cue that it's time to fall asleep peacefully, there should be no stopping you. So try it out, and sleep tight tonight!
This article is © 2009 Marie-Josee Salvas Shaar - Smarts and Stamina.