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Ditch the sheep.
Take control of the clock.
Let’s get some (better) sleep!
Did you know that about 20 to 40 percent of us struggle with sleep? Better slumber is just a few hours away. Here are tips you can use all day that’ll help you get a better sleep tonight.
Get moving! When adults participated in 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a week (about 22 minutes per day) they slept better. In fact, they slept 65% better. Exercising also decreased leg cramps at night, and difficulties concentrating during the day.
One of the causes of insufficient sleep in our modern lifestyles is altered exposure to light. We slog away in windowless offices during the day. Our body needs dark-light signals to help it know when to sleep (circadian rhythm). Take a break and go outside. Let the sun shine down on you.
Yum! It’s lunchtime. Try an isoflavone-rich item off the menu (miso, soybeans, tempeh and tofu). Japanese researchers looked at the diet of 1076 adults and found eating more isoflavones positively affected how well people slept.
Thinking of laying down for a nap? Go ahead and lie on the floor, but try some Pilates while you’re down there. A study found just two hours of Pilates a week significantly improved who much sleep middle-aged adults got.
Less sleep and poorer sleep quality were linked with longer screen-time, when California researchers analyzed 653 adults last year. Experts are warning that using smartphones, particularly around bedtime, may negatively impact sleep.
Stress and anxiety can play a role in how well you sleep. GABA, a neurotransmitter in the brain, puts the brakes on helping reduce stress. Due to its relaxation effects, GABA may be considered a sleep aid.
In your brain, the hormone melatonin plays a role in sleep. Studies suggest that melatonin supplementation may help those who find it hard to get to sleep. Melatonin may also be helpful if your sleep schedule is altered (shift workers and jetlag). Other natural sleep aids include ashwagandha, 5-HTP, hops, lemon balm and valerian.
Having trouble sleeping? Essential oils may give you the whiff you need to catch some Z’s. Relaxing aromas include bergamot, cedarwood, lavender, marjoram, sandalwood and ylang ylang.
What’s the best time to go to bed?
For most people, it’s between 8pm and 12. Best bet is to go to bed at the hour you feel the sleepiest. However, like all things about sleep, it’s unique to each person. Find what works best for you.
PLoS One 2016 Nov 9 – Smartphone Screen-Time & Sleep
Curr Biol. 2016 Apr 4;26(7):R271-2 – Ancestral sleep
Nutr J. 2015 Dec 29;14:127. – Daily isoflavone intake and sleep
Nutrients. 2015 Dec 8;7(12):10223-36. Sleep Duration & Children’s BMI
Percept Mot Skills December 2014 vol. 119 no. 3 838-850 – Pilates & Sleep
Mental Health and Physical Activity, 2011 – Sleep and Exercise
Altern Med Rev. 2007 Sep;12(3):274-9.- GABA Monograph
Health Canada Monographs: