Healthy Habits

Published on April 25th, 2014 | by Cadry Nelson

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Say Sayonara to Counting Sheep: How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

How to get a good night's sleep

A high end concealer may be able to work miracles, but you know what’s even better at leaving you looking refreshed, revitalized, and full of mental vigor?  A restful night’s sleep.  Of course, sometimes that is easier said than done.  When life’s stresses get in the way, it can be hard to get the long, rejuvenating sleep that your body needs.

Try these tips to make your next night’s sleep a peaceful one.

Say no to the coffee mug & martini glass.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol.  Having caffeine too late in the day can make your mind race when your body wants to be resting.  Cut yourself off at least six hours before bedtime if not earlier.  And while a cocktail may sound appealing for its relaxation qualities, it disrupts sleep patterns and inhibits restful REM sleep.  Plus, once the alcohol wears off, you may find yourself waking up dehydrated.

Say yes to the tea cup.

Have a cup of chamomile before bed.  It’s easy to find bagged chamomile in any tea section, but I’m especially a fan of loose chamomile flowers, which can be purchased in the bulk tea section at natural grocery stores.  Just fill a tea ball with the loose flowers and steep in warm water.  Chamomile is known to have a calming and relaxing effect, and I’ve noticed that a cup of chamomile before bed produces particularly detailed dreams.

Say no to cuddling with your laptop in bed.

Avoid the bright lights of a computer or TV screen.  Our brains are naturally wired to associate darkened rooms and low lighting as cues that sleep is approaching.  Staring at a bright screen can prove to be too stimulating and hamper melatonin production.  Stop reading your favorite blogs an hour or two before bedtime.  If you can’t avoid a nighttime scroll through your Facebook feed, at least turn down the brightness of the screen to a dim setting.

Say yes to curling up with a good book.

Take time to read a calming, low-stress book or magazine, listen to soothing music, or meditate.  (I’ve found the meditation sleep podcasts from Jesse and Jeane Stern to be particularly relaxing.)  There are also lots of guided meditations available on YouTube.  Do a bit of searching and find one that works for you.

Say yes to getting your sweat on.

Work daily exercise into your routine and reap even more benefits outside of cardiovascular health.  Regular physical activity is equated with falling asleep faster and sleeping more deeply.

Say no to a late night date with the treadmill.

Don’t exercise too close to bedtime.  For many people, exercise can have a stimulating effect, leaving you feeling awake and energized.  Push your workout to earlier in the day if possible, so that you can put that energy to maximum use.

Still having trouble falling asleep?

I love this insomnia-fighting trick from Katie Read, MFT.  If an overactive brain won’t let you sleep, she recommends closing your eyes and trying this:

“Make mundane lists that have nothing to do with your life.  Insomnia is often caused by our brains racing all night with trivial, meaningless details and worries.  Your brain is awake anyway, so take away the candy it likes and force it to think about something boring.  Think of ten boys’ names that start with ‘G.’  Now ten girls’ names that start with ‘H.’  Now the capitals of five states.  Now all the countries in South America.  You get the idea.  The specifics don’t matter as much as the effort of re-focusing on something mundane and unrelated to your life.  And watch!  You might just drift off before you can think of even three boys’ names that start with ‘Y.'”

What do you do to insure a peaceful night’s sleep?

Image Credit: Photo by David Busch


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About the Author

Hello!  I’m Cadry Nelson, a vegan food & lifestyle writer.  My aim is to help others live their most compassionate lives and dispel misconceptions about what it means to be vegan.  When I’m not in the kitchen, you’ll find me in the pottery studio making hand-built ceramics or out on the hiking trail.  Visit me at cadryskitchen.com, on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, and find me at .



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