|February 23, 2005|
Last week I talked about the evils of cortisol and how to combat it. (If you missed it email me and I will send it to you) Sleep plays a huge roll in managing cortisol levels. I recommend that you get at least 8 hours of sleep per night. For some of us this may come easy but, for most of we are not so lucky. Here is a list of ways you can use to get yourself started on a long nights sleep. Don't fight falling asleep. The ironic truth is that the harder you try to sleep, the more likely you are to remain awake. Instead of tossing in bed for hours, pining for sleep, fretting over how exhausted you'll be, forget about it. Read a book, listen to calming music, relax and trust that sleep will come.
Make your room sleep-friendly. Close the door; turn out the lights; block out sound. If it's impossible to make your room dark, wear a sleep mask. If sound drifts in from the outside, try turning your radio on, setting the dial between two stations. Strangely enough many find that the low hissing or white noise blocks out background noise.
Give yourself reason to yawn. The activity you pick when you're settling into bed should be really boring. Reading a long book, slow music, CSPAN anything you find to lull you to sleep. Stay away from action thrillers or scary movies they will only exacerbate your restlessness.
Get some exercise, preferably four to six hours before bedtime. Aerobic exercises, such as lively walking in the later afternoon or early evening, revs up your body temperature and metabolism, setting them up for a corresponding drop at bedtime that leads to sleepiness. But, don't exercise within an hour or two of bedtime as this will keep you up.
Get wet. A hot, steamy bath two or three hours before bedtime is the most delightfully relaxing activity.
I shouldn't have to tell you to watch caffeine. Realize, however, that it's uplifting effects can last eight to ten hours and longer in some susceptible people. Don't drink coffee, tea, cola, cocoa or eat chocolate after noon.
Stay away from fatty, fried, and spicy foods. They can wreak havoc on sleep as well.
Use a Mantra. A Mantra is a sacred word or sequence of word that is used in meditation. Tell yourself something positive like: "I am open and receptive to all that is good". Repeat to yourself silently. The repetition will bring your breathing, blood pressure and energy levels down and help you drift off.
Above all slide into bed, get comfortable and focus on long deep breaths and before you know it you will be off to never never land.
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