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10 Smart Tips To Help You Get A Complete, Peaceful Sleep

10 Smart Tips To Help You Get A Complete, Peaceful Sleep

Do you take hours to fall asleep? Have you ever had a full night’s sleep and felt completely miserable afterwards? My sister has a horrific time sleeping – she rarely does. When she manages to get some shut eye, she sneaks in either 2-4 hours… or 14 hours. It’s bad. Various therapists and sleeping experts couldn’t help. All they wanted to do was prescribe her sleeping meds.

1. The Dangers of LED

Screens (in most cases a smartphone) are the #1 reason why people can’t sleep. Blinded by the blue light in LED screens, our brain shuts down the release of melatonin. Melatonin is known as the “sleep hormone,” which controls our body clock. iPads, phones, TVs, laptops – anything with a screen must be eliminated.

If you’re prone to waking up in the middle of night, grabbing your device and checking social media for a minute or two, you won’t find it a good way to doze back asleep. Resist the urge to grab your smartphone or laptop and assess why you think you woke up in the first place.

2. Nap During The Day

Believe it or not, 20-minute power naps have been shown to drastically increase productivity in the workplace. Even if you’ve had your body’s sleeping allocation for the day, naps increase alertness, creativity and enhances our mood.

3. Stick To A Sleeping Schedule

Adjust your biological clock and help it do what it’s meant to, by going to sleep every night at the same time, if it can be helped. A stable sleeping pattern aligns your bio-clock to recognise when it is time to sleep. This is crucial towards ensuring a full night’s luxurious sleep.

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Sometimes, sleeping schedules go astray. That’s life – things happen. Try your best to get back on track as soon as time permits.

4. Chow Down The Right Foods

Serotonin and melatonin are neurotransmitters that help you sleep. To get those transmitters, your brain needs tryptophan, an essential amino acid found in turkey. Turkey is loaded with tryptophan – which could explain why you feel incredibly sleepy at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

Other foods that send you to sweet dreamland are:

  • Eggs
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Red meat (beef, lamb, pork)
  • Reduced fat mozzarella
  • Pumpkin and squash seeds
  • Chicken breast

(Basically, all muscle-building staple foods that are high in protein.)

5. Maintain Silence

Whether your loved one is snoring away, the neighbours are noisy, your house guests are in the other room chatting away, or your family is blaring the TV, some noises never stop.

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Short of letting everybody in your house know that you’re trying to sleep, consider purchasing quality custom-made earplugs. If those are a no go, have a look for sleep-specific noise-cancelling headphones. Be sure the ‘phones are fit for sleeping in.

6. Exercise Regularly

Regular cardiovascular exercise (running, swimming, burpees, etc.) dramatically improves the quality and duration of your shut-eye time. The body needs only 30 minutes of intense aerobic exercise for our body heat to remain high. It stays high for around 4 hours.

During your body’s cool down period, your brain will be receiving frequent signals that it’s time for sleep. This is made possible through the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone (I’ve talked about melatonin so much because it is that important for a good night’s rest.)

7. Stop Worrying About The Future

Not being able to turn off our minds is a giant problem. They’re a dial that can’t be turned off. I used to worry about things like…

  • What’s going to happen tomorrow
  • Replaying conversations in my head
  • Fretting over goals I hadn’t reached
  • Wondering why am I not where I want to be in life

I’m not alone in experiencing those feelings. These fears hang in the balance of many people’s minds. A way to clear the air and form a response for them is to simply jot them down. You can jot them down in a journal, notebook, stationary pad, etc.

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Writing down every one of your woesome thoughts, by hand, empties the mental clutter so you can have a spiritually nourishing slumber. This steers your mind clear of thinking about them.

Another thing you can do (while we’re on the subject of cleaning) is to shower and brush your teeth. If you feel dirty you’re going to obsess about it – just as you would with your mental “clogs”.

8. Tense Yourself To The Limits

Relax your muscles by tensing them as hard as you possibly can (without straining yourself), holding them for a few moments, and then release the tension. This form of muscle relaxation (which also fights stress), usually accompanied by rhythmic breathing, helps relax the mind as well as your body. Try it tonight while you’re lying on your back. (You aren’t going anywhere, are you?)

9. Thermostat

Most studies demonstrate that room temperatures of between 62 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (17-21 degrees Celsius) seem to work best for sleeping. The reason is that our core body temperature drops at night. In fact, this drop is a signal to the brain to say goodnight. A warm room can inhibit this process.

10. Optimize Your Bedroom

Where you sleep has just as much importance as what you do to prepare for bed. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the bed should be reserved for a deep night’s natural sleeping and love-making. Which is fine – however, how much stock have you put into the rest of your bedroom?

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It’s been well-known that a messy, untidy room piles stress on our psychological well-being. Here are a few ways you can maximise your bedroom’s good vibes for a comfier sleep starting today:

  • Control your internal clock by keeping the room dark (this means NO screens of any kind). The hypothalamus (responsible for your inner clock) releases cortisol when light is detected. As a result, your body temperature raises, and your wakefulness is restored.
  • Clean the clutter: using a closed hamper to keep piles of clothes from your view does a lot for maximising your sleep.
  • Keep pillows full and fresh by replacing them every 1-2 years.
  • Use YouTube for bedroom organisation tips

Consider some of these techniques (or all of them!) when you’re about to hit the hay tonight. Don’t put yourself through another catastrophic sleep by waiting until tomorrow. Stop being miserable in your day-to-day and do something about your sleep habits. Your mind, body and life health (and friends) will thank you for choosing to make a positive difference. It certainly has in my beloved sister’s sleep schedule in no time at all.

Featured photo credit: Wokandapix via pixabay.com

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Maya Levine

Passionate Writer & Researcher

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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