Sleep to be Sexy Smart and Slim

7 12 2008

Sleep to be Sexy Smart and Slimby Ellen Michaud and Julie Bain
ISBN 978-0762109319 (Reader’s Digest)

This book is a good way to “discover sleep solutions just right for you”. The book covers: family stressors; stress and worry; depression; work schedules; hormones and biological changes; before and after baby; sleep eating; dealing with illness; coping with loss; sleep disorders; nightmares; jet lag.

The book is heavily slanted towards the female reader, but most of the issues can apply to us all. Recommended reading.

For myself, I was reading to see what makes a good nights sleep and how best to go about it… so a number of the above topics were just skimmed over.

Going to bed @ 2-3am and waking @ 6-7am can’t be a good thing. I need to learn to synchronise my body’s biological clock.

  • wake at the same time every day
  • hit the sheets only when sleepy
  • get up if you can’t sleep – part of your mind will associate bed with wakefulness, so go read (or other relaxing activity) until you are sleepy.
  • give yourself an hour to wind down before sleep – no household chores, homework, computer, email, internet..
  • don’t sleep-in to make up for late nights, it’s enough to upset the biological clock.

Adults require seven or eight hours of sleep daily. Even older adults, who often seem to rise early and have erratic sleep schedules, still need seven or eight hours each night.

I think I’ll try for a regular 6 first.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Like eating well and being physically active, getting a good night’s sleep is vital to your well-being. Here are more tips to help you:

  • Exercise, especially the aerobic variety, is a valuable sleep aid, but make certain it’s done well before bedtime. Exercise with a balanced diet can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which is important for good sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine. The stimulating effects of caffeine in coffee, colas, teas, and chocolate can take as long as 8 hours to wear off fully. Nicotine is also a stimulant.
  • Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed. A “nightcap” might help you get to sleep, but alcohol keeps you in the lighter stages of sleep. You also tend to wake up in the middle of the night when the sedating effects have worn off.
  • Pay attention to what you do, eat and drink in the evening hours. Light snacks are fine, but avoid eating meals within two hours of bedtime. Some people find that spicy or fatty foods (chips and salsa, buttered popcorn, ice cream, potato chips!) hamper restful sleep. Winding down with a good book, soothing music or a warm bath (or all three!) in the evening can help your body relax. Soft lighting is sleep-inducing, while bright lights give your body the wrong message at night. Even bright television and computer screens late in the evening can confuse your internal clock. And we all know that drinking lots of fluid before bedtime may force you to make unscheduled bathroom trips during prime sleep time.
  • Don’t take naps after 3 p.m. Naps can boost your brain power, but late afternoon naps can make it harder to fall asleep at night. Also, keep naps to under an hour.
  • Relax before bed. Take time to unwind. A relaxing activity, such as reading or listening to music, should be part of your bedtime ritual.

Recommended Links:
Sleep Disorders sleep.rd.com 
Life & Health Basics: How Much Sleep Do We Need—And How Do We Get It?
A Guide to Healthy Sleep (PDF)

Hormones released during sleep also affect how the body uses energy. Studies find that the less people sleep, the more likely they are to be overweight or obese, to develop diabetes, and to prefer eating foods that are high in calories and carbohydrates.

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