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Sleep… Turns out it REALLY Matters!

How would you rate your quality of sleep? If the answer is anything other than ‘soundly’, you need to read on!

Your night’s rest, or lack thereof, may be causing you to make poor food choices during the day.

A recent study found that women who got fewer than six hours of sleep each night consumed more calories during the day; those calories were not likely to be as nutritious as the choices made by the control group of women who slept seven hours per night.

Another study indicates that the reverse is true; food choices may also affect sleep.

A recent Journal of Sleep study found that people who were on special diets ate fewer foods were likely to suffer from daytime sleepiness, and those who were on low fat or cholesterol diets were likely to experience non-restorative sleep.

There is clearly a close relationship between diet quality and sleep quality. Strive for the best of both, and you should sleep soundly. Here are my top 6 tips to help you get your recommended seven hours of sleep each and every night. 

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1. Set a BedTime

You may feel like a child again, but it’ll be worthwhile when you wake up feeling refreshed and more likely to shun the junk food. Start by figuring out what time you have to wake up in the morning and set your bedtime to be eight hours prior. The extra hour will help ensure that you actually start snoozing in time to get your seven hours. If you find you need more or less time, adjust accordingly.

To stay accountable, my clients are using wearables. Juboury makes a good inexpensive starter band (click here for more info). And, of course, there’s always FitBit (my personal fav).

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If you’re like me, make sure you get one that’s water proof or at least water resistant!

2. Stop eating at least an hour before bedtime.

When your body is digesting, it’s not completely at rest. If you want to truly relax and drift off into dreamland, try to cut yourself off from food and drink about an hour before bedtime. Avoiding drinks will also avoid midnight bathroom breaks.

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3. Give yourself time to unwind.

If your bedtime is 10 p.m., plan to unplug at around 9 p.m. This means turning off the computer and/or television; anything that could be over-stimulating or upsetting to you should be shut down an hour before bed.

This one is tough for many people. My most successful clients create a bedtime pampering ritual such as reading for an hour or listening to soothing music in a hot bath with aromatherapy salts.

And, if you happen to break the habit once and a while, it’s OK… Just make sure breaking the habit doesn’t become a habit.

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At my parent’s house, I’m still a kid.

4. Wake up the right way.

What’s the right way you ask? Well, it’s not to a clanging, jarring or screaming sound

:)
Waking up out of a deep sleep to a loud and obnoxious alarm will raise your stress hormones. Life is stressful enough, try not to add to your stress by using an overly loud alarm. In fact, you might even try waking to gentle sounds of nature (Homedics makes one) or even trying the new light alarms. Like this one from Nature Bright.

And, to reduce stress during the day so you can sleep better at night, stop and smell the roses! I’m not the greatest at this – but I am improving. Tonight I am kicking back, enjoying the view and a little time spent with my hubby. As good for the soul as it is for sleeping soundly.

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5. Cut back on nighttime liquids.

As we age, most of us wake up every few hours anyway, so if you can keep your bladder from waking you up, all the better. And, when you’re in the kitchen grabbing a drink, you’re more likely to be tempted by the munchies. Most of us munch at night more out of habit than hunger.

I don’t have any fun pics for this one so here’s a shot of Louie grabbing the morning paper for your viewing pleasure…

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6. Sleep in the dark.

50% of Americans have a hard time sleeping and I am one of them. Sleeping in the dark may sound like a no-brainer, but most bedrooms aren’t as dark as they should be. Total darkness helps your body to produce more melatonin, which helps you sleep.

I love my Bucky, Inc. eye mask! Honestly, I can’t sleep without it. And, now they come in all kinds of fun patterns and colors so you can be fashionable while you sleep haha! You can get them at a discount on Amazon by clicking here.

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