Sleep is so last century. Our modern age certainly isn’t kind to getting some solid shut-eye. 24/7 entertainment options, smartphones, TVs, ever-busy work schedules, less leisure time – add it all up, and there’s no doubt about it: sleep is under siege.
And according to circadian neuroscientist Russell Foster, the health consequences are dire. Weight gain, hormone imbalance, decreased brain function – however you slice the pie, lost sleep is pretty much a total health nightmare.
Sleep Restores, Renews, Re-energizes
When we sleep, our body goes through a repair process, down at the cellular level, which prepares us for the next day. This process is greatly impacted by the quality of sleep we get; after 10 solid hours of sleep, we tend to feel truly invigorated. Yet after a poor night’s rest, we’re usually sluggish the next morning, if not the entire day.
About a century ago, Americans averaged 8-9 hours of sleep per night. Today, that figure has been reduced by about 2-3 hours. Bottom line: the average person spends about 30 years of their life sleeping. Might as well make those three decades count.
Try these 5 methods to optimize your sleep and embrace those much-needed zzzz’s.
#1 – Don’t Skimp on the Salt
Low sodium levels are linked to sleeping disorders and high blood pressure. Despite salt’s bad rap, this basic compound and common food additive helps us sleep better – studies prove it!
#2 – Turn of all Electronic Devices an Hour Before Bed
The “blue light” emitted from computer screens, TVs, smartphones and other electronic devices stunts melatonin production, and that can make it harder to stay asleep all night. If you’re a total “plugged-in” junkie, try blue light-blocking glasses.
#3 – Try a Tablespoon of Honey Right Going to Bed
This neat trick works for some people; the secret to honey’s success may be that is helps regulate liver glycogen. Depleted glycogen levels set of a chain of events that disrupt sleep. Try it for yourself – health blogger Seth Roberts swears by this mostly-unknown sleep aid.
#4 – Make Your Bedroom Dark and Cool
Total blackness and a climate that’s cool enough for comfort – get these two things nailed down, and chances are your sleep will be more fulfilling, complete and energizing. What are some things that’ll help in this regard? Blackout curtains, a blanket by the bottom of your door to block light, the steady drone of a floor fan and more.
#5 – Hold off on the Carbs Until Dinnertime or Later