Sleep is losing priority as we lead busier and more hectic lifestyle. Many people deprive themselves of a good night rest without realising the consequences of the lack of sleep.
Some of the benefits of getting enough sleep:
-reduce the risks of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other inflammatory diseases
-improved mental and physical performance
-stronger immune system
-prevent premature ageing
The persistent lack of sleep contributes to poor health and the effect is cumulative.
Here are 10 tips on how to sleep better…
1. Avoid caffeine.
Some people are more or less sensitive to caffeine. It takes about 6 hours for the effect of caffeine to wear off. If you really want to drink coffee or tea, have the last cup by 2pm.
2. Avoid intense exercise in the evening.
The pounding heart rate and elevated metabolism make it harder for your to fall asleep.
3. Avoid eating carbs and sugars before bed.
These cause blood sugar highs and lows that delay your sleep and wake you up sooner.
4. Protein snack
If you are feeling peckish before bed, have some protein foods such as cottage cheese, yogurt and nuts or even a whey protein drink. Protein contains trytophan, an amino acid that is used by the body to make relaxing neurotransmitters, ie. serotonin and melatonin.
Alternatively, you can try a natural sleep aid such as Sleepzyme that contains melatonin to help you fall asleep faster or get a better sleep.
5. Avoid going to bed with a full stomach.
You may have interrupted sleep when your gastroinstestinal system is actively digesting a heavy meal.
6. Sleep early
Try to go to bed early, preferably by 11pm.
Stick to your bedtime so you are sleeping and waking up at the same times every day.
Do something relaxing before bedtime. It could be listening to soothing music or sleep CD/audio or light reading.
8. No watching TV in bed
Turn off the TV at least 2 hours before bedtime. You may become too engrossed in a movie or programme without realising it’s your past sleeping time. In addition, a stimulated mind prevents you from falling asleep easily.
9. No handheld devices near bed
These include mobile phone, TV remote control, ipod, laptop and portable CD/DVD player. Any of these can be a distraction that prevents you from falling asleep.
10. Turn off all lights
If possible, sleep in total darkness. Even a tiny bit of light can interrupt your sleep.
In the latest study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that mice exposed to dim light during their sleep:
- gained 50% more weight than mice sleeping in total darkness.
- gained more weight than the mice sleeping in total darkness, even though they were on a calorie reduced diet and exercised more.
- developed glucose intolerance (a pre-diabetic condition).
Whether you want to lose (belly) fat or improved your overall health, make sure you are getting sufficient, quality sleep every night.