solve your sleep problems

Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations to Solve Your Sleep Problems

In case you’re not already familiar with the statistics, roughly one in three Americans aren’t getting enough sleep. Many who are sleep deprived point to common problems as the cause of their insomnia. citing issues such as snoring, nightmares and acid reflux as reasons for their restlessness. But how do you put an end to these seemingly small, yet stifling, sleep problems?

The answer could be your daily diet. “Food provides the nutrients needed for the production of neurotransmitters that regulate sleep,” says Dr. Ana Krieger, director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill-Cornell Medicine.

Listed are the six easy dietary do’s that will help solve your sleep problems:

1. Balance your plate to avoid nightmares.

Consuming a balanced meal of proteins, fats and carbs will help stabilize blood sugar levels ahead of bedtime, says Maya Bach, a licensed dietitian nutritionist, and owner at River North Nutrition in Chicago. This stability will help prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar that can disrupt your energy levels and mood. A dip in blood sugar at night can cause nightmares and other odd bedtime behavior, like crying out in your sleep.

2. Pair protein with carbs to fall asleep faster.

Proteins like turkey, roasted soybeans and milk are high in levels of an essential amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan is a key component of serotonin, a chemical that promotes relaxation when it’s released in the brain.

Pairing proteins high in tryptophan with a starchy carb or whole grain may help prime the body for sleep, Bach says “The surge in your blood sugar after eating carbs stimulates tryptophan’s sleep-inducing properties in the brain,” she says.

3. Curb snoring by staying hydrated.

Snoring affects a whopping 90 million American adults. In some cases, dehydration may be the culprit behind snoring, according to Georgia Giannopoulos, dietitian and manager of Be Healthy, an employee-focused health program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. To help prevent this, she recommends being mindful of your hydration throughout the day (try downloading an app to help). You can also keep a glass of water at your bedside as a reminder to start hydrating when you wake up in the morning.

4. Skip the booze to sleep soundly.

Drinking alcohol may make you feel drowsy at first, but research suggests you may end up with lower quality sleep overall. “In some cultures, alcoholic drinks are commonly used to facilitate sleep,” says Dr. Krieger. “[But] alcohol intake close to bedtime has several downsides; it acts as a muscle relaxant that worsens snoring and may trigger sleep apnea, and also leads to a chemical disruption of sleep.”

5. Eat a light dinner to avoid acid reflux.

Try paring down for your final meal of the day, Bach says. “Consuming less food later in the day may help reduce bloating, discomfort and possible acid reflux some of us experience when we consume too much food at one meal,” she says. Avoid spicy, acidic foods and instead opt for low-acidic foods before bedtime, like lean proteins such as baked chicken and poached fish, and green veggies like broccoli and asparagus.

6. Keep a food diary to find hidden offenders.

Because not all bellies are created equal — what works for the majority may not work for you — tracking what you eat could solve your food/sleep related mysteries. “If someone has a pattern of difficulty sleeping, keeping a food and sleep diary may be beneficial in helping spot if certain foods are affecting sleep,” Giannopoulos says. Hint: This includes caffeine!

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Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations to Solve Your Sleep Problems

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snoring partner

Sleep Woes – How to Deal with a Snoring Partner

Snoring is one of the most common complaints we hear from spouses and partners that live together. It can cause sleep problems not only for snorers, but for everyone around them as well. Fortunately, snoring is not a hopeless case. Here are steps you can take to handle a snoring partner:

1. Make Sure You Are Sleeping On A High Quality Mattress

You may be surprised to know that sleeping on a low quality mattress can actually be the cause of your partner’s snoring! If your mattress is old and sags in the middle, this will affect the position of your partner’s neck when they are asleep, blocking their airway in the throat. Once you’ve got a nice, high quality mattress, remember to raise your bed up by about four inches. Doing this will help keep throat tissues and the tongue from plugging up your partner’s airway, greatly reducing the chances of them snoring throughout the night.

2. A Weighty Issue

Unfortunately, snoring tends to be more prevalent in those who are overweight as they tend to have bulky throat tissue. If your snoring partner is above their ideal weight, this could be one of the reasons they are keeping you up at night. The good news, however, is that this is completely reversible. Encourage your partner to adopt a healthy eating and exercise plan in order to shed the excess kilos.

3. Stay Away From The Booze

Do you ever notice that your partner’s snoring gets even worse after a night out to the bar? This is because alcohol relaxes the muscles around the throat, making everything, well, floppier. The floppier muscles are around the airway, the greater the constriction for air to flow through. Avoiding alcohol in the evening or prior to bedtime can often lead to a much more peaceful night’s sleep for both you and your partner.

4. Where There Is Smoke, There Is Snoring

Smoking can cause or worsen a bad case of snoring. Cigarette smoke has the ability to swells the mucous membranes of the throat. In addition to this, it limits your oxygen intake to the lungs. If that is not bad enough, smoking can also cause blockages to form in the nose and throat. All of these are factors that can lead directly to snoring. If your partner is a smoker, encourage them to quit the habit, or purchase them nicotine patches as an alternative to smoking cigarettes.

5. Stay Well Hydrated

Many people are unaware to the fact that being dehydrated can actually cause one to snore at night. Secretions in your nose and soft palate become stickier when you’re dehydrated, which can directly cause a person to snore more. Healthy women should guzzle down about 2.5 litres of total water (both from all drinks and food) a day; whilst men require about 4 litres of water a day.

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Sleep Woes – How to Deal with a Snoring Partner

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benefits of napping

Benefits of Napping – Afternoon Naps Help Improve Emotional and Mental Health

In a Wall Street Journal infographic, entitled “How to Take the Perfect Nap,” researcher suggests the most useful nap depends on what the napper needs.

Contrary to popular belief, the perfect nap doesn’t need to be long — but it must be consistent, quick, and in the dark. The power nap (10 to 20 minutes) is ideal for a boost in focus and productivity, according to a 2012 study. Researchers found the 10-minute nap produced immediate improvements in sleep latency, sleepiness, fatigue, vigor, and cognitive performance. The 20-minute nap, however, produced improvements 35 minutes after napping, and lasting up to 125 minutes.

Although it may be tempting to stay asleep, a 30-minute nap can lead to sleep inertia, or the feeling of grogginess and disorientation that comes when waking up. A 2015 study found sleeping for up to 30 minutes can reverse the hormonal impact of a poor night’s sleep. Researchers claim their study is the first to find napping could be used to restore biomarkers of neuroendocrine and immune health back to what’s considered normal.

Napping for more than 90 minutes usually goes through ever sleep stage, including REM and deep, slow-wave sleep, which helps to clear the mind, improve memory recall, and restore lost sleep. Interestingly, naps that include a full sleep cycle limit sleep inertia and make it easier for us to wake up.

Remember, napping later in the day can interfere with us falling asleep at night, and disrupt our body clock. So nap responsibly.

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Benefits of Napping – Afternoon Naps Help Improve Emotional and Mental Health

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how to put kids to sleep

How to Put Kids to Sleep Without Medication

About 70 per cent of children have trouble sleeping and almost one-third of those are medicated by their parents to help them, according to a new study by the Canadian Paediatric Society.

The parents were asked about their children’s sleep problems and whether they medicate them for it.

“It’s pretty high, 70 per cent,” said Wendy Hall, a nursing professor and a University of British Columbia researcher.

What is alarming for Hall is that 30 per cent of the parents reported that they were medicating their children with over-the-counter melatonin or Tylenol.

Common Mistakes

Hall has studied child sleep for over a decade and says most parents won’t need to look to medication for help, they just need to practice good sleep hygiene with their children.

She says some common mistakes parents make are:

1. Putting the child to sleep somewhere and then moving them

“That can cause the children to wake up during the night fully, if they come into a light sleep state because that is not where they went to bed,” she said.

2. Not having regular sleep routines

Children who have trouble sleeping often don’t have regular sleep routines.

Hall says the same sleep routines should be used for naps as well.

3. Not sleeping by 9:00 p.m.

She says it’s important that the latest a child goes to bed is 9:00 p.m.

4. Bottles right before bedtime.

Hall says parents shouldn’t give children a bottle right before bedtime.

“Because then children associate feeding and sleeping and can end up waking themselves up in the middle of the night,” she said.

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How to Put Kids to Sleep Without Medication

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good sleep position

A Good Sleep Position that Can Lower the Risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

We already know that sleeping on your side is, broadly speaking, very good for you. It clears the airwaves and helps you breathe, allowing for a potentially better night’s sleep. It can help with back and posture problems. It offers safety against sleep apnea.

But now there’s a far more vital reason to consider rolling over: sleeping on your side could benefit your brain health.

A new study by Stony Brook University reveals that this side position, a.k.a. “lateral position”, is the most effective in removing the brain’s waste products, which we naturally build up over the course of the day. It is believed that sleep is our body’s way of getting rid of this waste.

Even other animals seem to naturally prefer this position – including rodents used in the study.

“It is interesting that the lateral sleep position is already the most popular in human and most animals – even in the wild,” said research co-author Maiken Nedergaard, “and it appears that we have adapted the lateral sleep position to most efficiently clear our brain of the metabolic waste products that built up while we are awake”.

“The study therefore adds further support to the concept that sleep subserves a distinct biological function of sleep and that is to ‘clean up’ the mess that accumulates while we are awake”.

“Many types of dementia are linked to sleep disturbances, including difficulties in falling asleep… It is increasingly acknowledged that these sleep disturbances may accelerate memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease”.

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A Good Sleep Position that Can Lower the Risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

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best sleeping environment

How to Set Up the Best Sleeping Environment for a Good Night’s Rest

Dark, quiet, cool but not cold, not too humid or dry, calm and uncluttered – that’s the perfect setup for sleeping. So find a noise-free room, clear a space near your bed and turn down your thermostat, because better sleep leads to better health. Here are tips to reduce noise, help you unwind and make your bedroom a serene oasis for sleep.

Make Space

Having a super-cluttered bedroom may affect how well you sleep, suggests a recent study led by clinical psychologist Pamela Thacher. The study focused on hoarders but may as well apply to who sleeps in cramped and disorganized surroundings.

Because the bedroom is a private space, it’s easier to let disorder grow. Bedrooms are often the biggest problem for hoarders.

“A cool bedroom but also a clean bedroom might set your mind at rest,” Thacher says. “This might be something we could add to sleep hygiene.”

Sleep Cool

Light clothing, no blankets and a thermostat set at 66 degrees combine to create a cool, healthy sleep atmosphere. Mild cold prompts your body to make more “good” brown fat by transforming stored white fat and sugars into energy to keep you warm, says Dr. Francesco Celi, who led a 2014 National Institutes of Health study on the effects of overnight room temperatures.

Small, persistent changes in the temperature of your environment make a difference, Celi says: “The effects are very small in terms of body weight, but can be potentially important with respect of the glucose metabolism.” It’s possible, his results suggest, that cooler sleep could have health implications for people at risk for diabetes.

Read the Old-School Way

Reading a boring book to put yourself to sleep may backfire with an e-reader, according to a small study appearing last January in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Participants who read an electronic book with a light-emitting device before bed took longer to fall asleep, produced less of the sleep-hormone melatonin and were less alert the next morning than those who read a printed book.

Block Out Noise

It’s not rocket science that noise hampers sleep – or that traffic sounds can keep you awake. Dr. Mathias Basner, an associate professor of sleep and chronobiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, took a look at the effects of living near airport, rail and road traffic – alone or combined. “It can be very disruptive,” he says.

A simple fix can ease rail or roadside noise. “If you have the option to move your bedroom to the side of the house that is not exposed to traffic, that can be very effective,” Basner says. “If your window’s facing the backyard, your noise levels may be much, much lower in rooms that are not facing the roadway.”

Earplugs help some people more than others, Basner says. People who don’t tolerate earplugs may get too distracted from internal noise, such as the sound of their heart beating or stomach growling. “Usually [earplugs] are very good for blocking out the higher frequencies in the sound spectrum,” he says. But they’re not as effective for blocking low-frequency, rumbling noise, like the kind you get near a railway.

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Relaxation Techniques Before Bedtime

How to Get Quality Sleep – Relaxation Techniques Before Bedtime

It’s a well-known fact that sleep deprivation can seriously impact our performance and well-being. But because of our busy lifestyles, sleep is regularly pushed toward the bottom of our list of priorities.

From the new book One Second Ahead there are three simple guidelines that can help you get better sleep plus advice on sleeping mindfully.

1. It’s all about melatonin.

A complex mixture of neurochemicals in your brain and body – the most important of which is melatonin – determines the quality of your sleep.

The release of melatonin has its own rhythm over a 24-hour period: from very low in the daytime, rising through the evening, and peaking around 2am.

The key to catching the melatonin wave is to be mindful: have awareness of the natural drowsiness and relaxation that occur toward the end of the evening and maintain that awareness as you prepare for bed.

2. Avoid blue light (screens) 60 minutes before sleep.

Save the dishes, walking the dog, listening to music or taking out the trash for the last hour of the evening.

These kind of perceptual activities aid better sleep especially since too much thinking is yet another enemy of late evening natural relaxation and drowsiness.

3. Falling asleep mindfully.

What does your bedroom look like? Is it clean or cluttered? A calm space or a chaotic one?

The more you can do to turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary, the better off you’ll be. Allow your bedroom to be a non-conceptual place.

Leave your screens, serious conversations, and thinking at the door.

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How to Get Quality Sleep – Relaxation Techniques Before Bedtime

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stress from lack of sleep

How to Cope with Irritability and Stress from Lack of Sleep

According to one of the findings of a new sleep survey conducted by One Poll,  people commonly attributed their irritability, poor eating habits, and forgetfulness to lack of sleep.

If you experience the same, these tips will help you fight these negative health effects.

Increase your diet of positive emotions.

Our brains are hardwired to notice, seek out, and remember negative events and information. It’s called the negativity bias. Negative emotions command your attention during the day and have physiological consequences that can interfere with sleep. According to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, one of the world’s leading researchers of the benefits of positive emotions, positive emotions are linked to biological markers of health. She states that, “With positivity you are literally steeped in a different biochemical stew.” As a result, positivity brings better sleep. Fredrickson suggests that one way to enhance positive emotions is to pick a positive emotion and create a portfolio. I started a gratitude portfolio where I keep emails and notes from people I have worked with over the years. Those notes have helped me stay the course in my business on days when the world looks a little frustrating.

Develop more of a “stress helps” mindset.

Sixty-two percent of the sleep survey respondents reported that stress often causes them to wake up in a bad mood. A new science of stress is emerging that challenges the often-reported notion that all stress is bad and debilitating. According to psychologist Alia Crum, ARM yourself with this three-step process to help you practice a “stress helps” mindset:

1. (Acknowledge) stress when you experience it and notice how it impacts you psychologically and physically.
2. (Recognize) that stress is a response to something you care about. Try to connect to the positive motivation behind the stress.
3. (Make use) of the energy stress gives you.

Crum and her colleagues found that people who endorse a “stress helps” mindsetreport less depression and anxiety, higher levels of energy, work performance, and life satisfaction.

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How to Cope with Irritability and Stress from Lack of Sleep

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tips for improved sleep

Tips for Improved Sleep on Athletic Bodies

Seventy-five percent of athletes are sleep deprived—which can lower immunity, alter cognition, slow reaction time, and lengthen recovery. But until recently, athletes, physicians with little training in sleep medicine, and coaches who didn’t understand the shuteye/success link shared a blasé attitude toward sleep. Today, teams are smartening up, and even hiring sleep consultants. Stated below are best sleep advice for athletes coming from the top sleep experts.

1. Do a 3-week early bedtime trial.

“There is no way to cheat sleep and still pursue optimal athletic performance. There will be a price to be paid. I’d challenge people to prioritize sleep for three weeks. Go to bed when you feel tired—there’s no rule about any bedtime being too early. Listen to your body. High-performance athletes are used to doing this. See how you feel during day and how you perform athletically. What happens is, people realize how powerful sleep can be, then they gladly elevate sleep on their list of priorities.” — Nathaniel F. Watson, M.D., President of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), and board-certified in sleep medicine and neurology

2. Drop the temperature.

“Athletes often ‘sleep hot’. They sweat a lot at night—that has to do with metabolic activity being higher. So a cooler bed environment makes a lot of sense.” — W. Christopher Winter, M.D., medical director of the Martha Jefferson Sleep Medicine Center in Charlottesville, Virginia, who consults elite athletes on sleep

3. Build in wind-down time.

“Prioritize a regular 20- to 30-minute routine before bed to help your body anticipate sleep—journal, meditate, or read a book. I also recommend light stretching or yoga and often suggest partnering this with breathing exercises to activate the parasympathetic system, which can aid in relaxing and calming your body.” — Cheri Mah, a sleep and athletic performance research scientist at the University of California, San Francisco and Stanford University who advises teams in the NBA, NFL, and NHL

“We speculate on the amount of time that you should cut out electronics before bed—but my own personal advice is to eliminate it 4 hours before bedtime. Athletes need to be developing skills where they are not engaged, so they can relax. There’s no question that the light on these devices has an impact on sleep, but I think the inner activity and interaction they cause is more of an issue.” —Charles H. Samuels M.D., medical director at the Centre for Sleep and Human Performance in Calgary who has served as a sleep and performance consultant for the Calgary Flames.

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Tips for Improved Sleep on Athletic Bodies

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Healthy Sleeping Tips

Healthy Sleeping Tips For Better Productivity

Forget all-nighters. Anyone who longs to be more productive during the day may need to look at their sleep habits as the secret to maximizing your work potential could be linked to your nightly slumber. Highly effective people know the importance of a good night’s rest. And while it may feel like there are never enough hours in the day, making these simple changes may improve your mood and turn you into the productive person you long to be.

1. Become Your Alarm Clock

If you are someone who needs your alarm to get you up in the morning – or worse, you continue to hit the snooze button for a long as possible – you most likely need to get more sleep.

And while the National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep for adults between the ages of 26 and 64.

However, in order to pinpoint how many hours you really need the organizations advises people to pay attention to their own individual needs by assessing how they feel on different amounts of sleep.

2. Set a Bedtime

Strict bedtimes aren’t just for children as it is equally important for adults to develop consistent sleep patterns. Sleeping inconsistently can feel similar to jet lag because it affects your body’s internal clock or a circadian rhythm (body clock). Allowing your body’s internal clock get used to a certain bedtime will help you fall asleep faster and wake up more easily.

3. Take Naps

Depending on your employer, sleeping on the job isn’t always a bad think. More and more companies, particularly tech companies, are creating nap rooms for its employees because scientific research suggests that sleep can help increase productivity.

3. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

A few glasses of wine may help ease your mind and put you to bed, but it will also disrupt your sleep and cause you to wake up in the middle of the night.

Alcohol reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is important for increasing learning potential, and the more you drink, the more you are affected.

Similarly, caffeine also affects your sleep, and according to one study conducted at the Sleep Disorders & Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital, caffeine taken six hours before bedtime or less contributes to significant sleep disruptions.

Because people react to caffeine differently, the National Sleep Foundation suggests that people who are sensitive to its effects should avoid consuming coffee, soda or chocolate after lunch time.

4. Create an ideal sleep environment

Making your bedroom the ideal environment for sleep is in an important factor when trying to achieve the perfect’s nice rest.

The National Sleep Foundation advises that you evaluate your bedroom to ensure it is the ideal temperature, between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, and void of artificial light, which disrupts the body’s internal clock.

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Healthy Sleeping Tips For Better Productivity




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