The sleep stakes are high: Getting enough shut-eye makes you feel better, eat better (and less), and have more energy. It also reduces your risk of chronic inflammation and serious illness. If that’s not motivation enough to turn off your television and hit the hay, we don’t know what is! Of course, getting the rest you need isn’t always as simple as just closing your eyes. The quality of your sleep is a result of how you spend your time from morning to night, says Michelle Drerup, PsyD, a sleep specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. Make sound sleep an all-day affair with these steps:
- Get up and get out: Go out and walk in the a.m.! Natural sunlight in the morning hours will help to normalize your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle so that you’re tired at bedtime. It’ll help your mood too.
- Move that body: Physical activity helps you fall asleep and stay asleep, but it’s all about the “when.” Make the sweaty stuff happen no closer than an hour and a half before bed.
- Give stress the heave-ho: Sleep-stealing stress doesn’t stand a chance when you learn your limits and stick to them. Drop “shoulds” from your to-do list, and send perfectionism packing.
- Eat, drink, and be rested: A nighttime snack (at least 2 hours before bedtime) that contains the amino acid tryptophan may send you to the Land of Nod sooner. Try turkey, chicken, eggs, peanut butter, pumpkin seeds and nuts.
"Sleep is that golden chain that ties our health and body together." Thomas Dekker