5 secrets to help you get your best night’s sleep
Spring and summer seem to have a way of scaring off the Sandman. The extra sunlight keeps us out and about later (heck, yes, we love a weeknight outdoor concert!). Then there are allergies, which can mean we’re up sniffling and rubbing our itchy eyes. And, those warming temperatures, while wonderful, can translate to uncomfortable night sweats.
But researchers stress just how important a sound night’s sleep of seven to eight hours is for our health and diet. For starters, getting enough sleep helps keep off pounds. A study in March from the University of Colorado found people who are sleep-deprived tend to do more mindless, unhealthy snacking. Need more convincing? Getting enough rest boosts your memory and cognitive skills, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Here are five ways you can get a great night’s sleep in these warmer months, without counting sheep:
- Eat a smart snack. Instead of grabbing a sleeping pill, try snacking on a banana. The fruit contains relaxing sleep agent hormones like melatonin and serotonin. Magnesium in bananas also helps relax muscles. Other melatonin-packed fruits are grapes and cherries.
- Cool down your house. Bats get 16 blissful hours a sleep a day. Remember that and make your bedroom like a cave — cool, dark and quiet. In general, a temperature of 68 degrees in your bedroom is ideal, according to the AASM. If too much light sneaks into your room, get an eye mask or black out curtains.
- Power down. Shut down your computer, television, tablets and DVD player. Even the tiniest glow can throw off your body’s sleep cues.
- Work out smartly. Regular exercise can help you get a better night’s sleep. Bonus if you can wrap up your workout at least six hours before bed time. Working out increases your core temperature, and you want to be cool when you sleep. Also, if you chug a lot of water at the gym, you don’t want to have to wake up for potty breaks throughout the night.
- Keep a schedule. Wake up at the same time every morning — even on weekends and when you’re on vacation. If you must “sleep in” on the weekends, give yourself an hour’s leeway. Set your alarm 30 minutes before you go to bed so you know it’s time to unplug, unwind and relax. Staying on schedule will help you feel more relaxed.
Take a look at your bedding. It may be time to replace your pillows. Find a wide selection of pillows — including hypoallergenic and memory foam options — at J.C. Penney’s.
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