30 Ways to Guarantee a Good Night’s Sleep

30 Ways to Guarantee a Good Night’s Sleep


30 Ways to Guarantee a Good Night’s Sleep

Can’t remember the last time you got a good night’s sleep? Were not surprised. The negative effects of too little sleep go beyond dozing off during meetings, or being irritable with the kids. It can lead to high blood pressure, high levels of LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol, high blood sugar, obesity, or memory loss (or worse). To make sure you’re getting the perfect amount of rest, don’t miss these 30 Ways to Guarantee a Good Night’s Sleep.

1. Tryp Your Sleep Switch

Don’t count sheep, eat lamb! Or better yet, a bit of turkey. Tryptophan, an amino acid found in most meats, has demonstrated powerful sleep-inducing effects. A study among insomniacs found that just 1/4 gram—about what you’ll find in a skinless chicken drumstick or three ounces of lean turkey meat—was enough to increase hours of deep sleep significantly. And that can translate into easy weight loss.

The Remedy Rx: «Any tryptophan-containing food, which includes nuts, chicken, fish, lentils, and eggs, can help usher in sleepyhead syndrome,» says Julia Falamas, director of programming and operations at Epic Hybrid Training fitness studio. «If you’re the type who can’t sleep on an empty stomach, a healthy source of fat like avocado or nut butter can help stave off hunger, while providing restorative properties,» she adds.

2. Schedule Tea Time

«There is something about the ritual of sitting down to a soothing cup of tea that tells your brain to slow down and relax,» says Falamas. «Some of the best teas for sleep are chamomile, peppermint, lavender and valerian, which actually does have some sedative properties.»

The Remedy Rx: Certain teas also have magical weight-loss properties, from dimming your hunger hormones to upping your calorie burn to—literally—melting the fat that’s stored in your fat cells.

3. Eat Whole Grains at Lunch

You know to avoid big meals, coffee, colas, and alcohol before bed, but did you know that it’s best to eat your complex carbohydrates at lunchtime, not with dinner? «Serotonin converts to melatonin in your stage 3 REM sleep, and serotonin is sourced from whole-grain complex carbohydrates. So you don’t need to have carbs before bed to sleep, just have them at some point through the day,» says Cat Smiley, owner of Whistler Fitness Vacations, a weight-loss retreat for women.

The Remedy Rx: Also, to meet your daily fiber goal, «about 20 grams of insoluble fiber is important to enable you to sleep, so aim to eat that daily, and you’ll ensure you can convert enough serotonin to sleep well.» That’s about two pieces of whole grain sprouted bread (we like Ezekiel Bread )—avocado toast beckons!—or a cup of brown rice.

4. If You Eat at Night, Keep it Small

While you shouldn’t go to bed starving (that presents its own sleepytime problems), you also shouldn’t hit the sack completely stuffed. When you eat a large meal before bed, your body is working to digest it long into the night—and if your body is still worked up, so are you. The later you fall asleep, the less rest you’ll get, and you’ll wake up feeling groggy and more likely to reach for calorie-dense items.

The Remedy Rx: Instead of eating a monster meal for dinner, try to keep portions about the same as your breakfast and lunch, especially if you eat dinner on the later side. «You want to eat your last meal at least an hour or two before going to bed,» says Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN.

5. Better Yet, Set Strict Kitchen Hours

Nighttime fasting—aka closing the kitchen early—may help you lose more weight, even if you eat more food throughout the day, according to a study in the journal Cell Metabolism. Researchers put groups of mice on a high-fat, high-calorie diet for 100 days. Half of them were allowed to nibble throughout the night and day on a healthy, controlled diet, while the others only had access to food for eight hours, but could eat whatever they wanted. The result of the 16-hour food ban? The fasting mice stayed lean, while the mice who noshed ’round the clock became obese—even though both groups consumed the same amount of calories!

The Remedy Rx: Experiment with closing the kitchen at 8 pm and skipping breakfast.

6. Shake Things Up

Having a protein shake before hitting the sack may boost your metabolism, according to one Florida State University study. Researchers found that men who consumed an evening snack that included 30 grams of protein had a higher resting metabolic rate the next morning than when eating nothing. Protein is more thermogenic than carbs or fat, meaning your body burns more calories digesting it.

The Remedy Rx: Use vegan protein which will give you the same fat-burning, hunger-squelching, muscle-building benefits, without the bloating that comes from whey.

7. Make a Mint

Certain scents can make your mouth water, and others can actually suppress your appetite. One study published in the Journal of Neurological and Orthopaedic Medicine found that people who sniffed peppermint every two hours lost an average of 5 pounds a month! Banana, green apple, and vanilla had similar effects.

The Remedy Rx: Consider burning a minty candle until you head to bed to fill the room with slimming smells. If you don’t want to bother with blowing out candles before you turn down the covers, try adding a few drops of peppermint oil to your pillow.

8. Let in the Cold

A striking new study published in the journal Diabetes suggests that simply blasting the air conditioner or turning down the heat in winter may help us attack belly fat while we sleep. Colder temperatures subtly enhance the effectiveness of our stores of brown fat—fat keeps you warm by helping you burn through the fat stored in your belly. Participants spent a few weeks sleeping in bedrooms with varying temperatures: a neutral 75 degrees, a cool 66 degrees, and a balmy 81 degrees. After four weeks of sleeping at 66 degrees, the subjects had almost doubled their volumes of brown fat. (And yes, that means they lost belly fat.)

The Remedy Rx: Keep it cool.

9. Throw Out the Night Light

Exposure to light at night doesn’t just interrupt your chances of a great night’s sleep, it may also result in weight gain according to a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Study subjects who slept in the darkest rooms were 21 percent less likely to be obese than those sleeping in the lightest rooms.

The Remedy Rx: That leads us to our next sleep-slimming trick….

10. Hide the IPad

Research suggests that the more electronics we bring into the bedroom, the fatter we get—especially among children. A study in the Pediatric Obesity journal found that kids who bask in the nighttime glow of a TV or computer don’t get enough rest and suffer from poor lifestyle habits. Researchers found that students with access to one electronic device were 1.47 times as likely to be overweight as kids with no devices in the bedroom. That increased to 2.57 times for kids with three devices.

The Remedy Rx: Leave your iPad in the living room. You spouse might thank you, too.

11. And Switch off Fallon, Too

Did you know lean people watch less TV? A recent analysis of studies found that for every two hours spent watching TV, the risk of developing diabetes, developing heart disease, and early death increased by 20, 15 and 13 percent, respectively. Scientists are still figuring out exactly why sitting is so detrimental to health, but one obvious and partial explanation is that the less we move, the less fuel we require; the surplus blood sugar floods the bloodstream and contributes to diabetes and other weight-related risks.

The Remedy Rx: Discover how just a few other easy tweaks can help you lose up to 4 inches from your waist—fast—with these 25 Best-Ever Nutrition Tips !

12. Blackout with Blackout Shades

Light-blocking curtains make a huge difference when it comes to falling asleep. Outside light makes it harder for your mind to shut down, even if you think you’re immune to such instinctive signals. Melatonin, the hormone involved in putting your body to sleep, is compromised when light is present.

The Remedy Rx: «Darken your room so that going to bed, even early, feels natural,» Smiley suggests.

13. Take a Hot Shower

If you normally bathe in the A.M., listen up. «A hot shower is great for ensuring a good night’s sleep because it can help relieve tension and relax sore muscles. Additionally, it can increase the level of oxytocin—a «love» hormone released by your brain—which can be very soothing,» says Falamas. The heat from the shower also gives your body temperature a lift, resulting in a quick drop in temp when you get out and towel off, a dip that helps relax your entire system. A hot bath will also have the same effect.

The Remedy Rx: A shower takes just minutes.

14. Get the Night-time Blues

There’s a reason why McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s all have the same red-and-yellow theme colors. Those tones supposedly send us subliminal messages that help make us hungry. Does the same trick work at home? An experiment published in the interior design magazine Contract presented partygoers with three identical venues painted different colors: red, yellow and blue. Participants reported the red and yellow rooms to be equally appetizing (and ate the most in the yellow room) but found the food in the blue room only half as appealing. A separate study also found a blue room reduces blood pressure and slows your heart rate!

The Remedy Rx: To decrease your appetite, eat off blue plates. And next time your kitchen is in need of a fresh coat of paint, consider using an ocean-inspired hue.

15. Don’t Work Out Late

Regular workouts have been found to help ease sleepless nights, but hitting the gym too late can mess with your body clock. Exercising close to bedtime—within about two hours—can energize your body so much that it may not be able to wind down when it’s time to call it a night.

The Remedy Rx: If you’re not a morning person, try to exercise right after work or midday if your schedule allows. That way, you can head home, eat dinner and relax knowing you’ll be able to fall fast asleep when the time comes. If you’re stuck at the office really late, you’re better off skipping your workout for the night and hitting the hay early. If your body gets the rest it needs you’re more likely to stay on track with your healthy eating and workouts in the days that follow.

16. Instead, Get Your «Om» On

Striking some poses before bed can have a powerful influence on sleep quality because of yoga’s focus on breathing and meditation. «Yoga offers a variety of benefits, from increased flexibility and strength to a calmer mind,» says Mark Balfe-Taylor, director of yoga at TruFusion.

The Remedy Rx: He recommends the Deaf Man’s Pose (shown here). «It can calm the nervous system, release the shoulders and neck and, most importantly, allows you to focus inward, block out stress and relax,» he says.

17. Make Dinner— then Make Whoopie

Wanna sleep better and lose more weight? Have more s**. A new study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine shows that for every extra hour of sleep women got, their s**ual desire increased accordingly. And a separate study showed that the more s** you get, the better you sleep, and the more weight you lose.

The Remedy Rx: Consider sex important to your health.

18. Splurge on a Pillow

When it comes to a better night’s sleep, some gadgets are total ripoffs (like those as-seen-on-TV anti-snoring contraptions), but investing in the right pillow is key. «Buying an orthopedic pillow keeps your neck aligned. You’ll wake up in the morning with no neck pain,» says Smiley.

The Remedy Rx: You can find one at your local chiropractor’s clinic, most places that sell bedding, and even online.

19. Skip the Chocolate

Don’t get us wrong; we love chocolate. In fact, any bar that contains at least 70% cacao is one of our favorite low-sugar snacks or desserts because of its high concentration of antioxidants and stress-busting abilities. Unfortunately, if eaten too late that chocolate could be the reason you can’t fall asleep. Dark chocolate contains caffeine, which can prevent your body from shutting down when you want it to if you’re sensitive to the compound.

The Remedy Rx: Chocolate bars have varying amounts of caffeine, but an average two-ounce, 70 percent dark chocolate bar contains around 79 milligrams. For reference, an eight-ounce cup of coffee contains around 145 milligrams.

20. Have Just the Right Amount of Wine

Wine is our favorite «healthy» alcoholic drink due to its resveratrol—a plant compound that has been linked to heart-healthy benefits. However, that evening glass of wine is also considered a high-sugar beverage, according to Smith, and drinking too much can hinder your ability to snooze. It may feel like that nightly glass of wine is relaxing you and helping you fall asleep faster, but it actually prevents your body from fully indulging in its REM (Rapid Eye Movement) cycle, which is where truly restful sleep and dreaming occurs.

The Remedy Rx: Enjoy a glass earlier in the night—about two hours before bedtime—to avoid sleep disruption, and close the home bar after one or two glasses, tops.

21. Don’t Drink a Warm Glass of Milk

You thought it helped, right? The basis of this myth comes from the fact that milk is full of tryptophan—the amino acid that serves as a precursor for the sleep-inducing hormone serotonin. But here’s the tricky part: in order for tryptophan to turn into serotonin, it has to journey into your brain. The only way it can do this is by outcompeting other amino acids for a spot. Unfortunately for milk lovers, MIT researchers discovered that high-protein foods (like milk) make it hard for tryptophan to enter the brain; high-carb foods, on the other hand, make it easier (so perhaps combining your glass of milk with a bowl of rice cereal may work). Psychologists speculate the fact it does help people sleep is because the routine of drinking the milk may condition your body to associate this act with falling asleep, which is why having a nightly routine can help you get better sleep .

The Remedy Rx: Try a glass of mint tea instead.

22. Use Bright Light

«Avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning. This will keep your circadian rhythms in check,» recommends the National Sleep Foundation.

The Remedy Rx: In the wintertime, consider a lamp used for Seasonal Affective Disorder, like the Carex Day-Light Classic Plus, Light Therapy Lamp.

23. Don’t Watch TV Before Bed

Sure, it might make you think you’re relaxing, but in reality, that nightly Netflix isn’t doing much good. The blue light emitted from your TV, computer, and phone (and even the wrong light bulb ) can trick your brain into thinking it’s time to be awake by messing with your circadian rhythm. You see, blue light inhibits production of the sleep-rhythm-regulating hormone melatonin, which means your body won’t be getting the alerts that it’s time to rest your head on a pillow.

The Remedy Rx: Try to power down your electronic devices at least an hour before bed.

24. Personalize Your Sleep Schedule

We know, we know. We’re always recommending you get those 8 hours of expert-recommended sleep, but it turns out that what works for you might not work for the next person. Some people can function on 6, while others need 9—those 8 hours are just an average guideline.

The Remedy Rx: One way to tell if your 7 hours is enough is to see if you fall asleep as soon as you hit the hay. If that’s the case, you’re likely not getting enough sleep, as it should take about 15 minutes for generally well-rested people to drift off. Although your magic sleep number may differ from your friend’s, what is the same is that you should make sleeping a priority.

25. Don’t Sleep With Pets (This Varies)

Sleeping with your furry friend can be both a help and a hindrance. It all depends on you! In 2016, the Mayo Clinic’s Center for Sleep Medicine found that 41 percent of participants reported that sleeping with their pets actually helped them sleep better because it gave them a sense of security. On the other hand, 20 percent of pet owners admitted that they found their pets to be disruptive.

The Remedy Rx: We’d never tell you not to sleep with your pet. But we are telling you Fido or Mittens may be disrupting your sleep.

26. You’re Eating the Wrong Thing Late at Night

Munching on a snack before bed isn’t necessarily a diet no-no. In fact, going to bed with a rumbling tummy may hurt your slim-down efforts by preventing you from falling asleep or waking you up mid-slumber. On the other hand, if you do decide to eat something—and it’s the wrong thing, like a high-sugar or fatty meal that can either spike and crash your blood sugar and wake you up with a hungry tummy or keep your body up working to digest it—you can also disrupt your sleep.

The Remedy Rx: Eat a bowl of Rice Krispies with banana. Works every time.

27. Eat Foods with Magnesium

A recent study published in the Journal of Research and Medical Sciences found that adults with insomnia who ingested magnesium supplements before bed improved their quality of sleep by extending the time they spent sleeping and making it easier to wake up in the morning. Luckily, you don’t have to invest in a tablet to reap the benefits.

The Remedy Rx: There are plenty of foods teeming with this muscle-relaxing mineral, such as—you guessed it—avocados, bananas, spinach, and pumpkin seeds.

28. Keep a Regular Sleep Schedule

Studies show that if you go to bed at the same time every night, your brain will begin to shut down right on time. The trick is to keeping consistent.

The Remedy Rx: Use a journal to track when you go to sleep and when you wake up, so you can stay on target. Use your phone’s alarm if that helps.

29. Invest in the Right Mattress

Before buying one online or overpaying at a retail store, keep in mind these key criteria:

  1. Mattress Lifespan
  2. Budget
  3. Type and Material
  4. Your Sleeping Position
  5. Sleeper’s Weight

Those are the key factors, according to SleepAdvisor.org .

The Remedy Rx: Ask the mattress customer service team about all five points and then find the right brand for you.

30. Change Your Sheets

We bet you spend more time choosing your lunch order than you did choosing your sheets. Yet you spend ⅓ of your life in them. Find a nice, breathable cotton and ensure your comforter doesn’t make you sweat.

The Remedy Rx: Tastes vary but we like anything branded «hotel sheets» because we always sleep best in hotels.


10 Rituals to Guarantee a Good Night’s Sleep

How well your body functions tomorrow will be a result of how well you sleep tonight. Biologically speaking, sleep is one of the most important things for you. In addition to being an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, adequate sleep benefits your mind, heart, weight, and more.

Need some convincing to get adequate sleep? Here are some benefits of shuteye: improved memory, longer life, less inflammation, more creativity, better performance, sharper attention, healthier weight, lower stress, less accidents, less anxiety…just to name a few.

If sleep is so important, than why are so many bad at hitting the pillow? Consider these findings from the National Sleep Foundation (NSF):

“…millions of people do not get enough sleep and many suffer from lack of sleep…surveys conducted by the NSF (1999-2004) reveal that at least 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders and 60 percent of adults report having sleep problems a few nights a week or more. Most of those with these problems go undiagnosed and untreated…more than 40 percent of adults experience daytime sleepiness severe enough to interfere with their daily activities at least a few days each month…69 percent of children experience one or more sleep problems a few nights or more during a week.”

These statistics are staggering, and clearly indicate a need for some of us to change our bedtime habits. There is only one way to do this: evaluate what you do before bedtime and change your habits, it needed.

These 10 sleep rituals will get you to la-la land in no time!

#1 Establish a pre-sleep ritual

Relaxing activities such as taking a bath and reading a book, or doing relaxation exercises makes the transition to sleep much easier. Bathe with bath salts and lavender to further enhance relaxation and then do some light reading (no “Pride and Prejudice, in other words). Whatever feels most comfortable to you to bring yourself to a calm, relaxed state is what will ultimately help you sleep the best.

Also, shun doing anything stressful or stimulating such as work before bed. Stressful activities, whether physical or emotional, cause the release of the stress hormone cortisol which increases alertness.

#2 Have a sleep-inducing environment

Try to limit your bedroom to sleep. Consider getting rid of the TV, computer, or other time-sucking gadgets that will entice you to say “just another five minutes.”

Some other things to consider:

– Using earplugs to minimize outside noise.

– Using an eye mask.

– Keep the temperature cool (around 60-75º F)

– Have comfortable mattresses and pillows.

– Using dim, comfortable lighting

#3 Exercise at the right time

Exercise is a great habit that has numerous physical and mental benefits. That being said, you should schedule your exercise sessions at the right time. If you work out too late, it could negatively affect your sleep. This is because exercise releases the stress hormone cortisol.

If done at least three hours before bed, exercise can actually promote falling asleep. Cortisol and other hormones are a non-factor at this point, and your body is ready to rest due to tired muscles.

#4 Eat lighter in the evening

A large meal promotes drowsiness but delays digestion. Digestion of foods late at night will interfere with your sleep, potentially causing you to wake up. Avoid this by eating your largest meal before mid-afternoon, while keeping your evening meal under 500 calories.

Having a healthy bedtime snack is both a great dietary and sleeping habit. Bananas are great because they contain less than 100 calories and have sleep-inducing ingredients such as potassium. They also contain the right amount of carbs, which are great for aiding sleep.

#5 Try some aromatherapy

Research has shown that aromatherapy may be effective in promoting relaxation. Scientists believe that the chemicals contained within some essential oils (such as lavender or chamomile) may trigger some of the brain chemicals involved in sleep.

Using an aromatherapy diffuser is a great way to disperse essential oils. Once dispersed into the air, you should feel calm, relaxed and ready to snooze within 20-30 minutes. You can pick up a good aromatherapy diffuser on Amazon for around 40 bucks.

#6 Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine

While true that alcohol helps to induce sleep, it actually causes a stimulant response in the brain within a few hours. As a result, you will wake up more often and reduce the quality of your sleep later in the night.

Caffeine, as we all know, is a stimulant. Stimulants create feelings of alertness in the body and brain…enough said. It is recommended to abstain from caffeine four to six hours before bedtime. Nicotine acts in the same way, so avoid it.

#7 Set your “internal clock”

This is often overlooked (including by yours truly) but is very important to establishing healthy sleep habits.

You set this internal clock by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. On the weekends, this can be difficult to adhere to for obvious reasons. However, try to stick to these established times as closely as you can in order to avoid feeling sleep-deprived on Monday morning (yuck).

#8 Don’t watch the (alarm) clock

Yes, we have all done it – waking up and glancing at the clock to see how much more precious time of sleep we have. However, if it is within an hour or so until the alarm goes off, this may create the urgency to go back to bed. This is bad because it creates stress, making it much more difficult to get back to sleep.

To counteract this, consider turning the alarm clock around (a mirrored closet door will not work, FYI) or set the alarm on your cell phone and face the screen downward (this does work).

#9 Go to sleep when you’re actually tired

No need to thank us for the revolutionary insight here, folks…you’re welcome. If you find it difficult to fall asleep after about 30 minutes, get up and do something relaxing. This can include some stretches, some light reading, meditation or something else. When you feel your eyelids doing the droopy dance, head back to the sack.

#10 “Bump” some binaural beats

Binaural beats are great for inducing the requisite brain waves for sleep. The brain waves that you desire are Delta (less than 4 Hz) and are meant for deep, dreamless sleep, and Theta (4-7 Hz) which is for non-REM sleep.

You can download some binaural beats off of iTunes or the Play Store (for Android devices) or listen to binaural beats on YouTube.


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