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Are You an Insomniac? How to Get Some Real Shut-Eye

My mother, a cute, sincere Filipina woman, would always have one sole explanation for any time a negative event, no matter how big or small, occurred in my life: “Lack of sleep.”

Bad grades?  Lack of sleep.  Weight gain?  Lack of sleep.  Pimples, stress, fatigue, cramps, split ends, binge fests—all explained away by not getting an adequate amount of snooze.

Do you have trouble falling asleep?  If you find yourself wide awake into the wee hours of the night, pinning your favorite recipes or avidly watching reruns of an old 1990s sitcom on Netflix, you may be  detrimentally affecting your health.  You don’t necessarily have to turn to Ambien or Lunesta.Try the following tips recommended by experts first before seeking out pills or aids:

1.)   Put your cellphone, laptop, and remote control away about thirty minutes before bedtime. Bright screens and moving images keep you alert, causing you to stay awake.  What’s really more important: watching pointless videos on World Star Hip-Hop or getting the proper amount of shut-eye?

2.)   No food at least two hours prior to bedtime.  Eating before bed is never a good idea; sleep is your body’s time to rest and eating before bed keeps your organs working to digest it.  If you still feel absolutely famished, go for protein rather than carbs: almonds, turkey, or a bit of cheese.

3.)   No caffeine in the afternoon or evening.  Drinking coffee, soda, or an energy drink after 3pm is enough to keep you awake for the next twelve hours.  Limit your caffeine intake to the morning, which should be enough to get you going up until bed time.

4.)   No naps after 4pm.  This is probably tough, especially if you work a 9-5 and feel the afternoon slump at 3pm.  Instead of  napping, try working out in the afternoon which can give your body energy but won’t keep you up at night. You can also try reading a book for downtime.

5.)   If you wake up in the middle of the night, do not look at your clock.  As a former sleep-troubled child, this was one of the best tips I personally had ever received.  I would wake up at 1am, look at the time, and be unable to go back to bed.  Once I broke this habit I never had trouble going back to sleep.  Make sure your alarm is set and whenever you wake up, resist the urge to check the time and just let your body go back to bed.

6.)   Meditate while you’re laying in bed.  Go to freemeditation.com for some guided sessions.  If it helps, put on some light and  soothing music to help you fall asleep.  Relax all of your muscles, breathe deeply, clear your mind, and keep your eyes close.  Being so calm should greatly elevate your ability to fall asleep.

7.)   Adjust the temperature in your room to be comfortable.  Being cold keeps you awake; being too hot keeps you sweaty and miserable.  Have as much layer of clothing or blankets on as necessary and try to adjust the thermostat in your home to make it bearable.

8.)   Try to go to bed at the same time every day.  This could be difficult if your schedule is so hectic, but without proper sleep you are inefficient.  Make it a ritual and habitualize yourself, so later on it can be second nature and your sleeping problems will eliminate entirely.

Remember,  according to my mother, lack of sleep leads to things like bad breath or warts so make sure you make it a priority. Sweet dreams, Bauces.

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