What percentage of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep? Would you believe it is a whopping 70%? There really is something to that little saying about getting your beauty sleep! Not getting enough rest will take a toll on your looks and it may be so gradual that you won’t really see how dramatic it can be. Truly, getting too little sleep may slow collagen production and promote wrinkles.
So how can this be helped? Well, maybe you just need some advice about how to wind down, perk up in the morning and feel your best all day.
First off, let’s talk about how you go to sleep. It may be beneficial to snack yourself to sleep. No kidding! Eating a small carb-heavy snack with a little protein 1-2 hours before you catch some zzz’s will trigger your brain to produce the calming neurotransmitter serotonin. Try a rice cake with some peanut butter or ice cream with berries.
Another way to fall into a deeper, more restful sleep is by keeping cool at night. It will signal your body to sleep more deeply! Try 68 degrees and see how it works. You should also avoid having blinking lights in the room when you fall asleep. Your Blackberry, computer, tv, you name it. The blinking lights can disrupt slumber. Also, if you have to wake to use the bathroom in the night, keep the light on a dimmer so you can turn it on very low. Even a short exposure to the bright light of your bathroom in the night will lower levels of melatonin, making it more difficult to fall asleep.
What about mornings? You’ve rested and it feels so hard to get yourself out of bed now. Waking up is tough to do but try these tricks to see if one might work for you. You need to stop your habit of hitting snooze. The fragmented sleep before you wake up can leave you more groggy so you are setting yourself up for feeling more sleepy. Instead, place your alarm clock across the room so you are forced to get up and shut it off–and then stay UP!
Your body will appreciate hitting the gym in the morning. Exercise will increase blood pressure and heart rate and activates the whole nervous system, which gives you a healthy boost in the morning. You should also pay close attention to what you eat and drink in the morning. Down a couple of glasses of plain water as soon as the alarm goes off. We all wake up dehydrated and every biochemical reaction relies on us having enough water–like our thinking processes and muscle contractions. One thing you want to avoid in the morning is carbohydrates like bagels. After giving you a quick spike in blood-sugar levels, simple carbohydrates will leave you more sluggish than before. A better choice would be a protein shake or a piece of whole-grain toast with fruit or yogurt.
Java lovers? Ok, we’ve got one to make you smile here. Ingesting some caffeine in the morning will not only inhibit the body’s chemicals responsible for drowsiness but will also prompt the release of adrenaline, which increases blood flow to the muscles, speeds the heart rate and opens the lungs’ breathing tubes. An 8 ounce cup in the morning (about 50 mg of caffeine) is enough to kick-start most people. In fact, the best brew is a latte. The proteins and carbohydrates in milk are ideal for fueling the brain and muscles.
So there you have it…put these to the test and let us know how it is working for you! Happy sleeping!