Feel Great Af­ter a Bad Night of Sleep

Late nights hap­pen. The baby cries; you put on “just one” episode of Stranger Things. Then you wake up feel­ing out of whack. Here’s how to put a bad night’s sleep to rest.

Mens Health (Australia) - - Health - By Jer­i­lyn Covert

7:00 A.M.

Spend a few min­utes qui­etly watch­ing your thoughts go by, says Dr Ja­son Ong, a sleep psy­chol­o­gist and mind­ful­ness ex­pert. Self-aware­ness will help you cope with the day’s chal­lenges.

7:05 A.M.

Play a video game or read on a lap­top for 10 min­utes, says Dr W. Chris Winter, au­thor of The Sleep So­lu­tion: Why Your Sleep is Bro­ken and How to Fix It. The blue light tells your brain to halt its pro­duc­tion of sleep­pro­mot­ing mela­tonin.

7:15 A.M.

Sore back? Poor sleep may dis­rupt pain reg­u­la­tion sys­tems in your brain. Do the run­ner’s stretch, Winter says. Sit on the floor, ex­tend one leg and reach for your toes, keep­ing your back straight. Switch legs and re­peat.

7:30 A.M.

Have sex. The surge of sero­tonin will help you wake up, says Winter. Even bet­ter, make morn­ing sex a habit: it’ll sig­nal the start of your day and jump­start your in­ter­nal clock, which may help you sleep bet­ter later tonight.

3:00 P.M.

Crav­ing sugar? In a study pub­lished in

Sleep Health, peo­ple who logged five hours of sleep or less drank 21 per cent more soft drink than those who slept seven to eight hours. Snack on fresh fruit or a piece of dark choco­late in­stead.

NOON

Use your lunch break to do some­thing you ac­tu­ally en­joy – you’ll feel more en­er­gised, stud­ies sug­gest. Car­dio in par­tic­u­lar can boost alert­ness, says Winter and head­ing out­doors to get a dose of sun­light also helps.

10:00 A.M.

Scott from cor­po­rate sends you a ty­pofilled re­port. Of course he did! Take deep breaths, says sleep re­searcher Dr Aric Prather. Sleep de­pri­va­tion im­pairs your abil­ity to han­dle frus­trat­ing sit­u­a­tions.

9:05 A.M.

Choose your three most im­por­tant tasks for to­day and back­burner the rest. You don’t need the stress. A 2013 study by The Aus­tralia In­sti­tute found 2.9 mil­lion work­ers have prob­lems sleep­ing, mostly due to work-re­lated stress.

8:30 A.M.

Have some eggs with hot sauce. Pro­tein plus spice is a recipe for alert­ness, says Winter. Your body con­verts pro­tein’s amino acids into brain food, while spicy foods in­ter­rupt sleep sig­nals.

4:00 P.M.

Stash cof­fee beans in your drawer. Take a whiff: the smell can boost alert­ness, says be­havioural sci­en­tist Dr Wendy Troxel. And it won’t dis­rupt that night’s sleep the way an af­ter­noon cup of cof­fee might.

7:00 P.M.

The mis­sus wants to see the in-laws on Sun­day. Tell her you’d rather de­cide later. When you sleep poorly, you’re less em­pa­thetic, more con­flict-prone and less ef­fec­tive at prob­lem solv­ing, Troxel’s re­search sug­gests.

9:00 P.M.

Dis­con­nect. No more phone or com­puter and their rous­ing light. If you ab­so­lutely must use your com­puter, use a screen fil­ter or in­stall f.lux, a free pro­gram that al­ters the light qual­ity of your screen so it’s less stim­u­lat­ing.

9:30 P.M.

Hun­gry? You might just be tired. But if you’re sure it’s true hunger, have a bowl of oats, wal­nuts and dried tart cher­ries. All three can boost your sero­tonin and/or mela­tonin lev­els and help you sleep, says Winter.

11:00 P.M.

Go to bed only when you feel sleepy, says Ong. To in­crease your odds of rest­ful slum­ber, make sure the bed­room is dark and cool and read a book if you want (just be sure it’s the printed kind). You made it. Good­night!

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