5 sim­ple steps to get the best night of sleep ever

Tehran Times - - HEALTH - (Source: live­strong.com)

1. Make the room dark. First things first, ap­peal to your sense of sight. Things like your alarm clock, cell­phone, street­lights or even a full moon have an im­pact on the qual­ity of your sleep. Th­ese lights send a wake-up mes­sage to your brain, which sup­presses your body’s pro­duc­tion of mela­tonin (the sleep hor­mone), mak­ing it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. For some solid shut-eye, make your bed­room com­pletely dark, says Robert Oex­man, M.D., di­rec­tor of the Sleep to Live In­sti­tute. “Use black­out shades to block out­side light. If the alarm clock has LED lights, it should be turned around and cov­ered up.” This goes for cell­phones too: Plug them in out­side the bed­room or turn on the “Do Not Dis­turb” fea­ture.

2. Do a sound check. Do you need mu­sic to soothe you to sleep? An au­dio­book? Maybe the tele­vi­sion? Sound pref­er­ence at night varies greatly from per­son to per­son. While you may love fall­ing asleep to your fa­vorite playlist or TV show, ex­perts rec­om­mend against it. Your brain con­tin­ues to reg­is­ter and process sounds while you sleep, so the slam of a car door, the chang­ing vol­ume of a song or late-night in­fomer­cials can disrupt your sleep. So aim for keep­ing night­time noise lev­els con­stant. Ide­ally, this means cre­at­ing a con­stantly quiet sleep en­vi­ron­ment. But for those who deal with part­ners who snore, free­way noise or a neigh­bor’s bark­ing dogs, a fan or white noise ma­chine can pro­vide a calm­ing and con­sis­tent cover.

3. Find the right room tem­per­a­ture.

While soft, com­fort­able bed­ding can lull you into a good night’s sleep, an­other touch el­e­ment is also im­por­tant: tem­per­a­ture. In the evening, body tem­per­a­ture be­gins to slowly de­crease, con­tin­u­ing to fall un­til the early hours of the morn­ing, when the body be­gins to warm, help­ing to rouse you from dream­land. “A room tem­per­a­ture of 65 to 68 de­grees Fahren­heit is op­ti­mal,” says Dr. Robert Oex­man. But don’t turn the ther­mo­stat down so low that you need heavy pa­ja­mas or stuffy bed­ding, which can have the same sleep-steal­ing ef­fect. If you love to cozy up in bed, keep your head and feet out of the cov­ers, says Dr. Oex­man. Tak­ing a warm shower be­fore bed can also help cue your body to start cool­ing off.

4. Sniff a sooth­ing scent. Can you sniff your way to a bet­ter night’s sleep? One 2012 Thai study found that smelling laven­der oil caused a sig­nif­i­cant de­crease in blood pres­sure, heart rate and skin tem­per­a­ture — all im­por­tant for help­ing you fall asleep. Not into laven­der? Choose a smell you like and stick with it even when you travel, says Dr. Robert Oex­man. The body’s scent-pro­cess­ing sys­tem is con­nected to your brain’s emo­tional cen­ter, so any scent that makes you re­lax or brings up fond mem­o­ries can help soothe you to sleep. Don’t choose a scent you smell reg­u­larly dur­ing the day, though, says Dr. Oex­man. Us­ing the scent only at bed­time can help train your body and brain to con­nect it with sleep.

5. Try a taste of tart­ness.

Of all the five senses, taste is of­ten for­got­ten dur­ing bed­time rou­tines. While warm bev­er­ages can play a sooth­ing role in a night­time rou­tine, tart cherry juice is a nat­u­ral source of the sleep hor­mone mela­tonin. One 2014 study from The FASEB Jour­nal showed that drink­ing two 8-ounce glasses of tart cherry juice a day in­creased sleep by an aver­age of 85 min­utes com­pared to a placebo. Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Sleep Foun­da­tion, foods with tryp­to­phan can also help make you drowsy. Turkey is a well-known source of tryp­to­phan, but eggs, chicken, nuts and dairy all con­tain sim­i­lar amounts. Pair­ing your fa­vorite tryp­to­phan-con­tain­ing food with a car­bo­hy­drate will make it an even more ef­fec­tive snooze agent.

Study shows that smelling laven­der oil caused a sig­nif­i­cant de­crease in blood pres­sure, heart rate and skin tem­per­a­ture — all im­por­tant for help­ing you fall asleep.

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