May 13, 2015
Sleep better, look younger, and feel more energetic than a golden retriever puppy! This isn’t late-night TV trying to fool you with false advertising. You really can achieve these things. All you have to do is make sleep a priority and follow my top 10 tips for making your dreams of better sleep come true!
1. Trip Your Sleep Switch: Boost your serotonin levels (good for getting zzz’s) by eating foods rich in tryptophan — beans, turkey, chicken, eggs, peanut butter, pumpkin seeds and nuts — within two to three hours of bedtime.
2. Power Down: Turn off electronic devices at least an hour before you want to fall sleep. The light emitted can disrupt your sleep cycle. Fun fact: People who don’t have a TV in their bedroom have 50 percent more sex than those who do!
3. Get Zen: Create a comforting sleep ritual. Thirty minutes before you want to sleep, practice deep breathing, praying and meditation. They all help you to slow down and let go of anxieties and tension.
4. Set the Mood: Dim your lights 30 minutes before you want to sleep; close the curtains to shut out external light; and add some white noise (sleep machines offer the sounds of rainforests or ocean waves) to help you enjoy deep, restorative sleep.
5. Invest in a Mattress: Put your money where your mattress is (and we don’t mean underneath it!). Buy one that is right for you based on comfort, support and temperature — and take your time trying it out. Then choose a mattress cover to block allergens from finding their way into your bed and disrupting your slumber.
6. Chill Out: That goes for you and your room. A cool, dark room (65 to 68 degrees) helps your body kick up melatonin production to knock you out. As for clothing, less is best (your partner may agree with us!). Your PJs should be non-allergenic, loose and cool.
7. Give Yourself a Bedtime: First, figure out how long all of the things you do before bed will take — making lunches, flossing your teeth, etc. — and work from there to set a bedtime that will ensure you get your seven to eight hours.
8. Trick Insomnia: If you can’t fall asleep, don’t battle it out in bed. After 15 minutes, get up and do a calming activity. (No, this is not the time to clean the garage.) Listening to soft music or meditating (in rooms without blue wavelength lights) can lull you back to the Land of Nod.
9. Exercise Early: Staying active will help you sleep better. Just make the sweaty stuff happen at least an hour and a half before bed — unless you’re doing something in bed that makes you sweat, which is A-OK.
10. Drink Wisely: Alcohol and caffeine, though highly enjoyable and healthful in the right amounts, can interfere with your sleep. Avoid the booze a couple hours before bed and kill the caffeine at least three hours prior to hitting the hay.
If you think you need to sleep better, you probably do. We can help you get the rest you need with the Cleveland Clinic Wellness six-week online program, GO! to Sleep.
Partially adapted from YOU: Staying Young — The Owner’s Manual for Extending Your Warranty, by Michael F. Roizen, MD, and Mehmet C. Oz, MD.
Excess sleep isn’t necessarily healthy. Studies show the healthiest people typically sleep six to eight hours per night.