Monday, September 15, 2014

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"Some people talk in their sleep. Lecturers talk while other people sleep."
                                                            -Albert Camus
Improving Your Sleep

If you listen for advice on the amount of liquids you should drink or the number of hours you should sleep daily  it would be 10 glasses and 7-8 hours, respectively, as the correct answer.  There is no special number in either case that has been proven for every one.  And in some cases of people  can do well on 5 hours and some need 10 or more hours of sleep to feel refreshed.  What really counts is how well we sleep and how deep is our sleep.  The number of sleep hours also change with age and how we treat our body. Those that do high intensity workouts require more time to restore their muscles to a stronger condition after training than before their workouts began.

The National Sleep Foundation and the American Sleep Association suggests that with a lack of sleep we fall into a "sleep debt."  To "pay off" this debt you have to determine what your basal sleep need is and the amount of sleep you require to function optimally. To figure out what your basal sleep requirement is:
  1. Choose a time you usually go to sleep and keep it fairly constant, day after day.
  2. When you awaken the next day, write down what time it was and how many hours you slept.
  3. From keeping a daily record of the total amount of time you spend sleeping each day so you can average out what the basal sleep need time is.  This then becomes the minimal amount of time you require to sleep and if you sleep less, you go into a "sleep debt."
  4. If you go into debt, you have to pay your debt back for optimal health. As soon as possible you should find the time to pay off this debt and get back on track for the desired sleep routine. 

Foods To Eat To Aid Your Sleep Pattern

Some food can aid in establishing a sounder and more healthful sleeping period.  They include:
  1. Eggs: They contain high quality protein and help to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
  2. Dairy Products:  Milk products and yogurt are also high in protein along with good amounts of calcium.  For deep sleep (called REM sleep) calcium is a big factor in this phase of sleep.
  3. Tea:  Try drinking herbal tea or a decaffeinated green tea as an aid to increase drowsiness.
  4. Cherry Juice:  Cherries are rich in melatonin which aids sleep.  It is sometimes called the sleep inducing hormone.
  5. Cereal:  A small bowl of whole-grain cereal with a low-sugar content contains melatonin and tryptophan (an amino acid that helps in causing sleepiness).
  6. Chickpeas:  They contain vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin.
  7. Fish:  Halibut, salmon, and tuna contain vitamin B6.  This helps the body produce melatonin.
  8. Bananas:  These are high in potassium, which helps calm restless legs and nighttime leg cramps.They also contain magnesium, which relax muscles, nerves and contributes to healthy circulation.

Watch What and When You Consume
The Following

  1.  All products that contain alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes (nicotine).  They tend to upset normal sleep rhythm.  Caffeine tends to last about a half a day so consume your cup of java with your breakfast and use decaf the rest of the day.
  2. Allow 2-3 hours after your last meal before your sleep time. If necessary, be sure it's a light snack with no sugar.  Digestion and especially a large meal, can affect the quality of your sleep.