For the fifth and final installment of our ThrivePass 9-5 Series, we’re conquering a serious problem area: sleep. If you’re a restless sleeper, a mid-night muncher, a too-early riser, we’ve got a litany of tips for getting your sleep cycle back on track. Keep reading to find out how you can get all the sleep you need even with a full-time job.
Melatonin: Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate your circadian rhythm—your sleep and wake cycle. Aside from maintaining our inner clock, melatonin causes drowsiness, lowers body temperature, and puts the body into sleep mode. If you’re having a tough time falling asleep, you can boost your melatonin production by eating foods like pineapples, bananas, oranges, oats, sweet corn, rice, tomatoes, and barely. If foods like those mentioned above still aren’t doing the trick, you can also purchase melatonin supplements over the counter. As always, check with a doctor before implementing any ThrivePass wellness tips.
Warm Milk: Warm milk has, for many years, been thought to help with sleep. While this idea seemed to originate with the trace amounts of tryptophan in milk (yes, like in turkey), Dr. Michael Brues wrote for WebMD that milk actually helps you sleep because of other factors. “It may just be that the routine of drinking a glass of warm milk is like an old teddy bear that reminds you of home,” he writes. So whether it’s a glass of warm milk, or a short story, or 50 push ups that make up your evening routine, habit can help alert your mind it’s time to go to bed and can make for consistently better sleep.
Late Night Snacks: As far as late night snacks go, you’ll hear conflicting advice on whether or not you should indulge. For a safe bet, stick to small snacks that are easy to digest in your sleep. In terms of rest though, the best pre-sleep snacks combine a small amount of protein and carbohydrates. Foods that are high in carbs cause your body to release insulin, which makes it easier for trypotphan to enter your brain and make you sleepy. Dr. Shelby Harris, the director of behavioral sleep medicine program at the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center, offers up a couple of suggestions. A light snack of half a banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter, or a whole-wheat cracker with some cheese, can help you feel drowsy, while not squashing dieting efforts.
Turn it Off: A common pitfall of better sleep is technology of any kind. If you’re a light sleeper and find yourself waking up frequently throughout the night, resist the urge to check your phone, computer, or turn on the TV. The sudden intensity of light can fool your body into thinking it’s day and can make it difficult to go back to sleep. If you’re struggling with sleep from the get-go, the same rule applies. Blue light, produced by screens of most sorts, affects levels of melatonin more than any other wavelength, and can actually permanently disrupt your circadian rhythm. Technology is good for many things, but if you’re looking for solid sleep it’s best to keep electronics out of your room.
Try Again Later: If you’re a sleep staller, or the kind of person who lays in bed waiting for sleep to come, sleep specialists recommend a change. If you can’t fall asleep within 30 minutes of lying down, get up and read a book, take a walk, meditate, anything to postpone time other than using technology. This will give your mind proper time to unwind from the day and will help you sleep more soundly.
What are your go-to tips for better sleep? Let us know by commenting below or on our Twitter. As always, stay up to date with all ThrivePass news by following us here or on Twitter and LinkedIn.