Why Sleep Matters (and 9 Tried-and-True Tricks to Get to it Faster)
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  1. Why Sleep Matters (and 9 Tried-and-True Tricks to Get to it Faster)


    Get more sleep

    Restless, sleepless nights are too often the norm.

    And seriously, is there anything worse than tossing and turning, counting the seconds down while your priceless hours of rest slip away from you?

    Besides that small slice of misery, a lack of sleep is also associated with weight gain, too.

    Really, there’s science behind it. Studies have shown that lack of sleep can lead to a whole host of issues, such as:
     

    • Increased calorie consumption during the day.
    • Skipped exercise routines.
    • Snacking more (especially at night).
    • Increased levels of ghrelin (a hormone that leads to hunger) and decreased levels of leptin (a hormone that causes fullness).
    • Eating more carbohydrates.
    • Disrupting the normal interaction between fat cells and insulin (a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose in the blood).
    • Lowering with impulse control.


    Sounds pretty bad, right? It can be. And ultimately, too little sleep night-in and night-out can easily result in you packing on extra pounds, and definitely making it harder to lose them.

    The recommended level of sleep for most adults is seven to nine hours a night. (Some people need less, some people need more, but somewhere in that span is a pretty safe bet).

    So, how do you go about ensuring you’re getting the rest you need, especially if you’re someone inclined towards restless nights?

    Here are 9 tried-and-true tricks to help you fall asleep fast and stay resting all night long.
     


     

    Tried and true tricks to sleep better and faster - unwind
    1) 30-60 minutes of pre-bed downtime.


    You’re busy all day long, and that’s fine. But before you put your head on the pillow, unwind. Put down your mobile device. Don’t think about work. Sit down with a book or TV show. Take a warm shower or bath. Whatever your thing, the key is to get a full dose of R&R right before bed.
     


    2) But wait...lay down only when you’re tired.


    There’s nothing worse than laying down to go to sleep only to find that your mind or body was not quite ready. It quickly leads to that hated sleep nemesis: tossing and turning. Instead of laying in bed for 9 hours restless, wait an extra hour before laying down until your body is truly ready.
     

    9 Ways to Fall Sleep Faster - Turn around the alarm clock

    3) Turn the clock around.


    When you’re laying there, watching the minutes tick down, your mind is busy. And that means you’re not settling down to sleep. To make matters worse, staring at the clock stresses you out even more, pushing sleep even further away and compounding the problem. Avoid all that by simply turning your nightstand clock to face the other way. Easy peasy.


     

    4) Do a breathing exercise.


    Forget finding the perfect position, think about your breathing instead. Try taking slow, deep breaths, in and out, in and out, in and out. Focus on nothing else, and you’re likely to drift to sleep quicker than you would have thought possible. (Or try the 4-7-8 exercise — inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7, then exhale for 8.)
     

    Tricks to sleep better - write things down
    5) Grab a paper and pen.


    Still can’t sleep? Racing thoughts are a very likely culprit. Grab a pen and piece of paper and write them down, make a to-do list, whatever works. Just getting them out is going to help you feel better and settle your mind so you can try to sleep again.
     


    6) Pop in your earbuds.


    There’s a reason moms have been singing lullabies to lull their kids to sleep for centuries. Slow, relaxing music is a great way to calm your nerves and help your mind drift. Focus in on the sound and close your eyes. Sleep is right around the corner.
     

    Tricks to get to sleep faster - Colder temperature7) Get your room to an optimum temperature for sleep.


    Having a cooler room can also go a long way toward improving sleep. If possible, lower the temperature of your bedroom to between 55-65 degrees. Then snuggle up under the blankets, even pop on some socks, and fall into the sweet abyss.
     


    8) Give your face an ice bath.


    Wait, what? That’s right. Sticking your face in ice cold water for about 30 seconds triggers a body phenomenon called the Mammalian Dive Reflex, lowering blood pressure and heart rate. It will make that pivotal fall-asleep moment that much easier.



    Get to sleep faster - get up and try again later9) Get out of bed.
     

    Ok, let’s say the worst happens. You think you’re tired, you lay down to go to sleep and the zzzzz’s just don’t come. (It happens). Rather than tossing and turning, stand up, get out of bed and go spend 10 to 20 minutes doing something else. Go to your living room and read a book. Try a bedtime yoga or meditation routine, and avoid screens. Many scientists believe that screens trick our brains into thinking it's still daytime. So dim the lights and engage in an activity that truly calms you down. Then try again.
     

    What are some tricks you have for falling asleep? Share them in the comments below!


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    Author: Caitlin H
    Diet-to-Go Community Manager

    Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.

     

    Lifestyle/Wellness
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