15 Tricks to Sleep Better
Need sleep? Learn how you can get more sleep with these 15 restful sleep tricks
Of all the things you have power over in your life, sleep isn't one of them. No amount of wishing, hoping or willing can make it happen. As soon as you accept that it's out of your control, you'll spend less time worrying about it. It's like traffic during your morning commute, you can either let it drive you nuts daily or know that it's just a part of life—some days will be smoother than others.
Set a Bedtime
You set an alarm to get up every morning, but punctuality for going to bed is just as important. While you don't have to set a nightly alarm, pick an hour for shutting down every night and stick to it—on weekends too. Your body needs routine.
Take a Bath
The Sandman comes when the body's temperature drops. Exaggerate that effect with a toasty bath or shower then lie down and let your body heat get low.
Even the smallest amount of light can disturb slumber. That means TVs, computers, and even hallway lights should be switched to the off position until you've landed safely on the other side of morning.
Drown Out Noise
Putting your iPod on shuffle isn't the best idea for drowning out your partner's snoring. You never know when a jolting party anthem will come up. Instead, sleep with a fan on or invest in a sound machine that can produce white noise to block the racket of the outside world
Cold is sleep's partner in crime. So lower your thermostat a bit—and save money on your heat while you're at it—then pile on the blankets. A colder bedroom means your body will function at calmer, more restful speeds.
Heavy eating or drinking before bed increases your chances of indigestion or frequent trips to the bathroom. A light dinner about two hours before bedtime can help you sleep more soundly.
No Smoking or Drinking
A night of debauchery every now and then is fine but don't make a habit of a glass of wine and a smoke before bed. Alcohol and nicotine are stimulants that can not only keep you wide-eyed, but also interrupt a peaceful night's sleep.
The pillow is like a sports bra; it's the most important equipment for working out your z's. Make sure that your pillows are supportive, comfortable, and suited to your sleeping position tendencies. The pillows of a stomach sleeper and a fetal position person don't have to look the same.
Kick the Pets Out
Midnight hairballs, dogs dreaming of digging—need we say more? As adorable as they are, your pets are not sleep's best friends. They're just as prone to be woken up—and thus wake you up—by the little things that go bump in the night.
Kill the Pain
If a minor ache or pain is keeping you awake don't fight it. Do whatever you need to make it better, whether it's popping some Ibuprofen or getting to a doctor.
It's fine that you can't get through the day without your morning latte, but make it a rule that no caffeine touches your lips after sundown
Stop concentrating on the laundry list of concerns in your head and focus on your breath. Deep and slow or short and shallow, the sound of your inhales and exhales can be a lullaby to sooth you into slumber.
When sleeplessness strikes, don't freak out—that will only delay the process further. Give yourself a break. So what if you're having a sleepless night? It's not the end of the world. By thinking, 'Great, I can't sleep. I'm going to be worthless tomorrow,' you're creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Relax and trust that there will be plenty of sleep-filled nights in your near future.
There is no such thing as making up for lost sleep except for getting back on your regular schedule. Naps, going to bed super early, or sleeping late may seem like the natural fixes to a sleepless night, but they actually send your body mixed messages. Keep your sleep schedule calibrated for your life, not a random late night or a short bout of insomnia.
7 Simple Tricks That Will Help You Control Your Cravings
Most of them take only minutes.
Cravings are no fun, but we all get hit with the occasional (or sometimes, more than occasional) urge to scarf down a sweet treat ASAP. Of course, giving in to temptation once in a while is perfectly fine. But when dreams of fudge brownies or apple pie a la mode invade your brain on a constant basis, they can mess with your weight-loss goals. (These 12 snacks nutritionists reach for to curb cravings can help keep you on track.)
The good news is that even though cravings can be tough, experts agree that they rarely last more than half an hour. So if you can find a way to get those goodies off your mind for just a little while, you should be able to escape the siren call of the cookies altogether. Here are 7 tactics that can help.
Go for a walk.It's no secret that cravings are more likely to hit when you're tired or stressed. But exercise can boost your energy levels and mood, quelling the urge to eat. And a short stroll might be all it takes to reap the benefits. When study participants were placed in stressful situations, those who walked for 15 minutes were less likely to crave chocolate compared to those who stayed sedentary, found one Austrian study of overweight adults.
Take a few deep breaths.Next time the urge to stress eat strikes, try a simple yogic breathing technique. Inhale deeply for four counts, hold your breath for seven counts, and exhale for eight counts, then repeat for four cycles. The exercise gives you a minute to pause and regroup, as well as turn off your body's fight or flight response so you feel less stressed, says meditation teacher and massage therapist Kathleen Lisson, CMT, CLT. Once you're calm, eating a chocolate bar might not feel like the most important thing in the world.
Have a clean snack.Craving cookies or candy isn't always the result of boredom or stress. If it's been more than a few hours since your last meal, your blood sugar might be starting to dip, says University of Delaware clinical instructor of nutrition and registered dietician nutritionist Sharon Collison. Bring it back up with a combo of complex carbs and protein—like an apple with ¼ cup nuts, or a pear and a piece of string cheese. Once you've refueled your tank with good-for-you stuff, you might find that your sugar hankering has all but disappeared. (Hit the reset button—and burn fat like crazy with The Body Clock Diet!)
Guzzle water.Grab a glass and start sipping, pronto. "Anytime I crave sweets or carbs, I drink two—yes, two—full, eight-ounce glasses of water," says chiropractor Rubina Tahir, DC. It's not unusual to confuse hunger with thirst. Plus, all that water in your belly will literally fill you up, leaving you less interested in that tray of doughnuts. (Try making one of these sassy water recipes to make plain water more exciting.)
This easy water bottle hack will help you stay properly hydrated every single day:
Touch your ear.
Touch your ear.It might sound surprising, but certain acupressure points on the ear are thought to suppress appetite and help quell the urge to snack. Try gently pressing the Shen Men or "Hunger Point" for a full minute, and your craving should pass, says Debra Gerson, LAc, Dipl OM, FABORM, founder of Botanica Wellness Sanctuary. (This chart can help you locate the acupressure points on your ear, including the Shen Men.)
Grab your phone.Even if you consider yourself a multitasking superstar, your brain can only juggle so much stuff at once. Which might be why one British study found that playing a videogame like Tetris for just three minutes can slash cravings by up to 70%. So go ahead and give yourself permission to play Candy Crush. (Or try one of these 5 fun workouts for your brain, from Prevention Premium.) Not a gamer? Try texting a friend or watching a funny video instead. If it takes your mind off of food, it'll probably help.
Tell yourself you’ll save it for later.When all else fails and that brownie or cookie won’t get out of your head, give yourself permission to indulge, later. When healthy eating and lifestyle blogger Dee Nand gets hit with a craving, she tells herself that she can have the cookie or brownie at the end of the day. Waiting allows her to enjoy it that much more—and encourages her to keep making good choices throughout the day. (Whip up one of these clean desserts made with avocado, and you won't feel so bad indulging.)