10 Tips For Better SleepFrom
eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource
Waking up "on the wrong side of the bed" is
a nice way to say a person didn't sleep very well. Have your sleep habits hit
the wall? Sure, poor sleep affects your mood negatively. But it also hampers
your overall well-being, including how well you fare in your weight loss
Thats right... research shows there
is a correlation between gaining enough snooze time and losing a few
From premature aging to a compromised
immune system, the side-effects of sleepless nights can add up, according to
Barbara Harris, editor-in-chief of Shape magazine and author of Shape
Your Life: 4 Weeks To A Better Body -- And A Better Life! (Hay House).
During her more than 15 years at the helm
of Shape magazine, Harris compiled the secrets to what makes or breaks
an effective fitness regimen. She says getting in the best shape of your life
requires more than just a good workout. In fact, Harris maintains that in order
to improve your overall well-being, you need to take a holistic approach that
focuses on seven main areas: workout, diet, spirituality, sleep, emotions, body
image and work. The smaller pieces add up to a healthier big picture, she says.
Shape Your Life is a hands-on guide
to achieve those seven elements," Harris tells eDiets in this exclusive. "There
are step-by-step programs for each element.
For the first time in their lives,
readers might experience short-term and long-term success. This not only leads
to a healthier, better- developed body, but most importantly, a more satisfying
and enjoyable life theyll absolutely love.
Getting a good nights sleep is high
on the list of things you can do to boost your health and fitness levels. Sleep
is crucial for optimum immunity, Harris says. When you dont get enough
shuteye, your workouts may be less effective and youre more likely to
But thats not all. Your ability to
manage stress throughout the day is also compromised.
Studies reveal women frequently turn to
food to soothe themselves in times of stress. It's also a fact that many women
also eat more to raise their energy level. The root of these problems can be
traced to the stress-associated hormone cortisol.
Sleep experts know the less you snooze, the
more you produce this cortisol.
Harris says the hormone depletes muscle via
cellular breakdown. As your cortisol levels increase, your muscles weaken and
the strengthening exercises you do become less effective.
Harris' 10 Tips for a Good Nights Sleep.
1. Get regular exposure to daylight,
especially in the afternoon. (Research shows that night-shift workers can
improve daytime sleep by working under bright lights.)
2. Prior to bedtime, use dimmer switches
or turn off a few lamps to lower the lighting in your home or
3. Dont allow yourself to nod off
on the sofa. When you start feeling drowsy, get up and go to bed.
4. Use your bedroom only for sleep and
sex. Dont make it a satellite office, study hall or entertainment center.
5. When you cant sleep, try using
imagery and thoughts to relax. Deep-breathing techniques also work.
6. If you havent dropped off
within about 20 minutes, get out of bed and read or engage in some other quiet
activity. Go back to bed when you get sleepy.
7. Put the alarm clock out of sight.
Clock watching doesnt help you sleep -- it may even keep you awake!
8. Sleep specialists recommend lying on
your back or on your side, not your stomach.
9. Get Fido and Fluffy their own comfy
beds. In a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, half the people surveyed had
their sleep disturbed by pets.
10. Only take over-the-counter sleep
aids as an occasional emergency measure. You can build up a tolerance to them
very quickly. If you can find yourself relying on them, see your doctor.