5 Tips to Help You Sleep!

1. Maintain a sleep schedule

Many of us work odd hours or try to multitask by staying up late to finish projects. This negatively impacts your body’s natural rhythm, the result being a failed sleep pattern. The solution is to set a regular time to go to sleep and wake up and, crucially, to maintain the same schedule on weekdays and weekends.

If you can’t fall asleep after about 10 to 15 minutes when you first start the schedule, it’s good to get out of bed and read, or engage in some other quiet activity for a short time. During this time, keep lights off or dim so the body will continue to create melatonin. Also, it’s important to get out of bed when not sleeping as remaining in bed with insomnia will cause your brain to equate the bed with being awake. Later, return to bed and try again. Equally important is that when the alarm goes off in the morning, get up and don’t hit the snooze button!

2. Eat right for a good night’s sleep

Certain foods can promote a good night’s sleep. It’s good to add foods rich in vitamin B6 throughout the course of the day, which are needed to make melatonin. A few examples of vitamin B6 foods: tuna/salmon, chicken/turkey and bananas. A magnesium deficiency may also affect sleep, so aim for foods rich in magnesium like whole grains—quinoa, pumpkin seeds and beans. And of course, a big thing is to watch what you drink. Absolutely avoid drinking caffeinated beverages after 2 p.m.

3. Practice guided imagery

Directing thoughts or suggestions can help quiet the mind. It can also guide the imagination toward a focused and relaxed state. CDs, smartphone apps and many free Internet resources offer guided imagery resources. Smartphone apps that can walk you through guided imagery include Simply Being: Guided Meditation for Relaxation and Presence 99 cents on iPhone and Android and Headspace, free on iPhone and Android.

4. Strike a (yoga) pose

Even if you’re not an avid yoga enthusiast, you can feel the benefits of the “Legs-Up-The-Wall” pose, a gentle way to bring the body into a state of deep relaxation. After a five- to 10-minute warm footbath to calm a restless mind, lie down with your legs up the wall and your hips close to the wall with the lights off. Stay in this position for anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. To emerge from this position, push the bottoms of your feet into the wall and lift your hips slightly. Then crawl into bed keeping the lights off. If you wake in the night, keep the lights off and do the same pose; this time add three to five minutes of slow breathing and we guarantee results.

5. Take a power nap

When you’re tired, indulging in a snooze is so appealing, but taking too long of a siesta can actually add to your insomnia. Instead, try a ‘power nap’ in a comfortable setting for about 18 minutes. Any longer and problems start to develop. Sleeping for a longer period allows descent into REM sleep, the state in which dreaming begins, and will cut into your nighttime sleep session.

dentist-atlanta-meet-the-drDr. Hugh Flax has a passion for practicing dentistry. He takes great pleasure in changing patients’ lives through their smiles. He received his degree in dentistry at Emory University and began Flax Dental in 1987. Outside the office, Dr. Flax loves music, New Orleans, traveling and more music. Follow Flax Dental on Twitter and Facebook.

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