At some time in your life, it happens: You can’t sleep! And you’ve got a BIG day tomorrow! When you do finally doze off, the alarm screams at you a microsecond later. Then, you can’t get up. You just lie there numb to the world. And then, it gets even worse: When you do finally heave yourself off the bed, you look like and feel like you’ve been dragged through a tumbleweed patch.
Wonder why the sleep thieves had it in for you? Well, let’s backtrack to the scene of the crime. Think about what you ate the night before. Any of the following — much less a combo platter — can leave your body on uneasy street for hours:
• A big dinner: An overtaxed digestive system takes hours to settle down, and there’s nothing restful about that. When sleep’s critical, make lunch your largest meal, and enjoy a light 500-calorie dinner early in the evening.
• Spicy foods: Garlic, chilies, cayenne, and other intense spices are yummy going down, but they can keep you up with heartburn or indigestion. Avoid MSG, too, as it can trigger dreams that are a bit too vivid which could result in restless sleep.
• Raucous veggies: Eat those good-for-you-but-gassy foods — beans, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts — in the middle of the day. A tankful of gas can keep anyone up at night.
• Speed eating: Relax and enjoy meals to avoid swallowing air, another common cause of midnight tummy trouble. Chew your food; you’re not a shark.
• Nightcaps: Alcohol may make you drowsy at first, but later on it greatly disturbs sleep patterns and leads to awakenings and restlessness. A 4-ounce glass of wine with dinner won’t hurt, as long as it’s not within 2 hours of bedtime.
• Coffee after breakfast: Caffeine can linger in your body for as long as 12 hours. So if you’re often wide-eyed at bedtime, make sure you’re caffeine-clean for at least 12 hours. (Skip tea, chocolate, cola, or other caffeine culprits, too.) Still watching the clock at 2 a.m.? Wean yourself off morning java, then stay caffeine-free for 2 weeks. If you definitely sleep better, you have your answer: Caffeine is not your friend. If the results are mixed, try adding back a cup or two of coffee or tea in the morning and watch what happens. But if sleeplessness comes back, cut it out.
This is why it’s so important for you to keep a powerful tool such as a Daily Journal especially like the one I developed for the AAANEWS Course found at www.PowerToBeWell.com so you can write down all kinds of things that will lead you to knowing what’s really going on and who the culprits are that’s stealing your sleep and your health so you can have them arrested and put away.
Getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night doesn’t just make your eyes bright and keeps you out of those tumbleweed patches, it also helps you to lose weight and keep it off, keeps your skin happy, and your mind sharp, energizes you, makes you look and feel as much as 3 years younger, and it gives you the power to be well.