Time for a dose of sleep intelligence! Here are four ways to fall asleep faster – and longer. We got these from Dr. Tasneem Bhatia – the founder of the Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine:
Go for a run. A Sleep Foundation survey of 1,000 people found that exercisers – especially those who worked out vigorously – slept far better than non-exercisers. Dr. Taz explains it’s a cycle – the more you exercise, the more energy you burn during the day, so you’re actually TIRED at bedtime. And for people who get NO exercise, even adding 10 minutes a day can lead to better rest.
Go easy on caffeine. It’s a proven sleep killer. Because caffeine builds up in your body throughout the day. And can stay in your system for 12 hours. So, a morning coffee is OK – but don’t have any caffeine past lunchtime. Otherwise, it’ll haunt you at bedtime.
Eat the perfect bedtime snack: peanut butter on whole-wheat toast, with a little yogurt with some berries thrown in. The protein in the peanut butter and yogurt helps produce the amino acid tryptophan. The carbohydrates in the bread and berries make that tryptophan more available to your brain. And that chain reaction creates serotonin – the calming chemical that’ll have you nodding off before you know it. Eat that combo an hour before bed.
Pop a melatonin supplement an hour before bed, if you need it. Melatonin is a hormone we produce naturally, which helps regulate our sleep cycle. Research shows melatonin supplements reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. So, Dr. Bhatia suggests popping half a milligram one hour before bed.