Feeling tired all the time? Learn how to improve your shut eye with the help of sleep guru Arianna Huffintgon
Article originally published on Glamour.com.
Tired of being, well, tired? You’re not alone. In fact, according to a 2013 study from Gallup, the average American gets only 6.8 hours of sleep despite the fact that we need a full seven to nine hours to feel our best. Sure, sleeping a little more seems easy but as many of us know it’s not always a piece of cake.
Enter Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post Media Group and author of The Sleep Revolution. She wrote the title after collapsing from sleep deprivation and breaking her cheekbone. “I’m trying to help people understand the importance of sleep before they hit rock bottom,” she says. “Not sleeping is the new smoking.”
Don’t feel like you’d let your shut-eye problem get break-your-cheekbone-bad? Even without a drastic wake-up call, skimping on sleep can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and weight gain in the long term. The point? You should be sleeping more—and here’s Huffington’s tips on how:
Avoid disruptive foods and drinks
“Don’t eat spicy foods before bed,” she says. “And you shouldn’t eat anything at all within two to three hours of when you go to sleep.” Drinks to avoid include alcohol, sugary drinks, and coffee after 2 P.M. On the other hand, lavender, chamomile, or liquorice tea, warm milk, or, if you’re dairy-intolerant, almond or coconut milk, can help you sleep according to Huffington.
Keep your phone in another room
And don’t look at any screens 30 minutes before bed. “When reading in bed, make it a real book or an e-reader that does not emit blue light,” she says. “If you live in a dorm room or a studio and can’t leave the phone outside your room, put it inside a bag.”
Keep your bedroom between 60 and 67 degrees
Plain and simple: That’s the best temperature to sleep at.
Don’t sleep in anything but pajamas
If you wear it to lounge around the house on the weekend or work out in, it’s a no. “I don’t sleep in my gym clothes as I used to—think of the mixed message that sends to our brains—but have pajamas, nightdresses, even T-shirts dedicated to sleep,” Huffington says.
Take a shower or bath before bed
“I treat my transition to sleep as a ritual,” says Huffington. “Before bed, I take a hot bath with Epsom salts and a candle flickering nearby—I prolong it if I’m feeling anxious or worried about something.”
“If I wake up with thoughts crowding my mind, instead of stressing out about how I’m staying awake and fearing I’ll be tired the next day, I meditate,” she says. Huffington’s book has 12 master meditations for sleep, including one that she wrote herself (which you can listen to here). “I suggest downloading them on an iPod, so that your phone isn’t in your bedroom.”
Don’t be afraid to nap
Jet lagged? The best way to get through the day when you haven’t slept or if you’re jet lagged is to have a nap as soon as you can. They should be 40 minutes tops to avoid going too deep into sleep. If you can’t nap, try exercise, sunlight, and fresh air. And don’t double down on caffeine, since it lasts seven hours and will disrupt sleep later on.
Consider tracking your sleep
At this point, we’re used to seeing people wear fitness trackers like the FitBit and the Apple Watch, but did you know there are special devices that track your sleep too? An alarm clock like Sense keeps track of the sound, light, and temperature of your bedroom and your sleep cycle via a chip that attaches to your pillow—and tells you what you need to change.
Seem like a lot to remember? Try to implement a few things at a time. “We have to understand that we are not going to do this all perfectly, but we need to get the most important things right: taking our devices out of our bedroom, have a bath or shower to wash the day away, wearing pajamas, and only reading physical books,” says Huffington. And the pay-off will be worth it: “Everything gets better when you sleep well: your health, your work, and your sex life. It’s free and available—we just need to give ourselves permission.”
Originally written by by Lauren Chan for Glamour.
Need a short term solution to lack of sleep? Check out our fake a good night’s sleep make-up guide here.