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Trouble Sleeping? Help is On the Way

Posted Sep 08 2008 10:04pm
Getting regular, quality sleep is an important part of any general fitness routine, and especially if you're in training. If you have trouble sleeping, consider a few different options, as suggested in May's Body + Soul. Wake up at the same time every morning and do something that puts you in direct contact with the sun, as this more quickly suppresses the release of melatonin, which is a sleep-inducing hormone produced by your brain. If you're going to drink coffee, do it before noon, since trace amounts of caffeine can still be in your blood at bedtime even if you only have one cup of coffee in the morning. Eating a lower-fat lunch can improve your sleep later on, as can exercising in the late afternoon because it helps you burn off the stress of the day and raises your body temperature. Make sure you're not eating dinner right before bed - leave yourself at least 3 hours to digest before trying to sleep, and don't consume alcohol more than 3 or 4 hours before bedtime. Although alcohol can help you fall asleep, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's quality sleep. Don't do anything stimulating like watching TV right before bed, but rather dim the lights and do some relaxing yoga poses. You can also look into natural supplements for aiding your sleep. Valerian, melatonin, and L-theanine (found naturally in green tea) can all help you fall asleep and can be found at your local natural food store. Good sleep doesn't have to be inaccessible - your general feelings of fitness will improve if you take steps to improve the quality of your sleep.
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