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How To Get Good Sleep

February 25, 2013

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I know we usually make sleep a fairly low priority, but when you are working hard and working out hard, sleep is INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT!  On days when I don’t get good sleep, I might as well just scrap my workout because my body is worthless.  I like to think of my body as a well oiled machine, capable of almost anything I want to use it for.  However, like any machine, without proper fuel and maintenance, things will begin to break and the machine can quit working completely.  I’m a very light sleeper, so I’ve begun to follow the tips below on how to maximize my sleep effort.

I’ve been reading up a lot on how to get “good sleep” because I would almost always feel tired, have a terrible time getting out of bed in the morning, never feel rested, etc.  So here are a couple of things I’ve been doing:
– Power down EVERYTHING 30 minutes prior to sleeping.  This means no checking emails, no looking at a computer or TV, no playing on your phone, etc.  Your room should be COMPLETELY BLACK.  So anything that makes light should be covered, including alarm clocks, phones, etc.  If you get up to go to the bathroom, don’t turn on lights, don’t look at the time, just go and go back to bed.  This is to help the mind power down.
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– No liquids after 8PM (or 2 hrs before bed) to avoid getting up to to use the bathroom at night.  Limit alcohol intake as it disrupts sleep patterns…you typically never make it to REM sleep if intoxicated even in the slightest.
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– No caffeine after 2PM (if you are going to bed later than 10PM)…it messes with your circadian rhythms.  If you must have something, try tea instead of coffee.  Green tea has both an energizing and a calming effect.  Quite nice if you ask me!
– Sleep with a fan to drown out noise and keep you cool.
– Only go to bed when tired.  30 minutes prior to when you think you want to go to bed, start reading a book.  If you begin to fall asleep while reading, you know its bed time.  If you don’t, keep reading until you are tired enough to sleep.  If you end up staying up way later than you planned, don’t worry, wake up at the time you originally planned, and let your body be tired enough to put you to bed at an earlier time the next night.  This one is tough for me because I always want 7 hrs of sleep but its not always possible.  If you are exhausted, try not to nap during the day.  Rather, come home, make dinner, eat, read a book and go to bed early.
– A few supplements I’ve been taking:  ZMA with Theanine (This is a Zinc-Magnesium-B6 and Theanine supplement.  The Zinc and Magnesium help with muscle repair and development to keep you feeling fresh and ready for a workout the next day and the B6 paired with the Theanine aid in serotonin production to help with sleeping.  I’ve taken this the past 2 nights and have completely zonked out.  In fact, to the point that I barely stir when Hubs gets up to take Beau out.  I still wake up tired at first, but am fully alert within minutes of actually getting up.  My new favorite thing.)
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– Valerian Root:  This is an herbal remedy that I took before I got the ZMA.  It is pretty putrid smelling…a bit like sour rags.  However, it does work with helping to sleep.  I don’t know if it is a side effect from the root, but sometimes I have very vivid and active dreams when I take it.  The ZMA seems to produce more sound sleep.
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You should be able to find either of those supplements at any vitamin or supplement store.  The ZMA is considered a sports supplement, but the Valerian Root would be at most health foods or homeopathic stores.  I purchased both of mine at the Vitamin Shoppe.  I prefer to go here for most of my vitamins and supplements because they have a huge variety, almost everything I could want or need and very knowledgeable experts to explain the differences and make suggestions on products.  They also have decent sales and a membership club where you can earn points and get coupons in the mail.  They are working on their military discount too 😉
Do you take any supplements?  If so, which do you recommend?  Also, be sure to let all your friends know about the Giveaway!  It closes Wednesday, 27 March!  And, if you live in the Dayton area, Up and Running is having a ONCE IN A LIFETIME SALE!!  50% off apparel 🙂 
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7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 25, 2013 4:43 pm

    Great tips!!

    • February 25, 2013 4:46 pm

      Thanks Natalie! And I SWEAR by that ZMA! I’m zonked out nightly. I can’t remember ever sleeping so deep in my life 🙂

  2. February 26, 2013 1:39 am

    I don’t think this could come at a better time haha. Great tips!

  3. February 26, 2013 2:44 am

    Totally agree with all of these. Especially powering all of the electronics down before bed. I struggle getting through some of my late afternoon classes without caffeine, but green tea is a great option. I’ll have to try that next time rather than coffee. I love Sleepytime Tea from Celestial Seasonings. Having a warm cup of that before bed usually calms me down.

    • February 26, 2013 12:14 pm

      I love sleepy time! Sleepy time extra has valerian root in it if you ever want to try that!

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