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How to easily become healthier, smarter and more productive Pt 2

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How to easily become healthier, smarter and more productive Pt 2
Last week we looked at reasons why it is important, no matter how busy you are, to get the sleep you need.
Remember the quick way to know if your body is getting adequate sleep? Do you wake without an alarm at the time you need to get up?

Being well rested will not only give you more productive days, you will also enjoy your days more and those around you will enjoy you more.
Today, some no/low-cost sleep tips.

I had dinner recently with a guy who bragged that he had only gotten four hours of sleep that night. I didn't say it, but I thought to myself 'If you had gotten five, this dinner would have been a lot more interesting.'

Everything you do, you'll do better with a good night's sleep,
~Both quotes are by Arianna Huffington, The Sleep Revolution.

Action Ideas
1. Create daytime habits that support high quality sleep
      No caffeine after 2 p.m. Caffeine’s effects on the body last much longer than we are able to consciously detect. Caffeine is most commonly found in coffee, tea, energy drinks, soft drinks, and chocolate.
      Eating less foods with sugars and more that contain serotonin (which converts to melatonin, the quality sleep hormone) might aid in sleep. Eat healthy protein during the day to obtain a supply of serotonin.
      Drink water throughout the day. Dehydration prevents good sleep. Have water beside the bed at night. In a study done with people who got up at night to eat because they thought they were hungry, found that 100% of the people could return to sleep after only drinking water. They weren’t hungry but thirsty.
      Exercise every day, but preferably not before bed.
      Get outside. We need sunlight every day to help with melatonin production. We can even get melatonin through our eyes.
      Don’t snooze unless it is early in the afternoon.
2. Establish a bedtime routine.
      Have an established time for bed.
      Begin you bedtime routine about an hour before bed to give your body time for the transition.
      Your bedtime ritual can include prepping for the next day (picking clothes, getting a lunch ready etc), talk time, reading a book, mediation, as well as the usual brush teeth etc.
      Slow deep breathing calms the body.
      Visualization or progressive relaxation helps the body prepare for sleep.
      All screens should be off during this time, ideally an hour minimum. Screens give off an intense blue light that disrupts melatonin. The best option is to shut the screen off but if that is not possible, reduce its impact by using a filter, wearing blue-blocking glasses or, for your computer, a free app called f.lux
      Some people are deficient in magnesium. To reduce the chance of taking too much (can cause diarrhea and nausea), try spray on magnesium a few minutes before hopping into bed. 
      Have an Epsom salt bath (magnesium and sulfate) to allow the skin to absorb magnesium.
      Remember: consistency is king. If your routine isn’t routine, then it cannot help you.
3. The Bedroom.
      Keep it cool - 16-20 C (62-68 F) is best.
      Have bedroom decluttered.
      Have blackout curtains to remove light if needed. Light disturbs the production of melatonin.
      Plants, such as the snake plant, cleans air at night, producing a fresher room.
      White noise can reduce distractions that interrupt sleep
      Some scents, such as lavender, help induce sleep and can be especially powerful if it becomes a consistent part of your bedtime routine.
      Keep a pad of paper and pen beside the bed (and with you during the day) to write down things you need to remember to do. It will help clear your mind, allow it to rest, and make the next day more organized.
      Wake up using a smart wake alarm. Smart wake alarms are activated during the best part of your sleep cycle so you will wake up feeling clear headed.
4. And of course, I have to mention: for some, a weighted blanket can help some people to relax their body and their brain. We have two styles to suit you – the uniblanket and the 2 piece weighted blanket.      

Sweet dreams, my little and not-so-little lambs.

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