FOOD & FITNESS / JUN. 30, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How to Perfect Your Sleeping Patterns

... I know I have.

It sucks big time to never really feel all that rested, alert, or on your game.

And it's not like you've been partying it up until the wee hours of the morning.

No. You've actually been pretty good about getting to bed.

But you just can't doze off.

Well... let's fix this problem right now. Here's what you should do.

I. Set a Sleep-tastic Routine

I find that for most things you do in life, it always helps to have a routine. Whether you're in sports, a corporate professional, or your average Joe, perfect practice makes perfect. So how do you go about a great sleep routine? An hour or so before you go to bed, you want to make sure you do things exactly the same. Reduce or outright avoid anxiety triggers or stressful activities. Otherwise your body will be flooded with cortisol--the stress hormone--causing you to be more wired than Johnny V. Try a relaxing activity like a warm bath or reading a book... or maybe even do some light stretches.

II. Hide the Caffeine, Nicotine and Booze

Well, in case you didn't know it already you should probably stay the heck away from the C word. Don't even take a sip of it 4-6 hours before your regular bedtime. The same goes for alcohol. Sure it might get you loose and heavy, but it ends up stimulating hours after consumption. If you're simply bound to drink, just make sure you don't it within three hours of "lights out" time. The same goes for tobacco products.

III. Transform your bedroom into the Fortress of Sleep-itude

When it comes to the ideal sleeping environment, dark and silent is the way to go. If you live somewhere flooded with white noise, stick some earplugs in and also find other ways to reduce the volume. Sensitive to light? It's time to break out some thick curtains, or a mask (scary, I know) to shield you from the sleep-sucking night. Mind the temperature too--keeping it between 60 and 75°F. Comfortable mattresses and pillows are a definite must.

For those with loud and annoying pets... eat them. Kidding. But seriously. If you can't eat them, then I guess you could just find a way to remove them from your room.

IV. Tired? Sleep!

Persistence with most efforts usually yields great results. It doesn't exactly work that way with sleep, though. So if you've been laying in bed for the past half hour and you're wide awake, then go do something else. Whatever it is, just make sure it isn't something that will hype you up even more. And once you're feeling relaxed and sleepy, it's time to hit the hay again.

V. Eyes off the clock

This is branching off of the previous situation. If you're just laying in bed and you can't sleep, staring at the clock only worsens the situation. It actually stresses you out even more. So either turn your face away from the clock or turn its face away from you.

Enough long nights tossing and turning.

You know what to do now.

SO GET SOME SLEEP.

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