What can I do to sleep better and all around improve sleep quality?

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Answered by: Joshua, An Expert in the How To Sleep Better Category
Before trying anything new concerning your health, you should always consult your physician. That said, the below information should help you get to sleep better and all around improve sleep quality:

1. Exercise

Yes, exercise. The number one thing to do in order to lie around and do nothing (i.e. be unconcious and resting) better to is to move your body while you are awake. When you exercise during the day, it prepares your body to excrete increased levels of pre-growth hormone factors which release growth hormone during your sleep cycle. So, not only will the exercise help you to get out your ya-ya's, but it will also increase your growth hormone levels. This increase will both 1) help you fall asleep faster, and 2) feel more rested when you wake up. Your body uses growth hormone to initiate repair on your tissues while you sleep. After a growth-hormone-filled snooze, you will wake up refreshed and you really should eat...

2. A Hearty Breakfast

YES. Breakfast. This is the meal so many people forget about or rush through because they are running out the door to go to work or school, drop off the kids, do their morning yoga, etc. Breakfast is going to help you sleep? Yes, yes it is. The kind of breakfast you need is very important too in order to sleep better and all around improve sleep quality. You must eat a heavy, full, complete breakfast. Your body needs a full tank of gas to run for the day. You don't fill the car's gas tank to a half or a quarter and then go on a road trip, do you? No!

Here's why doing so affects your sleep: if you are running on fumes during the day your sleep quality diminishes because your body has fewer energy and nutrient resources in order to repair your daily damages when you go to sleep. Growth hormone elevation is all well and good except that your body needs raw materials in order for that growth hormone to do anything (even normal levels). Now, after all of that good eating you need to make sure that you frequently...

3) Drink Healthful Fluids

Healthful. Not coffee, soda, large amounts of tea, mate, stimulant-laced infusions of sugar or sugar replacements ('diet"), NO! Drink some milk (low-fat dairy, soy, rice, almond, rice, coconut, etc.), juice (berry, apple, citrus, grape, exotic, etc.), water (including coconut water), electrolyte-drinks (go easy on the sugar though), fruit/veggie smoothies, yogurt drinks, etc etc. The point is to avoid large amounts of caffeine. The idea here, folks, is that restful sleep and food power is what is going to help keep you going. Not caffeine, not rushing through your first meal, not avoiding exercise. Keeping hydrated during the day is very important too, but try to cut back a bit a couple of hours before bed, or you'll be getting up to use the restroom all night. Finally, another very important food tip is...

4) Eat a Light Dinner

What?! "But I must have my meatloaf with gravy and mashed potatoes and ice cream and cookies and then go to sleep three hours later!" I know. I understand the enjoyment of eating a nice meal at the end of the day and that tradition states that it be pretty heavy. We grow up in an American culture with large dinners in or out of the house. It's hard to break out of that cycle. Here's how it affects your sleep, however. Whenever you eat something, your body must do a lot of work to process everything you just put into it - the heavier and more complex the meal, the harder the work. Dinner (and dessert) is the meal closest to bedtime.

Anything that you eat for dinner your body must now spend the next 10 hours processing. If your body has to work hard at whatever you ate while you are sleeping, it will affect your sleep quality. Not to mention, as you sleep, your body stores most of what you ate that it hasn't used while you were awake. Not only do heavy meals before bed affect your quality of sleep, then can affect the quantity of your weight.

Keep all of these tips in mind and you will have a much more restful night's sleep!

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