By joining in on the Official Better Sleep Challenge I have discovered something I have been missing out on: the deepest sleep phase (Stage 4 sleep). I have noticed my sleep patterns have been adjusting since implementing suggestions of this challenge. When I wake up in the morning, I literally feel like I am coming up from the bottom of a very DEEP place of TOTAL relaxation! I feel like I have melted into my mattress and it takes a few moments to come up out of the depths of a very pleasant, true and needed rest. Wow, I didn't know what I was missing. I seriously thought I was getting enough sleep, but now I realize there is more to it than I thought. I look forward to more mornings of having every nerve, muscle, bone, joint and brain wave decked out to the max. Sleep has taken on a new meaning: discovering truly deep sleep is something I want to pursue from here on out. Amazing!
Per a request in comments below, I am adding to the above from an article written by Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietitian entitled: Nutrition Tips and Supplements for Insomnia
Dietary Changes for a Better Night's Sleep which is on this Spark site. I had posted the following quote as a comment, but decided to add it to the blog so others who read it will benefit from the information. Thanks Becky!
"Stop eating at least two to three hours before your regular bedtime. If your body is trying to digest food, you won't be able to fully relax, fall asleep or stay asleep.
Limit: fried and fatty foods, refined carbohydrates (such as white rice, breads, pasta, and sugars), and spicy foods (especially if you are prone to heartburn), especially before bedtime. The effects of these foods can interfere with your ability to get a good night's sleep.
Enjoy a light snack approximately two hours before bedtime, as falling and staying asleep can be difficult if you are hungry. A healthy snack can help take the edge off of your hunger and help you sleep through the night. Your snack should contain mostly carbohydrates and a small amount of protein. This combination may help increase the availability of tryptophan (an amino acid that helps induce sleep) to your brain. A few pre-bedtime snack ideas include:
* A small bowl of oatmeal
* Cereal with low-fat milk
* Yogurt with granola sprinkled on top
* Half of a bagel topped with peanut butter
* A piece of whole wheat bread with one slice of deli turkey
* Six whole-grain crackers with one ounce cheese
* Sliced apple with one ounce cheese or peanut butter
Avoid alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol may help you to fall asleep quickly, but it can disrupt your normal sleep patterns and leave you feeling un-rested the next morning.
Avoid caffeinated drinks and foods during the afternoon and evening. Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate that can delay your sleep or cause you to wake up during the night. You may want to avoid caffeine entirely and see if your sleep improves.
Limit the consumption of liquids in the evening, to decrease the urge to go to the bathroom during the night."
If you are having trouble sleeping, I would encourage you to take the challenge, I was surprised to learn information that has helped me gain a better night's sleep. There was so much more information than could be included here.