Tuesday, February 08, 2011
The Better Sleep Challenge- Week 4 Day 1
Week 4 Action Plan
1. Finish my sleep journal. Track my sleep quality and quantity at least 3 more days per week. Then, compare my energy levels, hours slept, and overall observations from this week to what you first tracked in week one. Did I notice any improvements?
2. Set my long-term sleep goals. Back in week 1, I set goals that I wanted to accomplish during this monthlong challenge. Now it's time to look ahead and establish a long-term better-sleep goal. Share my goal with others in our week 4 forum for feedback and accountability.
3. Stick with my favorite better-sleep techniques. I've learned about and tried several of them over the last few weeks, but just because the challenge is over, I shouldn't give up on these insomnia busters. Choose at least three relaxation, stress-busting, and stay-asleep techniques that I can maintain over the long haul.
Then WOOHOO Congratulations to ME! On completing SparkPeople's Better Sleep Challenge! After tracking my progress and following the program. After I complete this final week, I will earn the Better Sleep Challenge SparkTrophy!
Friday, February 04, 2011
The Better Sleep Challenge- Week 3 Day 4
Stay on task: You'll fall asleep easier and sleep in longer if you prepare for the day ahead on the night before. Don't put off these tasks until late at night or else you won't be able to stick to your new bedtime.
Being accountable to something written on paper compels me to act. It may be true that thinking before you act is a virtue. But too much thinking leads to very little action. And action is everything when it comes to reaching meaningful goals and leading a meaningful life.
We’re stressed when we procrastinate. But then we also procrastinate when we’re stressed.
Stick with your bedtime and waking routine. You may feel too awake to go to bed earlier or a little tired when your alarm goes off, but stick with the routine every day this week, even on the weekends. It may take a few days or weeks to establish your new rhythm, but consistently will help.
It's much better to start the day by letting your body catch up to sleep-cycle cues that it collects. By coming out of "sleep" mode more naturally, you help your body get off to a more relaxing start to a more energized day.
Here are some ideas for how to set your body clock to "awake" without the shock of sudden activity that rattles the stress system:
1. Wake up to music rather than an alarm.
2. Don't get up right away. While breathing deeply, loosen up and stretch your limbs out, from your fingers to your toes. Pretend you're a cat waking up from a nap.
3. Think of the most positive thing you'll be doing that day.
4. Get out of bed slowly. Ease into it.
5. Turn on more and more lights as you go through your routine, until every light you see is on.
6. If weather permits, step outside for a minute. Sunshine is one of the strongest ways to tell your body to wake up.
7. Do 3-5 minutes of easy activity. Emphasis on easy.
8. Eat breakfast! Foods low in fat and high in protein, fiber and carbs provide energy that lasts a long time. Try yogurt, fruit, whole wheat breads, and skim milk.
A key is not to oversleep or use the snooze button. It may be tough at first, but getting up at the same time every morning makes it easier to set a sleep cycle that won't make you feel tired in the middle of the day.
Each week this Sleep Challenge is helping me to fall a sleep easier and I'm sleeping much longer now and boy do I need it! Also with keeping up with week 1 and 2 Challenge.
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
The Better Sleep Challenge- Week 3 Day 1
Reset your internal clock in one week!
Continue with my sleep tracker or journal I started in week 1 as well as my favorite 2-3 relaxation techniques from last week. In week 3, I'll use what I've learned so far to help establish a consistent bedtime and waking time each day. I should go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends. This will help me to reset my body's internal clock so that I can fall asleep easier and wake up energized every day.
1. Review your sleep journal.
I need nine hours of sleep to be able to thrive each day and feel my best.
Keeping a Sleep Diary:
Keep your notebook and a pen by your bed. Spend a few minutes (before you go to sleep) briefly answering the following questions. Do this each night for the next seven days.
1. What time did you wake up today? 9:00am
2. What time are you lying down to go to sleep? 10:00pm
3. What, if any, was your bedtime routine? Same as week 1
4. What were the last food(s) you consumed tonight? (Include type, amount, and time you ate.) Half of a tuna sandwish on whole wheat, apple and water
5. Did you exercise today? (Include the type, duration, and time of day if you exercised.) No exercise today had nuclear stress test done.
6. Did you consume any alcoholic beverages today? (Include type, number, and time of day.) No don't drink!
7. Did you consume any caffeinated drinks or foods today? (Include type, number, and time of day.) No, water only
8. Did you take any medications (prescription and/or over-the-counter) today? (Include type, amount, and time of day.) same as week 1
9. Did you take any naps today? (Include number of naps, duration of each, and time of day.) no
10. What types of stressors did you encounter today, and what types do you expect to encounter tomorrow? nuclear stress test
11. How hungry did you feel today? (1- Not hungry, 2- Normal hunger, 3- Strong hunger, 4- Extreme hunger) 1
12. How awake did you feel today? (1- Exhausted, 2- Somewhat tired, 3- Fairly alert, 4- Wide awake) 1
13. How irritable did you feel today? (1- Calm, 2- Slightly annoyed, 3- Moderately irritable, 4- Highly irritable) 3
When you wake up, answer the following questions below your "sleep" line:
1. How long did it take you to fall asleep last night? (This may be an estimate.) 15 minutes
2. How many times did you wake up during the night? (Include times you woke up and how long you stayed awake.) 3 times, stayed awake for just a few minutes.
3. In total, how many hours did you sleep last night? 9 hours.
This was just like the same as week 1, same questions. I'm getting there with self control and keeping my sleep diary by my bed. This will help me to look at it each night. I will combat this stress to be better able to relax and fall asleep. I'm making it by one day at a time!
Sunday, January 30, 2011
The Better Sleep Challenge- Week 2, Day 5
1. Wake up to the importance of workouts. Exercising can help you sleep better and feel more energized, but the key is to exercise at the right time of day. Learn how to adjust your workouts for better Zzz's.
First, it’s important to be aware that sleep is not a passive activity. Healthy sleep is every bit as valuable to your overall well-being as exercise and good nutrition. Research shows that a lack of deep sleep (as opposed to irregular or fragmented sleep) undermines the body's ability to fight off disease. In fact, if you’re sleep-deprived you’re likely to have higher concentrations of sugar in your blood, which could contribute to development of a pre-diabetic condition. Working out regularly has been shown to reduce episodes of insomnia. What’s more, it promotes improved sleep quality by producing smoother, more regular transitions between the cycles and phases of sleep. Moderate exercise lasting 20 to 30 minutes three or four times a week generally results in better sleep and more energy. So I exercise in the morning for 30 minutes with slow and easy ones.
exercise offers many other mental benefits:
Reduces stress by helping to dissipate the lactic acid that accumulates in your blood
Sharpens your brain by increasing the amount of oxygen available
Eases built-up muscular tension
Strengthens and stimulates your heart and lungs
Stimulates your nervous system
Increases your production of endorphins— those little substances which create a sense of well-being and increase your body's resistance to pain
Stimulates release of epinephrine, a hormone that creates a sense of happiness and excitement Increases deep sleep, as the brain compensates for physical stress.
2. Nutrition to nod off. Could your dinner or late-night snacks be preventing you from getting your best rest? Learn which snacks promote snoozing and which foods and beverages you should avoid before bed.
Nutrition Tips and Supplements for Insomnia
Dietary Changes for a Better Night's Sleep
Nutrition Tips and Supplements for Insomnia:
There are many factors that can cause sleep problems, and even more potential solutions. The steps you take to improve your sleeping patterns will be individual, based on the cause of your insomnia and the treatment plan laid out by your health care provider. In addition to the many lifestyle changes that can help you sleep better, the following nutrition tips and supplements may also help improve the quality and quantity of your shut-eye:
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 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.
Along with these lifestyle measures, you may wish to consider a natural sleep aid supplement. Supplements should NEVER be taken together or with other sedative drugs. Discuss the appropriateness of these supplements with your doctor first, as well as dosage and the risk of physical and psychological dependency. The two best-researched, most effective supplemental sleep aids are valerian root and melatonin.
Valerian root (valeriana officinalis) is a sedative herb that has been used for centuries. Several small studies have suggested that valerian helps people fall asleep and stay asleep. It may take up to four weeks (or more) of usage to notice improvements in sleep, and this herb can leave some people feeling "fuzzy" the next morning. A typical dosage of valerian root is 300-600 milligrams of valerian extract in tablet or capsule form, 30 minutes before bedtime. Always discuss valerian root with your doctor before trying it.
Melatonin is a hormone (made in the brain of humans but also produced by animals and plants) that appears to play a critical role in the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle. So far, the effects of melatonin are complex and poorly-understood, but research shows that it is "possibly effective" in decreasing sleep disturbances caused by jetlag, as well as "likely effective" in easing sleep disorders in blind children and adults, and people with mental retardation, autism, or other central nervous system disorders. There is not enough research to conclude anything about melatonin's effectiveness for other sleep disturbances. Melatonin supplements are available over-the-counter, but always discuss melatonin use with your doctor before trying it.
When it comes to treating insomnia, there is insufficient evidence or limited research to support the following supplements:
This week I have learned so much on supplements, herbs, exercise, sleep, caffeinated drinks and chocolate, pre-bedtime snacks, stop eating at least two to three hours before your regular bedtime, limit the consumption of liquids in the evening, Limit: fried and fatty foods, and refined carbohydrates. I'm on my way to a better sleep!
Friday, January 28, 2011
The Better Sleep Challenge- Week 2, Day 3
WOW! If you just listen and learn a little bit each week you can see just what you can really do and for yourself. Your energy levels goes up. You’ll be more productive and in a better mood. Boy do I need that!
(1) Losing sleep is certainly not something to be taken lightly. An occasional night of tossing and turning is normal, but continued patterns of this behavior can cause real problems in your ability to function normally. Research shows that inadequate sleep can have disastrous effects on your weight loss efforts, impair your concentration, and even mimic the symptoms of impaired glucose tolerance (which can lead to diabetes and hypertension).
Your mood also suffers when you don’t get enough shut-eye, causing you to become disoriented on the job, fatigued behind the wheel of a car, or irritated at home. But more importantly, these mood swings can affect your relationships with others, and even lead to depression.
So my two picks for insomnia-busters that I can incorporate into my bedtime routine throughout this week is.
(1) Get a check-up.
Well, I went to see my physician on Jan 25. I have been suffering from chest pains with numbness in my arm and hand. I can't breath good, headaches. I have had five spells now and one time I couldn't talk for a while. When I called my physician she said it sounded like I had a mild stroke. So I go Monday morning to see a Cardiovascular, Atlanta Heart Specialists. I will be getting a IV Stress Test done on my heart Monday.
(2) Take control of your worries.
I have so many stressful things going on in my life that I need to take control of. I will schedule some downtime each day for meditative activities like stretching, a hot bath or a small walk. I'm still working on my back & leg pain that I have everyday 24/7. Having to see a Heart Specialists and tests done. Barking dogs all the time. My DH has the tv turned up so loud cause he can't hear good. So I need to get in control of my live!
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