– by Dr. Michael Rosen, D.C. BioVeda Health & Wellness Center of West Loop, IL
Sweeter Dreams Await!
It’s important to make an overall commitment to healthy, restorative sleep. Here are some tips from the Better Sleep Council for maintaining a healthy sleep cycle and ensuring the best night’s rest:
- Make sleep a priority by keeping a consistent sleep (bedtime) and wake schedule, including weekends
- Create a bedtime routine that is relaxing. Experts recommend reading a book, listening to soothing music or soaking in a hot bath.
- Transform your bedroom into a haven of comfort. Create a room that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool for the best possible sleep.
- Evaluate your mattress and pillow to ensure proper comfort and support. If your mattress is five to seven years old, it may be time for a new one. In general, pillows should be replaced every year.
- Keep work materials, computers and televisions out of the bedroom; it should be used for sleep and sex only.
- Exercise regularly, but complete workouts at least two hours before bedtime.
- If you sleep with a partner, your mattress should allow each of you enough space to move easily. Couples who’ve been sleeping on a “double” (full size) may think they have enough room, until they learn that each person has only as much sleeping space as a baby’s crib!
- Avoid nicotine (e.g., cigarettes, tobacco products). Used close to bedtime, it can lead to poor sleep.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol (e.g., coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate) close to bedtime. It can keep you awake.
- Finish eating at least two to three hours before bedtime.
Forget plain, boring white rice! These healthier options not only taste better, they pack a serious nutritional punch. Try something new and start “reaping” their wholesome benefits!
- Quinoa: This grain is rich in magnesium, a mineral that helps relax constricted blood vessels which can cause headaches and migraines. The mild, nutty flavor of quinoa tastes great in soups or salads. Be sure to rinse it well before cooking.
- Black Rice: Brown rice is SO last season! This “forbidden rice,” once only eaten by Chinese nobles, can help soothe inflammation associated with allergies and asthma. Try substituting black rice for white in rice pudding for a healthier, delicious dessert.
- Amaranth: Considered sacred by the Aztecs, this grain contains high amounts of lysine, an amino acid that Italian researchers have found can help women absorb calcium more efficiently. Amaranth is a great popcorn alternative – just prepare in a covered saucepan over medium heat. No oil necessary!
- Bulgur (A.K.A. Cracked Wheat): Easily the superstar of grains with 8 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat, bulgur is available in several grades from fine to extra-coarse. Use coarser grades in casseroles and soups. Prepare and add finer grades to yogurt for a quick breakfast, or use it as a satisfying side-dish at dinner.