Top 10 changes to help you sleep

Sleep is more important than most people realize.  Sleep is how we
repair from all of the damage we might have caused during the day.  
Without proper amounts of deep sleep, we can not effectively maintain
many of our organs or glands and
poor sleep may cause weight gain.  
The adrenal glands and the gut are especially susceptible to poor sleep.  
Use the following tips so you can regain an important aspect of your health.

Cut  the lights.  Lights from outside, the next room, the alarm clock, all of them.  Light stimulates
an area of your brain that signals the brain to activate at an aroused and alert level.  

Don't watch TV or read right before bed.  These are both brain stimulating.  Your brain must fall
into a low activation level in order to reach deep sleep.  If it never makes it to that lower activity level, you
will not receive all of the benefits of deep sleep.  Deep breathing before bed not only relaxes your brain,
it also increases melatonin levels.  Melatonin is a hormone that helps with sleep.

Don't eat before bed.  Eat your last meal 3 hours before going to bed.  Your body needs to have
time to regulate your blood sugar levels.  Eating just for bed may cause peaks and valleys that disrupt
your sleep.  Sugar and starch are the worst food before bedtime for this reason.

Eat vegetables and protein as your major percentage of food in your last meal.  These are high in
tryptophan, which is needed to make serotonin and eventually make melatonin.  

Control your blood sugar.  It takes 12-15 years before people get to the advanced levels of
disease that is called type II diabetes.  Before this happens, those people start to develop a problem
regulating blood glucose levels.  If you have low amounts of sugar in your blood while sleeping, your
brain will become agitated and begin to fire to wake you up.  
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Go to bed early.  10:30 if you are a male and 11:00 if you are a female, at the latest.  You need to
be asleep by this time in order to stimulate the proper amount of growth hormone.  This hormone is
needed in order to rebuild tissues all over your body that may have been broken down due to stress
during the day.

Rearrange your room in a fashion that is conducive to sleep.  Try to eliminate anything that makes
noise or moves in the night.  That might mean putting the kids in their own bed, getting a separate bed
from your spouse, or moving away from the railroad tracks.  Sometimes sacrifices have to be made in
order to keep up with your health.

Get on a schedule that is the same everyday and follows all of the other rules.  Get 7-9 hours and
your body should start adapting.

Exercise during the day and perform deep breathing exercises 10-20 minutes before going to
sleep.  The exercise will get your metabolic activity up during the day and the breathing will get you
relaxed, boost melatonin levels, and prepare you for deep sleep.  Exercise causes a break down of
muscles and a need to rebuild them stronger.  This is where sleep comes in.  The need to rebuild will
assist your body in getting into a deep sleep.

Sleep with a cervical pillow that allows for the best sleeping positioning.  A good cervical (neck)
curve allows for easier respiration and thus better sleep.  A good pillow holds your neck in an
appropriate position for extended periods of time thus maintaining or creating a proper cervical curve.  
Instead of waking up with a stiff neck, let your pillow help restore your curve as you sleep.

Click here to take Dr. Webster's Sleep Evaluation

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