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Sleep is the new sweat. But are you doing it right?

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Everyone in wellness is officially obsessed with rest. But getting enough of it seems to be a: nearly impossible, and b: the answer to everything. 

Struggling  to lose weight?  Work on your sleep.

Too much inflammation? Sleep more.

Want to prevent dementia, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart disease and stroke?  Sleep, sleep, sleep!

At Parsley, sleep hygiene is all the rage. We have a fool-proof toolkit to get our members sleeping like just-fed babies again. Our main motivator? The face of a patient who has finally slept well again for the first time in years!  No performance enhancing drug can beat that old-school effect of a good night’s rest.

Here are 5 of the easiest things to do (or eat) so you can win at sleep – and then at life:

1. Micro-manage your blood sugar

Your brain is a big scary sleeping tiger that should be fed small amounts of fuel all day – not too much, not too little. Processed carbs like cereal and milk = too much sugar = frantic restless tiger.  Coffee + croissant = too much sugar. Just coffee = too much sugar (the caffeine spikes adrenaline which then spikes blood sugar. Yes way. Sorry.)

The trick to keeping the tiger in your head calm and fed (and later ready for bed) is to have protein and fats with every meal and snack. Foods like nuts, eggs, avocados, salmon, olives, beans, seeds, our shake, steak, bacon, quinoa – all slow down the release of glucose from your stomach. A steady and stable blood sugar level keeps your adrenals happy and your mind focused. To avoid an overactive racing brain, cut back on stimulants like coffee, juice, soda, sweeteners, ‘health’ bars, tobacco, alcohol, and processed foods. Think of a kid tripping on candy after a birthday party – that kid is you after a day of coffee, chocolate, missed meals and wine.  Keep it cool adults – eat your proteins.

2. Get a wind-down ritual and ACTUALLY avoid blue light before bed

How many times do you have to read that screen time before sleep time messes with the quality of your zzz’s? Let this be the last. Just make a rule and stick to it – no electronics 1 hour before bed. Everyone who’s anything swears by it – including Jennifer Anniston . Create a zen vibe in your environment after 10pm – mostly darkness, hot shower or tub (studies show the heat causes your body temp to rise, then drop, triggering a sleepy feeling), silence or calming sounds, better breathing, warm tea. Hey remember books?

3. Take magnesium glycinate before bed

Magnesium is an essential mineral that up to 70 percent of the population is deficient in. It has many important uses including muscle, brain and nervous system function. Taking magnesium glycinate before bed can relieve anxiety and naturally support deeper sleep. We’re into it.

4. Do a five minute meditation

Just a few cycles of longer exhales and mindful breathing can make a massive difference (inhale for 4, hold for 7, exhale for 8)  This kind of breathing instantly calms the limbic system of the brain and puts your body into a less alert, more relaxed state as it prepares for sleep.

5. Relax about your sleep problem

What still keeps a lot of people awake, after they’ve tried everything, is their anxiety about not getting enough sleep. Which is a real shame, and highly counter-productive for obvious reasons.  If you wake up, or can’t sleep, don’t freak out about it — just get up and get out of bed, stretch, do a child’s pose, meditate, make love, eat a dried date dipped in almond butter (for a natural hit of tryptophan), make chamomile tea, do something random that doesn’t doesn’t require turning on all of the lights.

Need more snooze clues? Come see us!

Get the Parsley Health sleep guide.

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