"Even a soul submerged in sleep is hard at work and helps make something of the world."
Round 4: Submit Results Now
Monday, February 18 - Sunday, March 3
Deadline for submitting results: Monday, March 11.
Setting the Scene for Sleep
When was the last time you had a good night's rest? According to recent studies, inadequate sleep can result in serious health consequences. The bedroom is a place the body can begin its nightly process of restoring and recharging your body and whole sense of self. It is important to note that simply turning off your devices and hoping into bed isn't the best way to prepare yourself for rest. Here are some ways to practice better sleep hygiene, using your senses as a guide:
Sight: Using the right visualization techniques in the evening can help you de-stress, unwind, fall asleep, and get better quality zzz's. Close your eyes, sit quietly, breathe deeply, and imagine a place where you felt truly relaxed or peaceful in the past. Maybe it was while standing on a serene mountaintop or sitting by the ocean. Picture the colors and other aspects of the scene in detail and let the vision in your mind calm you.
Sound: Listening to soothing music for 30 to 45 minutes before you turn in for the night can help reduce stress and anxiety, help you fall asleep more easily, and even improve the quality of your sleep. The key is to choose tunes you like that have a slow beat-such as classical music or soft jazz-because your heart rate will slow in response to them, which sets the stage for sleep.
Smell: Inhaling the scent of lavender essential oil in the evening can reduce anxiety and enhance the quality of your sleep. Besides reducing the time it takes to fall asleep, the scent of lavender, chamomile, and real vanilla have been found to increase the percentage of deep or slow-wave sleep, which can help you feel better rested in the morning.
Movement & Touch: Slow gentle movements can help unwind stiff areas of the body and make for better resting positions. Sometimes having cool sheets and a heavy blanket can be helpful sensations to calm the nerves and prepare the body for rest.
Taste: Consuming tart cherry juice can increase levels of sleep-inducing melatonin, which can put you in the mood to snooze. Similarly, having a mug of warm milk or a handful of walnuts in the evening can make you sleepy. A pleasant non-caffeinated or herbal tea can help do the trick of bringing your attention to getting ready for bed.
- Sleep.org - How Music Can Help You Sleep Better
- Sleep.org - The Best Ways to Use Your Five Senses to Gain Better Snooze Control
Featured Weekly Recipes
Light, Late-Night Snacks
This week's recipes feature light, late-night snack ideas to help curb the late-night munchies. These snacks are filling but also low in calories and are a healthy choice prior to a good night's sleep.
A common misconception is that eating snacks closer to bedtime is "bad" and that these calories are more likely to be stored as fat leading to weight gain. The truth is that our bodies burn calories around the clock and that your body is no more likely to store post-dinner snack calories as body fat as the calories that you consume at breakfast. What matters in terms of weight management is your total calorie intake over the course of the day. Try these light, late-night snack ideas to help keep your total calorie intake in line with your health goals and to fend off over-eating too many extra calories before bedtime.
Here is a list of this week's recipes to look forward to:
- Hot Brewed Tea
- Air-Popped Popcorn with Spices
- Roasted Edamame
- Citrus-Infused Strawberries