Most of us grew up hearing the number "8" when it came to our health. We needed to drink eight glasses of water every day and we also needed to get eight hours of sleep every night. Unfortunately, most of us are pretty hard-headed. Reportedly, 75 percent of us are not only dehydrated but chronically so while 40 percent of us aren't catching enough zzz's.
On the sleep tip, this is a problem because it's when we're sound asleep that our minds and bodies get time to refresh and recharge. As a result, our stress levels are reduced, our heart gets stronger, our memory levels improve, we lower our risk of anxiety and depression and even our cells produce more protein so that they can repair any damage that may have occurred to them throughout the day.
That's why, no matter what you've got happening on your to-do list, sleep has got to be treated as a top priority. Not just sleep…good sleep. If mentally you know all of this but, deep down, you have to admit that you're not getting the kind of quality rest that your body truly deserves, here are some tips that are sure to take your sleep experience to another level, just as soon as tonight (if you actually make the time to apply them!)
10 Simple Ways To Improve Your Sleep
Eat Breakfast Food at Night
If you've never had an omelet or a piece (or two) of French toast for dinner, you don't know what you're missing! Not only is breakfast food at nighttime absolutely delicious, but certain ones can also help you to get the much-needed rest that you're after too.
The key is to eat foods that are high in complex carbs, protein, calcium, and tryptophan (it's what turkey is full of and why you want to fall asleep right after you eat some of it). Some of the foods that contain this combo are traditional breakfast ones including scrambled eggs, whole grain cereal or toast, yogurt with granola, bagels with salmon and cream cheese or a banana, raspberry and almond milk smoothie.
Take a Magnesium, Calcium and Zinc Supplement
Virtually every part of our body needs magnesium, calcium, and zinc. For starters, it keeps our nerves, bones, muscles, brain and cellular health intact. When our systems are deficient in any of these, it can trigger restlessness, anxiety and even insomnia.
I can personally attest to the fact that if you take this three-combo supplement about an hour or two before bed for about a week, you will end up having some of the best sleep of your entire life! Whenever I take it, I feel a noticeable difference in a good way. When I don't, sleep just isn't as awesome.
Turn Your Thermostat Down
I don't know about you, but I personally think there is nothing worse than falling asleep when I'm hot. The thing that I couldn't figure out for the longest is how I could go to bed feeling totally comfortable and then, in the middle of the night, I would be burning up. What I discovered is our body temperature changes, a few times, throughout the night. The way to not allow that to disrupt your sleep is by turning your thermostat down.
How low? Between 60-67 degrees is good. If you crack open your bedroom window (so that carbon dioxide fumes die down), that's even better. You'll stay cool and your electricity bill will be less expensive in the process.
Use Cotton Sheets
First question—how often do you change your sheets? You should be doing it once a week or once every other week. Your skin is constantly shedding dead skin cells; for the sake of your long-term health, you need to remove the bacteria from your bedding.
Second question—what kind of bedding do you use? According to sleep experts, sheets that are made out of a Pima cotton or an Egyptian cotton that have a sateen finish are best. What's so great about sateen sheets? They're softer. Also, for quality's sake, make sure to get new sheets every 18-24 months.
Oh, and if you're entering into menopause and you want to reduce the feeling of hot flashes in the middle of the night, look for moisture-wicking sheets. If you've never heard of those before, don't worry too much about it. Just ask a sales associate in the store where you're planning to purchase them to point you in the right direction.
Apply Essential Oils to Your Feet
I'm pretty sure that you've heard somewhere that lavender is great for helping you to fall asleep. Whether you decide to light up a lavender candle, sprinkle some of the oil on your sheets or even dab a bit underneath your nose, it has a way of relieving anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia-related symptoms.
What you might not know is if you want the oil to be the most effective, try rubbing some onto the soles of your feet about 30 minutes or so before turning in. The reason why this is such a smart thing to do is because your soles have five skin layers and absolutely no hair follicles. The combo makes the pores down there super-absorbent so that the lavender is able to get into your bloodstream pretty fast (which is why you should wear flip-flops when you're mopping the floor, etc.).
How fast? It shouldn't take more than 20 minutes before you're feeling super calm and very relaxed.
Blow Some Bubbles
Unless you have kids, you probably haven't blown bubbles since you were one yourself. But, believe it or not, it's another way to help you to catch some zzz's. According to aNew York Post article, blowing bubbles is a fun form of deep breathing that helps to calm your nerves and relax your body.
It might sound crazy but hey, don't knock it until you try it!
Turn on Some White Noise
My last boyfriend was a music producer. A part of what that meant is, it was rare that he didn't want to go to sleep without some sort of music on. It drove me batty because while I'm a music lover as well, I personally like to sleep in silence. Or, at least until the past couple of months, I did.
What's changed? I really like the sound of rain when I sleep, so I've been playing white noise with rain sounds more often. When I read up on why I can sleep so well with those noises and not so well with music, I found that apparently when a noise wakes us up in the middle of the night, it's the change in frequencies that startle us more than anything. What white noise does is mask other frequencies so that it blocks out outside noise that has low, medium and high ever-changing frequencies that might disturb us.
White noise sounds that are really effective include rain, thunderstorms, the sound of a fan, ocean waves and pink noise. What in the world is "pink noise"? You can read more about here.
Put Some Beeswax on Your Hair, Skin and/or Lips
Here's a tip that I bet you didn't see coming. If you're someone who uses beeswax on your hair, whether you realize it or not, you're being pretty proactive when it comes to doing what is needed to fall asleep. That's because beeswax contains a compound called octacosanol. One thing that it does is lower the cholesterol levels in your body. The other thing it does is decrease your stress levels. The combo can make it easier for you to fall asleep.
Drink Some Coconut Water with Honey
If you don't have any coconut water in your possession, you definitely should get some. Although it's made up of 94 percent water, coconut water also contains a good amount of calcium and magnesium, which we already discussed are must-have sleep nutrients. Something else that coconut water has plenty of is Vitamin B; there are studies to support that a lot of people who struggle with insomnia are typically Vitamin B deficient.
If you warm coconut water up and put a teaspoon of honey into it, even better! Long story short, our brains need energy even to stay asleep. When it runs out, sometimes that's what wakes us up. Honey is a food that will give your brain cells just the energy boost that it needs so that you can stay sound asleep all throughout the night.
As a bonus, honey also helps to stabilize your blood sugar levels as well as support the release of melatonin within your system. Melatonin is what helps to keep your sleep/wake cycles in their proper balance.
Yep. I saved the best for last. Think back to the last time you had sex that was followed by a night's sleep. Didn't you have some of the best rest EVER?! The reason is because sexual activity (especially orgasms) boosts the oxytocin and melatonin levels in your system. Whenever that happens, it makes you more relaxed, which makes it so much easier to fall asleep quicker; more soundly too.
So, if you've been having a really hard time falling or staying asleep, have some sex first. It might be all that you need to catch some much-needed zzz's (probably a few other things that you've been needing too!).
Featured image by Getty Images.
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- The Science of Sleep: A Brief Guide on How to Sleep Better Every ... ›
- Simple ways to improve your sleep ›
- 6 Simple Ways to Improve Sleep | Stonesoup ›
- 11 Simple Ways to Improve Your Sleep - BrainCheck ›
- Sleeping Tips & Tricks - National Sleep Foundation ›
- 14 Ways to Improve Your Sleep | HuffPost Life ›
- 17 Proven Tips to Sleep Better at Night ›
- Sleep tips: 6 steps to better sleep - Mayo Clinic ›
- Twelve Simple Tips to Improve Your Sleep | Healthy Sleep ›
- How to Sleep Better - HelpGuide.org ›
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
If the recurring strikes and scandals didn't give you an inkling of how seedy the entertainment industry can be, surely you can look to stories of former child stars whose fame of yesteryears can, at times, be a source of the conflict and inner turmoil they encounter today. While some child stars were able to keep riding the Hollywood wave to new levels and heights in a decades-spanning career, some found success occupying other lanes like retail, and some still look to the past as if it were yesterday with heavy regret due to the career that could have, or even should have, been.
Tiffany Evans' claim to fame happened early on in her childhood as her powerhouse vocals caught the attention of many during her time as a contestant on Star Search in 2003. At the time, she wasn't even 12, but she was racking up perfect scores with every performance, a competition first. Unsurprisingly, she scored a record deal shortly thereafter. Tiffany would go on to release her self-titled debut album in 2008 with singles like "I'm Grown" and perhaps her biggest hit, "Promise Ring," which featured Ciara. In 2005, she also had a minor role in the Tyler Perry film Diary of a Mad Black Woman.
Two decades later, Tiffany is now reminiscing on being able to spend her childhood years doing something she loved but regrettably having "nothing to show for it" as an adult, all due to greed and because the industry will either lift you up or spit you out.
Recently, an Instagram post published by The Neighborhood Talk shared a comment Tiffany left on the Instagram account @flyandfamousblackgirls regarding her experience with childhood fame. The post she commented on was a picture of herself from February 2003, when she appeared as a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The comment she left felt like an open letter to her inner child. In it, she recounted manipulation, missed opportunities, and abuse she encountered during that time.
"If I knew then what I know now I would have done things differently. I wish I could've changed so much that was going around this little girl. Everybody took from me. All of the hard earned money I made. The work I put in. They took from me, ruined some relationships in this business for me, squandered some opportunities that if you guys knew about it, you would've wanted to get it back in blood for me.
"I spent years doing something that I love, to become an adult and have nothing to show for it. It bothers my mental a lot some time. The ones who know the truth, really know... from a teenager to my adult years I went out looking for love in wrong places, was manipulated, and terribly abused."
Tiffany then expressed that her journey to where she's grown to since her time in the limelight brought her beauty that she has so much gratitude for. Since music will always be a priority for her, what she has been through doesn't stop her from wanting to see her career go further than it was allowed to go in the past.
Her comment continued, "Out of that kind of life I gained beautiful children, I met my soulmate but I really want to see what I worked so hard for all my childhood finally come to life! And I love music so I'm really working at it still y'all. I trust the Lord. Thank you for always rooting for me love y'all!"
"Please keep rooting for me." Tiffany ended her comment, prompting people to follow her music page. "we're dropping music together and some solo stuff soon too."
We're always rooting for you, Tiffany!
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Featured image by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images