Sleep time getting you down? Make the most of your sleep

I recently went to the doctor to complain about sleeping problems. Sure, I was clocking in a good amount of time in bed, but I would wake up exhausted. After a few weeks of dragging through the day, I had had enough. Enter is a doctor’s visit. That told me nothing. If I wanted to explore my sleep problems, I could pony up the cash for a sleep study that my health insurance company would not pay for.

Instead, I saved my pennies and made some changes in my own lifestyle to fix my sleep problems. Lucky for you, I’m sharing those secrets to help you get the most out of your sleep.

Make the most out of waking up. While it is tempting to push the snooze button, you won’t actually get any more good sleep out of the next 10 minutes. In fact, those extra few minutes will actually help drag your morning down. Set your mind to waking up with the first buzz of the alarm and flip on your light. The light is the ultimate wake up to your brain. Need another pick me up? Change up your shower routine. Citrus or mint shower gel can actually help invigorate your mind and give you a much needed energy boost.

Your choices during the day actually affect your sleeping pattern. Put your breakfast to good use and help it boost your morning. Think lean protein and fiber to boost your energy and to keep you full longer. And don’t forget your vitamins. They are all part of a healthy lifestyle that includes vitamins and exercise. Your body lacks energy when it does not get the vitamins it needs, so do not deny it. Want to avoid a midday slump? When you start to feel the slump, take a minute and breathe and stretch. If the midday yawns are still keeping you down, take a walk. And please, do not eat lunch at your desk. Make sure you take a lunch break outside of the office to keep your stamina up. And a snack goes a long way. Think similar to breakfast: protein and fiber; both energy boosters and healthy to boot.

I usually can fall asleep the minute my head hits the pillow. But when I can’t here is how I sleep without counting sheep. I make sure it is cool, dark and quiet. Drop the temps in your house low enough that you are not uncomfortable, but not so low that you are shivering. And cover the blinds so your mind knows that it is time to sleep. Loud neighbors or a snoring spouse? Invest in earplugs for your sanity. Still can’t sleep? Start your bed time routine off with a warm bath filled with lavender. Lavender is a natural herb that is known for its relaxing properties. Top it off with a glass of warm milk. Yes, that old wives tale really does work. Still can’t fall asleep? Focus on relaxing each part of your body, starting with your toes. There is a good chance you will be out by the time you make it to your head.