If you experience regular problems with falling asleep, counting sheep before sleep won’t help anymore. Try a few following simple methods that can make falling asleep easier.

Remove any electronic devices from your bedroom, especially phones, laptops and TV. Create a calm atmosphere where nothing distracts you.

Take a hot bath before sleep, it will help you relax. Hot water will also increase your body temperature, and it’s following stabilization can cause drowsiness. Adding smoothing essential oils in the water will only enhance this effect.

As far as you can, try working out in the morning or afternoon, don’t do it before sleep. Physical exercises invigorate your body due to the improvement of blood circulation and blood pressure increase. Late workout can make you have insomnia for a few hours.

Try to make your bedroom work-free and obligations-free area. Don’t take your laptop into the bed to complete some work tasks. If you will get used to the fact that your bedroom is designed only for sleep (and sex), it will be easier for you to zone out from work issues when you are in bed. Let your bedroom be your island of peace and quietness.

Try to always go to bed and wake up at the same time, including weekends. If on the weekdays you go to sleep at 11 PM and wake up at 7 AM, and on the weekends party until sunrise and don’t wake up until late afternoon, you put your biological clocks under a constant stress, as your body can’t adapt neither to the regimen of early awakenings, nor to the regimen of a “night person”.

Buy any calming essential oil, for example lavender, and sprinkle your pillow with it. Aromatherapy helps to calm down nervous system, improves sleep quality and helps to relax. And nice aroma in your room will be a great bonus.

Try drinking less coffee and black tea. We often drink too much coffee at work and it makes us insomniac. Drink coffee only before afternoon, and have warm milk or chamomile tea in the second part of the day. These drinks will calm you down.

If it takes you long to fall asleep, or you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall asleep again, then get up and do something relaxing. For example, read a book for 20-30 minutes, and then try to fall asleep again. It will help your brain to relax. Also, try to avoid doing anything noisy in this case. For example, watching TV or your favorite show on a laptop will only invigorate your nervous system.

Try to take natural remedies like herbal teas (don’t confuse them with green tea), or a bit of valerian. Melatonin also helps to fall asleep, it can be purchased in any pharmacy store.

Eliminate any extra lights. If the lanterns on the street shine brightly in your windows, buy dense blinds or curtains. It is scientifically proven, that sleep in a bright room provokes cortisol production in the body, that strongly impacts sleep quality. If it is hard for you to sleep in a complete darkness, leave a small night light on or hang a non-bright garland on the wall.

Why Cortisol is Dangerous

Cortisol is a sportsmen’s main enemy. Today we will tell you in what cases this stress hormone is produced and why high level of cortisol leads to muscles destruction and weight gain.
Cortisol hormone is produced by the body in stressful or emergency situations, during physical activities or in case of malnutrition. Its increase is kind of body’s protective mechanism. When body experiences shock, this hormone helps the brain to act faster, in case of malnutrition it provokes hunger and makes you “search” for food, during physical activities it gives extra strength.

An increase in cortisol level leads to destruction of muscle tissues as quite large reserves of quick energy. The muscles get splintered to digestible amino acids and glucose (the latter is present in the muscles as glycogen for their ability to work).

High blood pressure sends the resulting glucose to the brain, which provokes a sharp surge of energy and a kind of “adrenalin shock”. All this is a big stress for the body both in terms of energy reserves and the work of nervous system.

Taking 5-10 g of ВСАА (or even simple protein isolate) mixed with 20-30 g of high glycemic index carbohydrates right before a power workout, noticeably lowers cortisol level during the whole workout.

Carbohydrate-protein cocktail covers the body’s need in energy as quickly as possible, directing glucose into the blood and removing the need in cortisol increase. That’s why sports nutrition is important not only in bodybuilding, but also for everyone doing fitness.

It’s important to remember that diets with a sharp decrease in food quantity, combined with active sports are the main factors of cortisol increase and metabolic disorders. Body starts accumulating fat instead of burning it.
To reduce high cortisol level, first of all, you need good healthy nutrition and an adequate level of physical activities (not too low and not too high). Apart from that, reducing stress is one more important and necessary step in decreasing cortisol level.

Dana Andersson

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