Fight Insomnia Through Diet and Exercise

It's 1 a.m. You're wide awake. And there's isn't a sheep to count in sight. Relax, you're not alone. Millions of people suffer from insomnia. So, what's the cause? Unless you're a princess sleeping on a pea or just afflicted with a sleep disorder, chances are stress, lack of exercise or poor eating habits are keeping you from a quality snooze.

To reduce the hours of bad late night TV and increase productivity during the day when it really matters, follow these simple precautions.

Avoid Alcohol

You've been warned about the dangers of mixing alcohol with driving, operating machinery, work, and even sex. The same goes for nightcaps. Although touted as a traditional sleep aid, drinking two glasses or more of alcohol up to an hour before bedtime can suppress your REM time.

Don't Eat Like a Pig

Big meals can make you drowsy, but not long enough to aid sleep. Experts suggest a light evening meal consisting of chicken, extra-lean meat or fish not to exceed 500 calories.

Watch the Salsa

Meals laced with garlic, chilies, cayenne powder and other spicy gas-forming foods can cause abdominal discomfort, which wreaks havoc with your REM.

Exercise Your Way to REM

A Stanford study suggests that as little as 45 minutes a day of exercise twice a week helps people sleep up to 45 minutes longer. However, strenuous exercise should be avoided up to six hours before bedtime, and mild exercise should be discontinued four hours prior to snoozing.

High-Carbohydrate Bedtime Snacks

Snack foods such as crackers, fruit, cookies or toast can help the release of a natural sleep aid called serotonin within the blood stream. While the aforementioned edibles are better than a chemical sleep aid, be sure to watch your overall calorie intake for the day.

Still can't fall asleep? Get out of bed and go to the gym for a workout! 24 Hour Fitness gyms are open 24 hours a day... more then just a cute name! Regular exercise can help you sleep better, give you more energy during the day and also help you look and feel better. So what are you waiting for?

This information and other information on this site is intended for general reference purposes only and is not intended to address specific medical conditions. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice or a medical exam. Prior to participating in any exercise program or activity, you should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition.