Iron man Iron Man USA April 2017 - Page 20

T2G TRAIN TO GAIN GEAR Sleep Fitness By Amanda Burrill, MS If falling asleep is an impossible dream, we have the right gear for you. A good night’s rest is closer than you think. Establish- ing healthy sleep habits can mean the difference between being up all night and restful slumber. Long studied, re- searchers have identifi ed different aspects of “sleep hygiene” that can help anyone maximize the hours they spend sleeping. Even before you start exploring these slumber aids, make sure your own sleep habits are tucked in. I try to avoid caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine close to bedtime. I don’t consume any caffeine after noon. Alcohol is a tricky one. Although it may help you fall asleep quickly, after a few hours it acts as a stimulant in the body, increasing the number of awakenings and leading to overall decreased sleep quality. So limit it to two drinks a day, and avoid imbibing three hours before bedtime. Other habitual tips include going to bed and getting up the same time each day and en- suring the bedroom is a “sleep inducing” environment. A quiet, dark, and cool room can help promote sound slumber. Earplugs or “white noise” devices can help. Blackout shades or an eye mask block light, a powerful cue that tells the brain it’s time to wake up. You also may want to consider keeping your fur babies out of the bedroom. Some therapists suggest limiting the room to sleep and sex only. Keeping TVs, work material, and your laptop out of the bedroom will strengthen the mental association between bedroom and sleep. Whether it’s insomnia, shift work, jet lag, crying baby, or the stresses of everyday life, I assure you, there is hope! In these fast times with 24/7 connectivity, adhering to some “sleep hygiene” tips, no matter how weird it sounds, can lead to the sleep of your dreams. f.lux Cost: Free Where to get: Any bright lights at night can disrupt the sleep hor- mone melatonin, and blue light from a computer, laptop, and cell phone screens are the primary cul- prit! There are a few things you can do to reduce the amount of blue light that goes into your eyes before bedtime. The application f.lux is downloadable to any computer or cell phone and makes the color of your display adapt to the time of day. You tell it what kind of lighting you have and where you live and then f.lux does the rest. It won’t work on your iPhone, so I suggest using the “Night Shift” function (found under “Settings”) instead. Remember, you can always just put the phone away a few hours before bed. Instagram isn’t going anywhere. Mammagard Pillow Cost: $50 Where to buy: Calling all you female stomach sleepers. This orthotic device is scientifically proven to stop breasts from being compressed or displaced and reduce pain while lying facedown or stomach-sleeping. This is incredibly helpful to nursing mothers and those who have had their breasts surgically enhanced. The pillows come in three firmness options: super-soft, soft, and medium. Four different sizes can accommodate up to a size H breast cup. 18 APRIL 2017 | iDream Cost: Free for all iOS Where to get: iTunes App Store I use this app every night. It provides a selection of relaxing, neutral soundscapes to mask unwanted sounds—in my case the bustle of NYC noise pollution. The audio is continuous without melody or lyrics and can be set to fade out after you’ve fallen asleep. I just let it go all night. If you’re ever trying to get something done in a noisy environment and find you can’t focus, you can also pop in your headphones and get back to work with the noise blocked out. “Ocean Surf” and “Paradise” are my favor- ite sound selections.