The Importance of Getting Enough Sleep – Part 3

Dr. Shawn Talbott (Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACSM, FACN, FAIS) has gone from triathlon struggler to gut-brain guru! With a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry, he's on a mission to boost everyday human performance through the power of natural solutions and the gut-brain axis.

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Here’s another excerpt from my 10th book, The Secret of Vigor – How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance and Reclaim Your Natural Energy

Some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions every year are:
*Lose Weight
*Get in Shape
*Reduce Stress
*Get Healthier
*Win the Lottery

The Secret of Vigor can help you with 4 out of 5 of the most popular resolution goals, so I’ll be posting excerpts from the book for the next several weeks – so please stay tuned for each installment.

If you simply can’t wait, then you can certainly get a copy at or at your favorite library or bookstore.

The Importance of Getting Enough Sleep – Part 3
So I offer you the several ideas in the following section on developing better sleep habits not to give you more things to add to your “to-do” list but to present some ideas and techniques that have proven helpful to many people, including me. (Additional tips can be found at

Don’t feel like you need to incorporate all these ideas perfectly. Rather, these are some suggestions for you to consider and adapt to your individual needs so you can tap into one of the most powerful VIPs—getting good sleep!

VIP: Building Better Sleep Habits

* Exercise on a regular basis. As indicated in earlier sections, exercise can help you reduce inflammation, stress hormones, blood sugar, and oxidation, and the pleasant postexercise fatigue may be just what you need to help you sink into your bed in the evening.

* Don’t exercise too close to bedtime. Exercising too close to bedtime can increase alertness enough in some people to interfere with their ability to fall asleep.

* Relax before bed. Take time to unwind by enjoying a nonelectronic relaxing activity, such as reading. Electronics, including computers, video games, and televisions, can increase alertness and stimulate the brain into a wakeful state that can make it hard to fall asleep.

* Make your bedroom dark and cool. The slow drop in body temperature that you experience in a cool room can help you feel sleepy, and a darkened room with as little light distraction as possible can help you stay asleep.

* If you can’t fall asleep after twenty minutes, get up. If you try to fall asleep and can’t, get up and do something relaxing, such as reading, until you feel tired enough to fall asleep. The stress that comes from trying to “force” yourself to fall asleep will almost certainly keep you awake longer and may interfere with restful sleep when you finally do drift off.

Smiling on Stress

Over the years, I have picked up a few witty sayings and anecdotes about coping with stress from friends and colleagues. I hope a few of them give you a chuckle, because laughter is a great way to ease stress:

1. Accept that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue.

2. Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

3. If you can’t be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

4. Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won’t have a leg to stand on.

5. Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.

6. Because it is the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.

7. The second mouse gets the cheese.

8. You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

9. A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

10. We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty, and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.

About the Author

Exercise physiologist (MS, UMass Amherst) and Nutritional Biochemist (PhD, Rutgers) who studies how lifestyle influences our biochemistry, psychology and behavior - which kind of makes me a "Psycho-Nutritionist"?!?!

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