Your Sleep Problems—Solved!
Feels like...a sudden onset of grogginess.
The Cause: Your body may be dealing with the effects of an oversize, carb-heavy meal. Carbs are more likely than fat or protein to prompt swings in insulin and blood sugar levels, as well as a spike in serotonin.
The Cure: Make sure your midday meal isn't too big, and avoid added sugars and simple carbs. Aim to fill your plate with vegetables, lean protein, and a bit of healthy fat, says nutritionist Keri Glassman, author of the recent book The New You (and Improved!) Diet. "If you want something more carb heavy, opt for a starchy veggie like a sweet potato."
Too Wired to Sleep
Feels like...you're jittery with exhaustion.
The Cause: Stress, coupled with fatigue. At a certain point, you can get so stimulated—by the very sensations of being tired and anxious—that your brain heads into overdrive. "This turns on a complex flurry of neurotransmitters involving several areas of the brain," explains Hilary Tindle, MD, an internist at the Pittsburgh Mind-Body Center. "Your mind buzzes with activity, making it nearly impossible to fall asleep."
The Cure: Instead of lying in bed replaying scenes from the day, distract yourself. Concentrating on a nonemotional task can decrease activity in the brain. Here's one diversion: Count backward from 300 by threes. "When you're doing basic math, your brain can't focus on anything else," says Breus. "It's a way to force yourself to stop ruminating and wind down."
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