32 Ways To Liven Up Your Day – Part 4/4

Run run run. The evening hours are often fast paced, filled with commuting, making sure the kids’ homework is complete and that dinner is ready and everyone is bathed and ready for bed. Here are some ways to help the fast pace stay stress free as you wind down for bed-time.

1. Pop On Your Ear-Buds During Your Evening Commute. We tend to pace our breaths with the music we are listening to, a phenomenon called “respiratory entrainment”. Try some upbeat music during your evening commute to help oxygenate your brain.

2. Get Into a Peak State. Even though all you may want to do after a long day is chill out and be left alone, acting “as if” you are full of energy when you greet your family is a proven trick to give you more energy. Peak performance coach Tony Robbins calls this “peak state” because in the process you are actually sending cues to a part of your brain called the reticular activating system which eventually helps you feel as good as you’re acting to be.

3. Hop On the Treadmill. 75 more minutes of sleep a night sounds good to me, and a study from Northwestern University in Chicago showed that insomniacs who exercised an average of 40 minutes between the hours of 1-7pm got an average of 75 more minutes of sleep a night. Kori Malyszek, a coordinator at Equinox Fitness Training Institute in Los Angeles, suggests finishing 2 hours before bed and choosing an easy routine so you are not wired at bedtime.

4. Pasta Paradise. Complex carbs like those found in pasta, risotto and polenta increase levels of tryptophan which improves sleep. Turkey is another food high in tryptophan, that’s why it’s a good bet someone in your family will be passed out on the couch after a nice Thanksgiving dinner. Just make sure to leave at least 3 hours between dinner and bedtime so your body can digest the food properly.

5. The Golden Girls. It’s always on somewhere, and soothing TV will help you wind down and sleep better. Use your DVR to record those gripping dramas which come on at 10pm and save them for an earlier hour. When you do finally drift into a slumber, research has shown it’s best to stay there for seven to eight hours. “Your alertness during the day is dependent n the quality of your sleep and on getting undisturbed sleep,” says Thomas Roth, Ph.D., a psychologist and the director of Sleep Disorder Center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

6. Cool, Dark & Quiet. Experts suggest about 65-70 degrees is the best temperature for sleep. Use a master switch to shut of all those electronic devices with LEDs in your bedroom and cover the display on the alarm clock. To insure quietude you can use earplugs or even try a white noise machine to mask distracting background noise.

7. Set An Evening Alarm. “Set the alarm on your watch or phone to remind you when it’s time to get ready for bed,” suggests Rubin Naiman, Ph.D., author of The Yoga of Sleep and an assistant professor of medicine at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. When the alarm sounds you can start turning down the lights and let your body know it’s time to call it a night.

8. Indulge In A Hot Bath. Since your core body temperature immediately drops when you step out of a hot bath, this might help you settle in for a deeper sleep suggests Michael Perlis, Ph.D., director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the University of Pennsylvania. Throw in some bubbles and scented oil and you will smell better for your partner.

9. Read A Calming Book. Maureen Corrigan, a book critic for NPR’s Fresh Air and the author of Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading suggests the anecdote filled cookbooks of M.F.K. Fisher and Laurie Colwin. “For the ideal experience, you should be wearing flannel pj’s and have a cup of tea”. (Though the tea might send you to the bathroom for #1 in the middle of the night, so that’s off the record. :)

10. For Creatures Of the Night. To find out if you’re more of a night person, Michael Terman, Ph.D., a clinical professor of psychology at the Center For Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City has devised a 19-question online quiz called the Automated Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire. Visit cet.org (click on therapeutic Resources & Tools). Although you may not be able to change your natural body rhythms, also known as circadian rhythms, you can better learn to work with your body’s natural cycles and liven up your day or night depending on your wiring.

This wraps up our four part feature on how to liven up your day in 32 ways. In our household our version of “pasta paradise” is tried and true macaroni and cheese. With that in mind we present you with our first official music video on the subject, “Mac & Cheese”. Until next week, happy days (and nights)! xo Amelia & Harold