shut-eyeSleep is undoubtedly one of the most important daily beauty “must-do’s” for every single mom, and yet in this day and age of high stress, too much social networking and  media-maxing, it is as elusive as the fountain of youth. Recent statistics reveal that 40% of Americans are sleep deprived, that is close to 100 million people. No wonder those late night infomercials are so successful!

Not sleeping is so bad for us ladies! The fact is women who lose sleep are more inclined to gain weight. Researchers have found that lack of sleep disrupts normal levels of a hormone called leptin which regulates appetite. When you are lying awake in the wee hours of the morning your body thinks you need to be searching for food or fending off danger, both of which require Cavewomen pulled on their brontosauras shrugs and hauled their butts out of bed and into the wild to gather food. Which was a great fitness balance for the rumble in their bellies.  We, on the other hand, only need to walk a few steps to the fridge, not much of a 2 am workout. The best solution is to think of anything other than food and roll over to a more comfortable position.

Women kept awake by their lovers snoring are more likely to be irritable and grouchy the next day and are 50% more likely to pick a fight. I don’t blame them! That’s a raging endorsement for any one of the latest stop snoring products like nose plugs, jaw straps and snore pillows. Seriously, it is no joke. If your mate has a snoring problem he either needs to deal with it or you’ve got to get separate sleeping quarters. It is not a bad thing. You can arrange lovemaking dates. It might even spice up your relationship by not being so available. Dude can’t just roll over and do his business. It will make the intimate time together that much more special.

Girls who don’t get their beauty sleep suffer from an increased propensity for developing breast cancer, heart disease and diabetes.  And of course lack of sufficient snooze time will not allow your skin time to restore and replenish and blood shot eyes are a constant battle, there is not enough Visine to help that sitch. Most importantly, if you are too tired to jump out of bed in the morning for your workout there is no way you can keep your girlish figure.

Luckily there are a few things you can do to revitalize your slumber. The first and most important change is to cut out caffeinated anything after 2 pm. No nighttime Starbucks Grande (550mg of caffeine) save it for an AM jolt, Red Bull and Vodka (80mg) is a nightmare in the making and dark chocolate (25mg) also a no no, sorry ladies the serotonin bene’s do not offset the caffeine high when it comes to catching zzzz’s.

Sleeping on a full stomach in general is not good for a number of reasons, sleep deprivation is only one of them. Do it like the Europeans and eat your heaviest meal midday. A lighter dinner two hours before bedtime is best. If you still need that extra somethin somethin before bed, it’s okay to have a nighttime snack as long as it’s a rich complex carb like whole grain’s. A light late night carbo load is also helpful for your morning workout! Alcohol right before going to bed is not a good idea..and if your boy is planning a night of pub crawling with his pals make him sleep in the other room when he gets home. Alcohol promotes snoring which as we learned in the earlier paragraph of uh-uh’s will further inhibit your sleep pattern and simply piss you off.

TV’s and computers in the bedroom. Just  about everyone has one or BOTH. With the right content on the screen they can provide mind numbing relaxation, but they also give off an excessive amount of blue light, the part of visible light that suppresses melatonin. Melatonin is that yummy stuff your brain produces to induce sleep. We like this stuff. You have to decide which side of the sleep equation tv and computers work for you.   As an alternative you might want to try 30 minutes of soft music instead of Conan O’brien or Facebook friending the planet. You will see what I mean.

Shift your bed time up 15 minutes earlier than usual. Keep doing this gradually over a period of two to four weeks, as long as necessary. The goal is to wake up the next morning before your alarm clock goes off feeling well rested. Do this and you will naturally find your body’s internal alarm clock and the right amount of sleep hours for you. Everyone is different, but most people are at full pep after seven to nine full hours of rest.

Make your bedroom sleep friendly. Keep it as cool and as dark as possible. Turn down your thermostat at night to the low 60’s and install black out shades or curtains. Paint your walls comforting colors like pastel blue, purple or green.  I painted one wall in my bedroom purple, but you knew that, right. Keep your room clutter free and try installing low wattage bulbs in your night stand lamp or opt for a book light that attaches directly on to your book if you are a night reader.

Finally, yoga is a fine way to unwind, clear your mind from the day’s drama and try to focus on thoughts that make you happy. My favorite sleep aid is to run my mind through my closet deciding on the next days outfit. Before I even get to the perfect shoes I am sound asleep.