July 15, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Got Milk? Get Sleep.

 Like every other multi tasking mid-lifer I know, I’m pooped. And while I am no Madeline Kahn, “Let’s face it, I’m tired.†And yet… there are nights, no matter how exhausted I am when I tuck myself in, that I watch as the clock creeps past the double digits and in to wee hours of the morning. I grunt, I curse, I vow to give up caffeine and work out more, then finally fall asleep around 2:00am – just in time for a nap before waking to rouse my family for the next day.

Grrr….

Sleeping pills? Sure, I’ve thought of ‘em and I’ve even tried a few. But most leave me in a fog the morning after…. So, most days I inevitably give in to the blessing of a cappuccino around 3:00pm no matter how strong my pre-noon conviction about giving up caffeine is.

Benadryl? Nope – I’m immune to its pacifying qualities – I’m allergic to most everything (including myself) and thus rely on its blessed ability to stop the flow of bodily fluids from my nose.

A relaxing glass of wine? Unfortunately, while we think it may lull us into a fabulous slumber, alcohol can actually disrupt sleep cycles and cause some breathing problems, resulting in some pretty inefficient sleep — and who needs to carbo load right before bed?

But wait, now there is another way to combat this dirge … it’s simple, cheap and doesn’t require a prescription…. It’s milk.

“Whether you drink it warm or cold, drinking milk has been scientifically proven to help relax the body,†says Dr. Nina L Shapiro of the University of California, Los Angeles’ Geffen School of Medicine and the Sleep Center. “Milk is high in protein, vitamins, calcium, and the amino acid tryptophan which all have a positive impact on sleep quality.”

While normally skeptical, I believe Dr. Shapiro, Director, Pediatric Otolaryngology Professor of Head and Neck Surgery at UCLA because she operated on my younger son who sounded like Darth Vader when he slept and shortly after she snipped out his adenoids, slept through the night thus behaving far better while awake.

Along with consuming the nighttime drink, milk an hour or two prior to bed, Dr. Shapiro encourages practicing the following nighttime routine:

NO SUGAR – A bowl of frosted marshmallow flakes or a scoop of ice cream can be very tempting as nighttime snack. Sugary foods will cause a sudden spike in blood sugar levels, followed by a crash one to two hours later. This may lead to restlessness and nighttime wakening. Avoiding sugar will help relax the body before bed and enhance both depth of sleep and sleep quality.

SHUT OFF – Most of us aren’t getting enough sleep because we’re always “ON.†We’re over-scheduled and over-stimulated with television, computers, smartphones and other electronic devices. Why not dedicate the last hour before bed to YOU? Take the time to decompress, take a bath and turn off electronic devices. Doing so will keep your mind at peace, preparing you for a good night’s rest.

TO-DO LIST – If you find yourself thinking of things you need to do after you’ve left the office for the day, write them down on a piece of paper (or your phone’s notepad) and put them away. Not only will you have a clear roadmap for the next morning, but you’ll also clear your head and focus on rest.

For more tips from Dr. Shapiro and to view the new GOT MILK? ads, visit www.gotmilk.com.

So bottoms up and sleep tight.

About Dr. Nina Shapiro
A graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Nina Shapiro has been on faculty of the UCLA Department of Head and Neck Surgery since 1997. She’s currently a Professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. At the Sleep Center, she has treated tens of thousands of patients with sleep disorders. She’s the author of two books, including the bestseller “Take a Deep Breath†, and has written over 70 peer-reviewed journal articles plus 14 book chapters. She is a regular guest on the TV show “The Doctors”, and has appeared on “Extra” LifeChangers, CBS “The Early Show”, NPR, the Los Angeles Times and The Hallmark Channel’s “Home and Family.”

Given the above, she needs a good night’s sleep even more than I. For more information about this accomplished woman, see www.drninashapiro.com

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