Start Sleeping Better Tonight!
Not only is getting enough sleep one of the most important things we can do for our health, making sure that sleep is of really good quality is so important too.
Many aspects of our modern environments are not conducive to good sleep. With nighttime light exposure, sedentary lifestyles, minimal sunlight during the day, and regular caffeine consumption, it’s no wonder that so many people are having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.
Sleep is the time when our bodies rest, repair and rejuvenate and we need to make it a priority in our lives. Adults need 7-8 hours of sleep per night and there are just no “hacks” you can use to get around this - without enough good quality sleep we just can’t run optimally!
So today I’m going to be sharing my top tips for getting more restful sleep, so that you can start feeling refreshed and vibrant!
- Avoid screens at night. Your electronic screens - your T.V., computer, phone, or tablet - emit blue light. This blue light can signal to your brain that it’s day time by suppressing melatonin production. Melatonin is our sleep hormone - it makes us sleepy and allows for restful sleep to take place! Make it a rule to put away your phone and computer, and switch off the T.V. at least one hour before bed. Use this time to instead keep your lights dim and do some gentle stretching or read a paper book!
- Expose yourself to sunlight during the day. One of the best things you can do for your circadian rhythm, or your body’s internal clock, is to get some natural sunlight in the morning or during the day. This increases serotonin production and makes you feel more awake, while also signalling to your body that it is daytime - and that helps it distinguish the difference later when it is night time! Spend 15 minutes outside (windows block some of the effect!) every day, without sunglasses on, for the best effect.
- Exercise at least 3 hours before bed. Exercise during the day is a great way sleep better at night but when you do it too close to bedtime you risk affecting your sleep with the energy that exercise can create. Schedule time to exercise in the mornings or early afternoons and leave the hours before bed for unwinding.
- Make your bedroom as dark as possible. Even dim lights can affect our quality of sleep. Cover your windows with a blanket or energy saving curtains, cover cracks under the door if light seeps in, and cover any digital light from alarm clocks or other electronics.
- Keep things cool. Sleeping in a cool room in more conducive to good, restorative sleep. Keep your bedroom cool and choose appropriate blankets so that you don’t wake up sweating!
- Have some calming herbal teas. Have a cup of herbal tea 1-2 hours before bed. Passionflower, hops, chamomile, and lavender are great evening teas that have mild sedative or calming effects. Use freshly boiling water and steep your teas in a covered mug for about 10 minutes (longer is better!). Be sure to enjoy well before bedtime to avoid waking up in the night to pee!
- Take a look at your caffeine consumption. Caffeine should be limited to mornings. Not only is caffeine a stimulant, it can actually suppress your melatonin production for 10 hours after consumption! It also raises cortisol levels, and cortisol should ideally be low in the evenings and peak in the morning when you wake up. Take a look at the caffeine you’re consuming throughout the day - whether it’s coffee, tea, chocolate, pop, energy drinks/supplements - and eliminate it from your afternoons.
Follow these tips and make your sleep a priority - the energy and vitality that good sleep provides just can’t be found any other way!
By: Ali MacBoudreau
Ali is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant. Her mission is to help you discover just how vibrant and amazing you can feel, by giving you the tools you need to make lasting changes. (Hint, it involves delicious food!) To learn more about Ali and holistic nutrition please visit her website https://www.holisticali.com/about