When it comes to sleep, a lot of us know we need more of it. It’s critical for our mood, weight management, mental clarity, and performance in our daily activities.
But so many of us struggle to get the quantity and quality of sleep we need to function at our best. Issues I hear often include . . .
Difficulty Falling Asleep
Difficulty Staying Asleep
Fatigue no matter how many hours slept
Wired at bedtime
Due to our plugged in, lit up, fast-paced lifestyles many of us have our biochemistry (the circadian rhythm that dictates sleep and wake cycles) out of balance.
So, what can we do to reset our biological clocks to get more and better sleep?
1. Put Screens Away
We’ve all heard it before . . . the blue light from our TV, phones, and computers makes our bodies wake up and feel wired instead of drifting off to sleep. Put down the device and read a book before bed, or if absolutely necessary inhibit blue light with screens or glasses.
2. Reduce Daily Stress
The stress from the day often carries over to bedtime. The stress hormone cortisol is meant to keep us awake and alert. So, working to decrease our stress response and keep cortisol levels in check will help us sleep better at night.
3. Wind Down in the Tub
Taking a relaxing bath before bed can help you wind down at the end of the day. Adding Epsom salts (which is magnesium sulfate that absorbs through the skin) can further promote sleep and relaxation.
4. Eat Foods with Tryptophan
We have all heard of the supplement Melatonin to help sleep, but did you know that the amino acid Tryptophan is what your body uses to make melatonin. Adding tryptophan-rich foods can naturally raise your melatonin. This includes eggs, chicken, fish, tempeh, cheese, and oats.
5. Close the Kitchen After Dinner
When we eat a meal our body works hard to digest that food and break down the nutrients we consumed. If we stop eating at least 2-3 hours before bed we will be ready to rest instead of digest. Peppermint and ginger teas can help stimulate digestion to help the process along.
6. Journal Before Bed
Our brain works at night to sort out all the information we have been bombarded with during the day. By getting some of it out on paper we can release it and get in bed in a more peaceful state. It can even be as simple as listing out the things you were grateful for that day.
7. Breathing Exercises
Do you ever stay awake worrying about a problem or even running through a to-do list for the next day? Focusing my mind on a guided meditation or breathing exercise at bedtime allows my mind to calm. My muscles relax, I let go of the day and drift into a sound sleep.
The impact of sleep on our health is enormous. Please remember that better sleep doesn’t just keep you from being grumpy or mitigate road rage. And if you are trying to lose weight, increase lean muscle, or decrease body aches and pains then sleep is absolutely critical to reaching your goals.
If you need additional help to get quality sleep so your body can fully recover and heal through the night, our best trick can be yours too . . . Sleep strips.
Low dose melatonin helps you fall asleep quickly, stay asleep, and get deep, restorative sleep with increased REM sleep. 5-HTP releases critical brain neurotransmitters burned out by modern day stressors, increasing calm feelings of wellbeing. L-Theanine helps you to sleep for longer periods, awakening less often by feelings of anxiety, stress and fitfulness.
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