Sometimes sleep isn’t a priority for many of us in this modern fast-paced life. Back in the olden days, people would wind down and go to sleep right after the sun set and woke up as it rose back up into the sky – averaging 9-10 hours every night! In today’s society, many of us average only 5-7. Crazy difference, right?!
Not enough sleep and/or poor quality of sleep can result in poor memory & concentration, increased hunger & sugar cravings, decreased athletic performance, lowered immunity, inhibition of fat loss, increase in stress hormones, mood swings, quicken the aging process, & much more.
The amount and quality of sleep that you get each night impacts your health tremendously. Sleep is important because this is the time that your body restores itself. When you’re awake, your brain produces a chemical called adenosine. When this chemical builds up and floods your brain, you will start to feel sleepy and, therefore, need to rest. When you're asleep, your body and brain clear itself of this chemical. During sleep your body also removes excess toxins in the brain, digestive system, organs, and tissues throughout your body, repairs its cells, and muscle growth is done mainly while your body is at rest. Studies have shown that it’s best to get an average of 8-10 hours of sleep each night. With the proper amount of sleep, you’ll experience better concentration, tons of energy without having to use stimulant drugs such as caffeine, increased fat burning abilities, happier mood, decreased pain & inflammation, improved complexion, strong immunity, and so much more!
If you’re having trouble with getting restful sleep, here are my top tips!
1) Get on a regular sleep schedule. If you go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, your body’s circadian rhythm (your body’s biological clock) will adjust accordingly and this will help improve your quality of sleep.
2) Adjust melatonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland that regulates your body’s circadian rhythm. In order to promote better sleep, decreasing melatonin levels during the day and increasing them at night is key. You can decrease melatonin during the day by going outside during the early hours and absorbing at least 20 minutes sunlight. You can decrease it at night by dimming the lights in your home or by simply taking a melatonin supplement.
3) No phone or TV at least 1 hour before bed – as soon as the sun sets is even better. I know this is hard, but the light from your phone or any electronic device will decrease melatonin levels in your brain and trick your mind into thinking that it's daytime so you’ll have a tough time falling asleep.
4) Orange lights. Turn off any blue or white lights in your home. Once the sun has set, all lights should be from Himalayan salt lamps, amber colored light bulbs, or candlelight. The orange light will tell your brain that it is time to start winding down to get ready for bed. You can also wear blue light blocking glasses. My favorites from Quay.
5) Nightshift on your phone and computer. You can go into the display settings and use Nightshift to set your phone and computer to have an orange tint over the screen as soon as the sun sets and it will stay there until the sun rises again.
6) Brain dump journaling. Brain dumping is a form of journaling where you write down EVEYTHING that is on your mind. Once everything is released onto paper, it sets your mind free from overthinking and will help you fall asleep faster.
7) Write down tomorrow’s to do list. That way you no longer have to worry about remembering what you need to do the next day. The less thoughts you have, the better quality of your sleep.
8) Magnesium. Magnesium is an important supplement to incorporate into your daily life in general because promotes restful sleep, helps with digestion, can help with cramps, and relieves muscle aches and spasms. It’s best to take it at the end of the day, a couple of hours before bedtime. Before careful not to take too much as it can have a laxative effect! My favorite one is from Pure Vitamin Club - this brand uses no additives or fillers. There are various types of magnesium that do different things for your body. This particular brand combines magnesium glycinate, magnesium carbonate, magnesium taurate, and magnesium citrate.
9) Lavender essential oil. Mix a drop of it with coconut oil and rub it on your chest, put a few drops in a spray bottle with water and spray it on your pillow, or use an oil diffuser. Inhaling lavender promotes relaxation and decreases anxiety.
10) Create a great space for sleep. Make sure that your bedroom consists of pure darkness, is a comfortable temperature, and is completely quiet.
11) Stop eating at least 3 hours before bed. Food gives you energy and there’s no need to feed your body just to lay down and go to sleep. It’s like putting gas in a car that’s just going to sit in the driveway. Your body will better repair it’s tissues overnight if you stop eating at least 3 hours before bed because it can focus on repair instead of using its energy to digest your food.
12) Meditation. This one is HUGE. Meditation has become one of my nightly rituals and it has changed my life.
13) Be mindful of the timing and type of workouts that you are doing. Intense adrenaline & cortisol spiking workouts such as HIIT, running, & heavy lifting are best done in the am, while relaxing exercise such as yoga and light walking are better in the evening.
14) Make sleep a priority. This may seem like a no brainer, but so many of us don't put sleep at the top of our lists. As can be seen, the proper amount and quality of sleep is crucial, so pencil it into your schedule if you have to.
If you are still having trouble sleeping after trying these out, then you may have an underlying health condition that could be causing this. Some conditions could include, but are not limited to, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, food intolerances, thyroid problems, heavy metal toxicity, and/or chronic stress. I would recommend seeing a doctor or naturopathic doctor that would be able to diagnose and help you.
And that concludes! I hope that these tips help you achieve a restful night's sleep! Sending love & wellness your way. xx