Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. Sleep is an essential function that allows your body and mind to recharge, leaving you refreshed and alert when you wake up. Without enough sleep, the brain cannot function properly. Good sleep also helps the body remain healthy and starve off diseases. The way you feel while you're awake depends in part on what happens while you're sleeping.
OPTIMIZE YOUR SLEEP ENVIRONMENT
Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, relaxing, cool, clean and an enjoyable place. Minimize external noise, light and artificial lights from devices like alarm clocks. Leave your cell phone in the bathroom. Get block out curtains.
COOL YOUR BEDROOM AT NIGHT
Your sleep cycle follows your core body temperature cycle. In the evening, your temperature falls. This drop is a signal to your brain that it is time to sleep. Sleeping in a cooler environment (between 65ºF - 75ºF) encourages this process, helping you get to sleep quicker and easier.
MAINTAIN A REGULAR SLEEP SCHEDULE
Having a consistent bedtime and wake-up time (7-9 hours apart), even on the weekends, is one of the most important steps to mastering a perfect night of sleep This step is vital because it helps set the pace of your body’s circadian rhythm. When you wake up, the light comes into your eyes and resets that rhythm every single morning. If you do this consistently, your brain will know what to do and when to do it every single day. So, try and stick to one sleep schedule seven days a week, and you’ll be well on your way to better sleep.
AVOID BLUE LIGHT AT NIGHTTIME
Blue light emitted by electronic devices like cell phones, TVs, and computers blocks your brain’s production of the hormone melatonin. In a nutshell, this means too much exposure to blue light too close to bedtime can make falling asleep quite difficult. If you can’t avoid screens late at night, try wearing blue light blocking glasses for 2 to 3 hours before you go to sleep.
RELAX AND CLEAR YOUR MIND IN THE EVENING
Meditation is a wonderful tool for stress relief, reducing anxiety, and getting your mind and body relaxed and ready for sleep. Practicing meditation before bed can go a long way towards putting you in the mood for sleep. If you’ve never tried meditation before, there are plenty of resources available. Breathing meditation, progressive muscle relaxation and guided meditation apps are a great place to start.
Listen to relaxing music, read a book, or take a relaxing bath or shower is another popular way to sleep better, if you don’t want to take a full bath at night, simply bathing your feet in hot water can help you relax and improve sleep. Try out different methods and find what works best for you.
SUPPLEMENTS FOR SLEEP & RELAXATION
There are a number of supplements that may help you get to sleep and even sleep better throughout the night. Some people benefit from Calcium Calm *magnesium powder, *melatonin or valerian root extract, before bed. To calm the mind from stress: Lemon balm, Chamomile Tea, Theanine with Relora and CBD can be taken during the day and before bed.
*Besides healthy sleep, getting the right amount of magnesium can help prevent stroke, heart attack, and bone diseases.
Other food sources rich in magnesium include:
spinach, kale, broccoli, and dark green vegetables
milk, with the highest amounts in non-skim milk
cereals, oatmeal, and bran flakes
sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, and walnuts
Melatonin is a hormone produced in your body. It’s partially responsible for regulating a person’s circadian rhythm, or their sleep-wake cycle. It’s also useful when traveling and adjusting to a new time zone. Take around 1-3 mg, 30-60 minutes before bed. Start with a low dose to assess your tolerance and then increase it slowly as needed.
Foods with naturally occurring melatonin include:
STOP CAFFEINE BY 2:00 PM
This includes Soda, Coffee, Energy drinks, Chocolate and some Supplements. You may want to reach for that soda or coffee when the afternoon slump hits around 2:30 PM, but doing so may impact the quality of your sleep. Caffeine last 6 to 8 hours, so stopping caffeine by 2:00 PM is important if you’re planning a bedtime that’s around 10:00 PM or earlier. In other words, an 8 oz cup of coffee has around 100 mg of caffeine, so having a coffee at 4:00 PM means you will still have 50mg of caffeine in your system at 10:00 PM.
Getting exercise during the day can help strengthen your circadian rhythm, promote daytime alertness, and even help you feel sleepy when it’s time to turn out the lights. However, it may be best to avoid exercise right before bedtime. This is because intense physical activity can raise your body temperature and disrupt sleep. When possible, try to get your exercise completed at least 4 hours before bedtime, which will give you time to relax before bed.
AVOID ALCOHOL AND SUGAR WITHIN 2 HOURS OF YOUR BEDTIME
It may not be an issue to enjoy an occasional alcoholic beverage in the evening. The problem arises, however, if you indulge in that glass of wine or desert too close to going to bed. If your body is still digesting alcohol when you lie down, this could affect the quality of the sleep you get early in the night. Ideally, give yourself about 2-3 hours between your last drink and lights out, so that the alcohol can be digested. This will help limit any negative effects on your sleep.
Believe it or not, sunlight stops the release of melatonin in your brain. This helps the brain and body to wake up and also regulates your circadian rhythm. It’s incredibly easy to take advantage of this information. In the first 30 minutes after you wake up, try to walk outside or go to a window for some direct sunlight.
LASTLY, GET TESTED FOR SLEEP APNEA
If you still can’t get a good night’s sleep then get tested. Sleep apnea is a fairly common sleep disturbance, and roughly 70% of people with sleep apnea go undiagnosed. When it comes to getting all the benefits that sleep has to offer, it’s not just about how many hours you spend asleep, but what’s happening during those hours. If you aren’t waking up feeling rested, consider looking into a sleep study to see if sleep apnea is an issue for you.
If you enjoyed these tips, I invite you to Follow my Facebook page for helpful tips and advice on aging, energy, hormones, gut health, happiness and so much more: