Would you like to know the five ways to improve your sleep? Not getting the rest you need can make you feel “tired and wired”. Are you feeling exhausted or “running on stress hormones” all day?
Lack of sleep affects just about everything in your body and mind. People who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for so many health issues like
- heart disease
- certain types of cancer;
- slower metabolism,
- weight gain,
- hormone imbalance,
- and inflammation.
And don't forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making skills.
Even if you want to exercise, lack of sleep can interfere with your energy to even start.
So what are the three main purposes of sleep?
- To repair and detoxify our body
- To improve our brain's ability to learn and remember things, also known as “synaptic plasticity”.
- To conserve energy so we can function in our lives and do the activities we need to do.
You may be surprised that adults need 7-9 hours of sleep every night. I think we can all work on that one! Agreed! But how do you even start!?
Five Ways to Improve Your Sleep
1. Establish a Regular Sleep Schedule
Get yourself into a consistent sleep schedule. Make it a priority and you're more likely to achieve it. This means turning off your lights 8 hours before your alarm goes off. Every. Single. Night. I know weekends can easily throw this off but by making sleep a priority for a few weeks your body and mind will adjust and thank you for it.
2. Balance Your Blood Sugar
Balance your blood sugar throughout the day. Eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fiber). Choose the whole apple instead of the juice. Include protein in every meal. Also a bit of fat at the meal in the form of olive oil, coconut oil or nuts will also help to balance your blood sugar with your meal.
3. Expose Yourself to Light
During the day get some sunshine and exercise. If you are in the winter months with less sun, try exposing yourself to light by using something like a HappyLight which you can buy on Amazon. These things tell your body it's daytime; time for being productive, active and alert. By doing this during the day it will help you wind down more easily in the evening.
4. No Caffeine After Noon
If you drink coffee, limit your caffeine and added sugar intake until after 12 pm. Both caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a bit more active than you want it to be in the evening. Try calming teas at night like chamomile or peppermint tea.
5. Dim the Lights One Hour Before Sleep
Have a relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time (that is 8 - 10 hours before your alarm is set to go off). This would include dimming your artificial lights, turning off your screen time and perhaps reading a hand-held book or having a bath.
These are not full proof if there are other underlying causes such as abdominal discomfort or adrenal fatigue that needs to be addressed.
If you feel you need more individualized care to support you in restoring these functions, please book a call with me and we will see if we can work together.