Sleep. We all do it, we just don’t always do it well. A good night’s sleep is just as important as a kick ass training schedule and healthy diet. Focusing more on one without nurturing the other will only get you so far. You see, when it comes to reaching your goals and optimizing your health, quality sleep should never be overlooked. Taking a serious toll on your daytime energy, hormones, exercise performance, productivity, emotional balance, and even your weight. Yet many of us regularly toss and turn at night, struggling to get the sleep we need.
Getting that much needed good night’s sleep may seem like an impossible goal when you’re wide awake at 2 a.m., but you have much more control over the quality of your sleep than you probably realize. Just as the way you feel during your waking hours often hinges on how well you sleep at night, the cure for sleep difficulties can often be found in your daily routine.
With some tweaks to your daytime habits and lifestyle choices you can optimize your wellness and say hello to creativity, vitality and overall improve how you think and feel during the day.
Here are some tips to help you enjoy better sleep at night:
1. Reduce / stop consuming caffeine after noon
When consumed late in the day, caffeine stimulates your nervous system and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night. Since caffeine can stay elevated in your blood for 6–8 hours, drinking large amounts of coffee in the afternoon is not recommended, especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine or have trouble sleeping
2. Move your body daily
Daily exercise has across-the-board benefits for health, and the changes it initiates in energy use and body temperature can promote better quality sleep.
3. Avoid eating too late at night/ too close to bedtime
It can be harder to fall asleep if your body is still digesting a big dinner. To keep food-based sleep disruptions to a minimum, try to avoid late dinners and minimize especially fatty or spicy foods. If you need an evening snack, opt for something light and healthy.
4. Establish an evening routine
It’s much easier to doze off smoothly if you are at-ease. Get into the habit of easing into sleep with a routine, similar to how you would with a child. Things such as a bath or shower, quiet reading, low-impact stretching or listening to soothing music will get you into the right frame of mind for sleep.
5. Try to keep the sleep + wake times relatively the same every night
And aim for 7-8hrs /night. It’s close to impossible for your body to get accustomed to a healthy sleep routine if you’re constantly sleeping and waking at different times. Pick a time and stick with it, even on weekends or other days when you would otherwise be tempted to sleep in.
6. Keep your room cool
Striking a balance between the thermostat, the bed covers, and your sleeping attire will reduce your core body temperature and help you drift off to sleep faster and more deeply.
7. Use a weighted blanket
Weighted blankets use deep pressure stimulation, which is thought to stimulate the production of a mood-boosting hormone (serotonin), reduce the stress hormone (cortisol), and increase levels of melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep.
8. Experience daylight and darkness
Get out and expose your body to sunlight or artificial bright light throughout the day. If possible, use blackout curtains to make your room dark at night. Light can influence your body's internal clock which regulates sleep and wakefulness.
Journaling before bed can decrease distractions, overthinking, and worry, allowing your body to ease into a deeper sleep faster.
10. Drink Tulsi Tea
Tulsi, also known as Holy Basil, is one of the most sacred plants in India and considered “queen of the herbs.” Long hailed for her restorative and spiritual effects on the body and mind, tulsi has been used for thousands of years to support a healthy response to stress, aid in restoring natural sleep rhythms and calm an overactive mind. Sipping on a cup before bed will lull you right to sleep. This one here is what dreams are made of. all is well. dream. hand crafted herbal tea, $16.99
Whatever your wellness goals are, sleep is always intertwined. Don’t over complicate things. If you want to lose weight? Feel more energized? Improve digestion? Boost your mood? Heal an aliment? SLEEP. Figure out what works for you and stick to it. The better we sleep, the better we are.
Wishing you the sweetest most magical sleep.
You are well on your way.
Sabrina Virdee CPT, RHN