Sleep like a baby at night and avoid feeling like a grumpy zombie all day.
What we do with our evening hours directly affects our quality of sleep which significantly influences our moods, energy levels and more the next day.
Chronic lack of sleep can cause weight gain, hormonal imbalances, reductions in immune function, dull skin, lack of mental focus and depression.
Sleep restores everything in our bodies including our immune, hormonal, nervous, skeletal and muscular systems. It also helps regulate our metabolism including blood sugar and insulin levels. Adequate sleep helps us stay mentally alert in order to think, learn and make better decisions.
How to optimize your sleep quality so you can wake up "bright eyed and bushy tailed" every morning:
- Keep a regular routine – establishing a sleep schedule and trying to stick to it as consistently as possible will help your body know when it’s time to start relaxing
- Limit caffeine & alcohol after 2pm. Alcohol & caffeine can both affect how deep you sleep by disrupting REM sleep
- Don’t eat large meals (or drink too much fluid) closer than 3 hours before bedtime. If you’re hungry before bed eat a small, protein based snack.
- Exercise regularly - but don’t do an intense workout too close to bedtime.
- Tidy up your bedroom. Mess = stress. Your bedroom should be quiet, peaceful, relatively organized and free of anxiety-creating clutter
- Set your room to an appropriate temperature – According to the National Sleep Foundation, the ideal sleeping temperature is 65 degrees.
- Sleep at least 7 hours – 9 hours and go to bed before midnight. Do the math and start a regular seep ritual 30 - 60 minutes before you need to hit the hay. Every hour of sleep before midnight is worth 2 hours after.
- Create a sleep ritual that includes:
- Doing a brain dump – Jot down on paper whatever is on your mind to get racing thoughts out of your head before bed.
- Turning off all electronics – declare the last 30 -60 minutes before bed a digital-free zone (TV, computer, phone etc.) The light from the screens of your electronics is a blue spectrum light that tells the brain to stop producing melatonin. Melatonin ensures deep sleep
- Turning down the lights – turning down lights ahead of bedtime ramps up melatonin production so you can doze off. Make your sleeping environment as dark as possible (cover your windows, turn your phone face down, turn your alarm clock around)
- De-stressing – reading, listening to calming music, meditation and gentle movement (such as yoga or stretching) for as little as 5 – 15 mins can release tension and activate calm-down chemicals. Save stressful activities for the morning
- Taking an Epson salts bath – warm water can help relax us and the magnesium in the Epsom salts can help improve sleep.
- Using aromatherapy – Evidence suggests that certain scents can create a calming effect on the body. An essential oil diffuser or mister can enhance your bedtime ritual. Try lavender, clary sage or chamomile oils.
Do you have a sleep solution that works for you? Leave a comment below