Sleep Better, Feel Better, Live Better
A restful night’s sleep is vital for our health and wellbeing. When we sleep our bodies repair and recharge. There is nothing like the feeling of getting a good night’s sleep. You feel energised and motivated to start your day. Sleep, along with exercise and nutrition is an important pillar of health.
But sometimes our busy days bleed over into the evening and we are over-stimulated so we feel tired but wired. As a society we have got to a place where checking our social media and responding to emails at all hours of the day is more important than taking time for ourselves. Our lifestyle, stress levels and food choices throughout the day all affect how well we sleep.
I want to share with you some tips if you’re feeling sleep deprived that will positively impact the quality of your sleep.
Limit Screen Time
Electronic devices emit a blue light and this blue light sends a message to our pineal gland not to make melatonin. Anyone struggling with sleep should turn off all technology and bright screens at least 90 minutes minutes before bed. This reduces the amount of mental and emotional stimulation which often keeps us awake. Instead, dim the lights and switch to relax mode to let your body know that the day is over and it’s time to switch off.
Skip or Reduce Caffeine and Alcohol
Caffeine is a stimulant and lasts for many hours in the bloodstream so be honest about how much caffeine you are drinking and notice how it affects you. Some people are more caffeine sensitive than others so if you find caffeine is affecting your sleep have your coffee before noon. Try a cup of soothing chamomile tea before bedtime. Chamomile is synonymous with sleep and is even commonly regarded as a mild tranquilizer due to it’s relaxing properties. Lemon balm tea is also delicious. It is known for having calming effects on anxiety and sleeping disorders and contains nutrients which help induce sleep. Sipping a warm drink while you’re curled up with a good book is a perfect combo to add to your sleep routine.
While a glass of wine is enjoyable every once in a while, alcohol can have a negative impact. Alcohol feels like a sedative at first which makes us feel relaxed and worry-free and you will fall asleep faster after a couple of drinks. However, as it’s metabolised, acetaldehyde is produced and this acts like a stimulant which is why we wake up in the early hours of the morning. Avoid alcohol for a week and see if your sleep improves.
The Importance of Melatonin
What you do before you sleep can influence whether your sleep hormone melatonin is produced or suppressed. Healthy melatonin production enables your natural body clock to work as it should, so you wake up feeling rested in the morning and feel sleepy at night. Melatonin production is inhibited by light, it is only produced in darkness.
There are several natural ways you can increase your melatonin production including increasing your sunlight exposure especially in the morning. Going outside in the morning for a walk or run and exposing yourself to natural light helps you sleep better in the evening.
Foods that boost the production of melatonin include, oats, walnuts, bananas, almonds or dark green leafy vegetables. Tart cherry juice has been found to significantly increase levels in the body. Eat balanced meals throughout the day, and try to have dinner 2-3 hours pre-bedtime, so the body has time to digest the food and rest.
Practice a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Your bedroom should be your sanctuary, soothing colours and a calm environment equal better sleep. Taking time to relax before sleeping will help to calm your mind and body. Try listening to soothing music, meditation, journaling or simply relaxing in a warm epsom salt bath. Lavender scents induce a state of relaxation, dab on your wrist or add to your essential oil diffuser, to promote sleep and induce tiredness.
Restorative yoga can be very effective in preparing our bodies for deep restful sleep. It is meditative and calming and soothes our nervous system. Engaging in a meditative practice is a wonderful way to end your day in a peaceful way, and to transition into a deep sleep.
Getting more sleep is one of the easiest and simplest ways to improve your health and even a few small tweaks to your everyday habits can make a difference. Try to implement some of these tips and see what works for you.
I hope this post was helpful.