Ways to a Better Sleep
Sleep can be a mysterious trickster. Just approaching snooze-ville, and the sleep switch moment slips through your fingers like sand. You find yourself wide-awake and staring at the ceiling.
For many, our brains are the annoying bedmate. The moment we lie down, our brains start one long run-on sentence. “Wanna think about stuff? Did you call your mom on her birthday? What if it can’t wait ‘til morning? Why do birds fly in a “V” shape? Did I close my car windows?”
Not being able to fall asleep is vexing, and lack of sleep can negatively influence our health in tons of ways. Anxiety, depression, pain, digestion, cognitive function, and many other concerns can arise from poor sleep. Being able to fall asleep – and stay asleep – is an ongoing struggle for most of us these days.
Here are eight simple tips to help with consistent sleep at the end of our busy days. It is not only possible, but also probable, if you spend a little time working on your sleep routine. Create the perfect sleep, and you will arise renewed, happier, and invigorated!
- ROUTINE – Establish a consistent, reliable routine that tells our body that it is time to start shutting down. Take a sauna session. Stretch before bed. Sustain the order in which you clean your face, brush your teeth, and set out your clothes for the next day. A routine will signal your brain that “dream time” is around the corner.
- SMARTER NUTRITION – There is a misconception that you are not supposed to eat before bed. But the only issue is when the late-night bites are junk foods that normally cause you to eat over your recommended calorie intake for the day. If you want a little snack before bed, then do it. Just avoid sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. They are stimulants, and are counter-productive to the winding down process our body so desperately needs before lights out.
- MINIMAL SCREEN TIME – There are two problems with staring at a screen before bed. The blue/green light is highly thought-provoking to the brain, and the unnatural light suppresses Melatonin, which is the hormone for sleep induction. As a result, it becomes difficult to slow the brain waves down for sleep. The second problem with before-bed screen time is that flashes of images, words, and sounds stimulate your mind, subconsciously making your brain turn on when you are trying to turn off.
- LESS STIMULATION – Exercise, household chores, dinner with a friend…all this overstimulation dumps adrenaline into your system. This can result in needing a longer shut down period for your brain. Think of ways you can decrease stimuli before bed. Consider the room color, the lighting, and the wall decor. Maybe even make a rule of no technology allowed in the bedroom, whether it is TV, laptops or phones.
- FUR BABIES OFF THE BED – Many studies show that sleeping with a dog or cat decreases your sleep quality by an average of 53%, causing you to wake up more frequently. Most animal trainers will agree, your pet is better in its own space, and so are you. If you have sleep issues and Fido is sharing your sleep space, he may have to go. Dr. Mercola does a great job deliberating how to move your pet out of the room in this article.
- DARK + COOL – Research has shown our bodies produce more sleep-inducing hormones like Melatonin when it is working on re-warming from a cooled state. One of the best ways to get better sleep is to cool down the room significantly. As your body tries to re-warm under the covers, the drowsiness arises. The same effect occurs with darkness, so ditch those cute little LED night-lights.
- CONSISTENT BEDTIME – The body does not do well with bio-cycle shifting. Meaning that on the weekends, you cannot go to sleep at 2am, and expect your body to bounce back into that Monday 6am rise-and-grind routine. Remember the hack about routine? Your body desires consistency. Getting to bed and waking up at the same time can be phenomenal for your sleep hygiene.
- AYURVEDIC RULES – Ayurvedic medicine believes that your body runs on 90-minute cycles. As the day goes on, your body will get sleepy at a time that it wants you to hit the sheets. If that time arises, but it is not quite bedtime, don’t worry…the cycle comes around again in 90 minutes. If you get sleepy at 6pm – too early for most – then know that your best bedtimes are 7:30, 9:00, and 10:30.
Good quality sleep is more crucial than just about any other health deliberation. Neglect or ignore it, and serious issues can follow. Take the time to apply the above recommendations to create your personal best night of sleep, and you will be in the snooze-ville before you can count three sheep.