In the busyness of our lives, it’s easy to underestimate the power of sleep, especially when we try to fit a zillion things into our days and weeks. When we disrupt our sleep pattern, our immune system tends to shut down, skin ages more rapidly, extra pounds are put on, and our thought retention capacity is diminished.
In lieu of improving sleep, people have learned to rely on OTC pill and prescription drugs to get through the night. However, you can improve your sleep with more natural remedies that will have you sleeping sounder at night and reaping the benefits the next day. As we learn to tune into our biological internal clocks – also called circadian rhythm – our day-to-day wellbeing is highly increased.
Diet plays a huge role in how well we sleep. Learning to incorporate balanced meals during the day, including healthy fats (i.e. eggs, avocado, coconut oil, etc.) and antioxidants (fruits and veggies) are crucial to help the body produce sleep hormones. Also, a good rule of thumb is to avoid eating a few hours before bedtime, especially sugar, caffeine, carbs, so your body can digest properly. Here are a few more foods to watch out for before bed.
Set the Evening Mood
What we do in the couple of hours before we go to bed affects how quickly we fall asleep and how sound we stay during the night. One of the best things you can do is to create a relaxing environment in your home with candles, music, and maybe even take a warm bath or shower to wash away your day and enter your evening in peace. Unplug and swap technology, TV and bright lights for some one-on-one time with your loved ones, some reflection time for yourself, or one of your favorite books.
Take Supplements That Support Sleep
If you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep there are natural supplements you can take to help, including magnesium (also great for jet lag), cod liver oil, and vitamins such as A, D and K. These natural supplements are a great choice to promote your relationship with sleep.
If you’re having trouble staying asleep, try Valerian Root or Melatonin. Both are proven natural stress relievers and will help ease your mind to sleep.
Create a Routine
We are creatures of habit so waking up and going to sleep at the same time each day is very beneficial. Pay extra attention to your sleep schedule when you’re in the midst of life changes, extra workload, weekend fun, or vacation. A lack of a routine affects hormones and can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule, so when you can, try to keep to a schedule that makes you feel nothing less than spectacular.
Build a Sleep-Friendly Environment
Where you sleep is very important. When it’s time to put your head on the pillow, the room should be free of all light (even that of a night light or alarm clock), cool (below 70 degrees) and quiet. Some people prefer a noise machine as some sounds can be soothing and even diminish disruptive noise from the street or your neighbors. If that’s the case, make sure that you set up the noise machine so that it goes off automatically without your need to reawaken.
While not getting enough sleep can cause stress, stress can also affect your sleep! It’s a catch-22.
Try to find a way to alleviate stress at night by incorporating activities like yoga exercises, writing, or meditation. There is no such thing as a perfect ritual for everyone, so have fun finding out what reduce-stressing activities best serve you and reap the benefits of living a calm and balanced life.
Go to Bed Earlier
While getting enough sleep (seven hours is optimal), the time we sleep is also important. 10 pm is a great goal if you’d like to have a productive morning. If you are a night owl, try slowly changing your schedule by going to bed a little earlier each night and implementing some of the other habits above.