How to get enough sleep has over 1.1 million Google hits, which means you are not alone in your quest for better sleep! The importance of deep, restful sleep cannot be overlooked, as sleep is anabolic and is when the rejuvenation of our body takes place. Proper sleep plays a vital role in increasing our energy, improving our immune system, balancing our hormones, increasing our brain’s clarity, and so much more.
We’ve established that catching your ZZZs is important, but how do we obtain optimal sleep? There are many tricks to better sleep, but here are my top five:
We have a natural circadian rhythm, which means our body needs to recognize day and night to take advantage of that rhythm. When we work under artificial lights, in offices without windows, and rarely see daylight for more than the quick walk from our car to our office, our brain doesn’t register it is fully daytime. Because of this, our pineal gland doesn’t know when to release melatonin to help us sleep.
Try to get 10-15 minutes of daylight in the morning before your workday begins and take a lunch break outside or at least near a window with natural light.
This follows the same logic of getting more sunlight, but helps tell our body it is time to wind down for sleep. Staring at electronics and sitting under bright light tells our body to produce cortisol and stay awake. Instead, we need to tell our body it is nighttime so we release melatonin and go to sleep.
For starters, at least 1 hour before bed, eliminate screen time, dim or turn off some of your interior lights and use blackout curtains.
It may seem that alcohol can help us relax and fall asleep, but have you ever had the 2am wakeup and can’t-go-back-to-sleep episode after a few drinks? That’s because our blood sugar crashes, our body signals our hormones to get to work, and we wake up with our brain working overtime, which can ultimately lead to sleep troubles.
Try alternative ways to relax in the evenings such as a warm shower, epsom salt bath, diffusing lavender oils, or stretching.
Going to bed on a full stomach may sound like a cozy idea, but your body isn’t resting while it is digesting that food.
Try eating dinner at least 2-3 hours before going to bed. If your schedule doesn’t allow an earlier dinner, try eating a larger lunch and afternoon snack and then a very light, higher protein meal for dinner.
If you are like me, ideas and to-do’s pop up at all times of the day and night and can sometimes make drifting off to sleepy land a little more elusive!
Keep a notepad by your bed and write down what pops into your head that you can handle tomorrow. Or begin a meditation or gratitude journal. It doesn’t have to be fancy, lengthy, or full of proper prose. Just write down a few of your thoughts and gratitudes for the day, take a deep breath, smile, and let your eyes close knowing you’ve done your best for today.
Incorporating better habits to improve your sleep may seem like a daunting task, but it really doesn’t have to be! Implement one of these tricks every 7-10 days, adjust as needed for what is working well for you, and within a month’s time you’ll be sleeping like you were made to do it.
For more helpful tips on improving your sleep from coach Allison Spears, or any of our other awesome providers, call or book a 1-on-1 live video call today.