Updated: May 21, 2021
It’s no surprise that good sleep is paramount for our well-being. What IS surprising is how little value we place on our sleep knowing what a powerhouse it is for mood improvement, memory consolidation, immune system function, safety and longevity. Maybe it’s because most of don't understand the impact or maybe it’s because the pull of one more episode of Schitt’s Creek or another hour of scrolling are just too strong.
Check out our short-list of ways to improve your sleep:
SCHEDULE IT Do your best to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. This will support your circadian rhythm - which optimizes how your body systems function (think cardiovascular, immune, nervous) keeping your body strong and energized.
KEEP IT COOL Keeping your room between 65-68 degrees will help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Our body temperature naturally drops to it's lowest in the evening before bed, signaling the onset of sleep - so keeping your room cooler will help you fall asleep. Your body temp rises during the night as you get closer to waking, and keeping your room cool will help regulate your temperature throughout the night to improve your overall quality of sleep. Cool rooms (cooler body temp) also stimulate the production of melatonin - which encourages sleep.
PARK YOUR SCREENS OUTSIDE Screens are distracting - for all of us. Unfortunately they can negatively impact the quality and quantity of our overall sleep. Research has also found that as we go through the day and into the evening our eyes and neuro receptors become increasingly sensitive to light. Avoiding blue light from screens in the evenings will help you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep. Light exposure between 11PM and 4AM suppresses the natural release of dopamine - which can result in mood disorders, learning problems and other negative effects.
MELATONIN Melatonin is the naturally occurring sleep hormone brought on by darkness that causes you to feel sleepy and fall asleep. Avoiding the blue light of screens in the evening will help your body with it's melatonin production and will help you fall asleep easier. The darker your sleeping environment, the better.
SLEEP ROBBERS Avoid stimulants (caffeine and nicotine) before bed and also avoid alcohol as much as possible. Alcohol may seem like it helps you get to sleep, but it is often the culprit of those unwanted wake-ups and fragmented sleep. Stay tuned for a separate blog on this topic.
AVOID LATE NIGHT WORKOUTS A regular exercise routine is great for sleep, however working out late at night can have negative impacts. Working out within 90 minutes of bedtime can cause increased endorphin levels, heart rate and body temperature, which makes falling asleep more challenging.
EAT LIGHT, EAT EARLY Avoid big, rich meals before bed. Besides the extra calories, eating too close to bed can result in digestive issues, increased blood sugar levels and a slower metabolism. When you eat late at night the muscles that digest and metabolize your food have to keep working when they should be resting. This can make it more difficult to fall asleep and prevent you from getting the deep restful sleep your body needs.
COVER YOUR CLOCK If you are prone to waking during the night and panic about the time and your interrupted sleep, take the clock out of the equation. It isn’t helping. If you are struggling to fall back asleep you could try meditation or Yoga Nidra (meaning yogic sleep: a form of guided meditation that promotes deep states of conscious relaxation). Here are 2 scripts you could try: 10 Min Yoga Nidra Script (free) https://youtu.be/M0u9GST_j3s 35 Min Yoga Nidra Script (free) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FroVfmOtaps
SET THE MOOD If you have trouble going to sleep or waking during the night - consider your sleep space. Create a sleep sanctuary. Leave your work at the door, tasks in another space and create a haven that feels peaceful to you. Set yourself up for success. You could also try taking a warm bath or shower before bed. Paradoxically the warm water helps cool the body's core temperature, which helps you fall asleep and stay asleep. As part of this, your sleep surface matters. If your pillow isn't comfortable and you find yourself shifting, flipping and trying to find a good spot - try the adjustable, 100% natural Lunara Wellness Pillow.
THE DARKER THE BETTER Going to sleep in a dark room promotes the production of melatonin. Keeping your room fully dark throughout the night helps to ward off the production of Cortisol - which triggers the waking process. If you do wake during the night, be sure to avoid light as much as possible. Keep the phone outside the bedroom and use a small headlamp if you need additional light.
We hope these tips will help you get the healthy, restorative sleep we all need!