Sleep is one of the fundamental pillars of good health. Quality sleep allows the body to repair and renew in a profound way. Even a perfect diet and exercise can’t substitute for a great night’s sleep.
- Create a bedroom oasis. You spend more time in bed than anywhere else, so invest in a great mattress and soft, comfortable, natural fiber sheets.
Supercharge it: Turn the temp down at night; many people sleep more soundly in a cooler room.
- Cut the screen time. Aim to turn off bright screens (computer, TV) 60-90 minutes before bedtime. Bright lights signal your pineal gland to slow the release of the sleep hormone melatonin.
Supercharge it: Install the computer program f.lux to filter out blue light, a killer for melatonin production.
- Cocoon your brain. Earplugs, eye masks or blackout curtains can work wonders for a light sleeper. When noise and light are eliminated, your brain can “shut-off” and relax more deeply.
Supercharge it: Keep your phone out of arms reach, or better yet, keep it out of the bedroom entirely!
- Choose your drinks wisely. Alcohol can make you sleepy initially, but it disrupts the sleep cycle. Coffee drinkers may want to avoid coffee after lunchtime to avoid sleep issues from caffeine.
Supercharge it: Stay well-hydrated by drinking a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume.
Super supercharge it: Replace one (or all!) of your daily cups of coffee with green tea.
- Say no to eating late. Fasting overnight focuses the body on repair and renewal instead of digestion.
Supercharge it: Eat meals and snacks with healthy fat and protein; these help stabilize blood sugar and keep you from waking with the munchies.
Snack ideas: a spoonful of almond butter, hardboiled eggs, a handful of nuts, avocado.
- Get into a groove. Your body craves consistency when it comes to sleep. Aim for a bedtime routine that allows for 8-9 hours of shut-eye every night.
Supercharge it: Start winding down by 9-10pm. The more sleep you are able to fit in before midnight, the better.
- Chill-out. Pick a relaxing activity before bedtime like a warm bath or shower or take 5-10 minutes to meditate.
Supercharge it: add a few drops of lavender essential oil and 2 cups of epsom salt to your bath.
Super supercharge it: Do a “reverse the day” meditation (imagine going back through your day step by step)
Are you having trouble sleeping? A Naturopathic Physician can help figure out the cause of your sleep problems. We provide effective natural solutions to help you sleep soundly and wake feeling refreshed and ready to take on your day!
Dr Jessica Stefanski is a naturopathic physician and licensed acupuncturist.