Updated: Dec 19, 2020
So many adults struggle to get a good night’s sleep, not just parents! With everything that 2020 has brought, it’s even more important that you are getting the rest you need. Did you know that sleep actually boosts your immune system? Getting the proper amount of sleep will drastically improve your overall physical, mental and emotional well-being. We all have enough to stress over, let’s not let sleep be one of them!
To start, it’s important to ensure that you are meeting your daily sleep requirements. Adults should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night. If you’re a new parent, that may not be happening (yet!), but do try to get at least 3 hours of consolidated sleep. If you have an infant or toddler that is not sleeping well, and therefore impacting your sleep as well, I’d love to help you remedy that! Send me a message, or book a FREE 15 minute consultation.
So, what can you do to improve YOUR sleep? These simple tips can help you improve your quality of sleep today!
1. Creating a solid bedtime routine. You want to create a routine that brings you joy, relaxes you and is easy to replicate every night! Consistency is key, as this routine will cue your mind and body that sleep in coming soon! Here are some ideas: have a warm bath with oils or salts, sleepy tea (non-caffeinated), read a book, journal, meditate, beathing exercises, yoga or stretching.
2. Darkness. I can’t stress enough the impact that some good blackout blinds can have on your sleep quality! It's also a great idea to have a sleep eye mask in your bedside table. Our bodies need darkness and light to regulate our circadian rhythm, so it is very important to have complete darkness while you are sleeping. You also want to limit the amount of natural and blue light as we wind down and get ready to sleep. Dimming your lights as you start your bedtime routine will signal to your body to release melatonin and help your body prepare for sleep. Melatonin is the hormone that helps you sleep! ( I am going to mention Melatonin several times! Lol).
3. Get outside and Get Active. Exposure to natural sunlight, even for just 30 minutes a day, will increase your vitamin D and help regulate your circadian rhythm. Exercise. It goes without saying that exercise has incredible benefits to our overall health and well-being, it will also help improve your quality of sleep. Making exercise part of your regular routine can help your body produce more Serotonin, which is a hormone that converts to melatonin and can directly improve your sleep! Also, if you have ever physically exerted yourself, you know that it feels so much more satisfying when your head hits the pillow!
4. Screen Time. This is a big one and likely the reason many of us struggle with falling asleep! Your phone, TV, and laptop all produce an artificial “blue light” that mimics natural light, both interfere with our bodies ability to produce melatonin. When our melatonin production gets thrown off, so does our natural circadian rhythm, confusing our body about when it is time to sleep and when it should be awake. Most people lay in bed with our phones or put on a show while we fall asleep, I have definitely been guilty of this too! I recommend removing your phone from the bedroom, or setting it on the other side of the room, and turning off the TV. If this isn’t possible, get yourself a pair of blue light glasses, which block the blue light!
5. Bedroom. Your bedroom is a place for sleep, and intimacy. That’s it! You want it to be your sanctuary. This means it should be tidy, it should smell nice and calming, and it should be the right temperature! The perfect temperature for adults to sleep is between 15-19 degrees Celsius, for seniors it is between 19-21 degrees Celsius, and for young children is it between 18-21 degrees Celsius. Not everyone will sleep best in the same temperature, so find what works best for you! If it is too hot or too cold, your sleep could suffer.
6. Bedtime Snacks. If you find yourself in the kitchen close to bedtime, scoping out the fridge or pantry for something that catches your eye, you want to avoid food that are high in sugars and dyes. I recommend you try picking snacks that are high in magnesium and tryptophan. Here are some great snacks to have before bed; turkey, complex carbs (whole wheat bread, crackers) fruits (bananas, pineapples, oranges, berries, plums, grapes/raisins, cherries), almonds, walnuts, warm milk, cottage cheese, sleepy tea! The best teas for sleep are Chamomile, Lavender and Passionflower.
7. Caffeine. Try to have your last cup of coffee, or your caffeinated beverage of choice, before 3:00pm. Otherwise you may have trouble falling asleep! You could also try reducing the amount of caffeine you consume daily.
8. Stress. When we feel stressed, our bodies produce a hormone called Cortisol, which can cause Insomnia (among other things!) Spend 5 minutes each day writing down your current stresses, this can help you feel more relaxed and less overwhelmed. I also recommend writing out your daily tasks and affirmations. Completing tasks daily can help with your overall mood and mindset.
9. Supplements. While it is best to have your body naturally secrete what it needs, sometimes supplementing nutrients is required. Magnesium is great for sleep, it is used for muscle tension/cramping, insomnia, constipation, high blood pressure, and it can help lower your cortisol levels, which will help with your sleep. I have mentioned Melatonin already, it can also be taken as a supplement if needed. Speak with your doctor about what supplements are best for your personal needs.
10. Alcohol and Stimulants. Some may think that alcohol helps you sleep. While a few drinks may help you fall asleep, your quality of sleep will suffer. It often leads to more night wakings, dehydration, headaches and can also lead to a dependence on alcohol to fall asleep. All in all, not a good thing to lean on. Other stimulants, such as nicotine, can make it difficult for you to fall asleep. I recommend limiting your consumption of all stimulants before bed, especially if you find yourself struggling to fall asleep.
I hope that at least one of these tips has helped you and you are able to get some more restful sleep soon! If you have any questions, please send me a message, I’d love to chat!