Is Sleep A Challenge For You?
When I talk with people about their biggest health challenges, there’s one thing that comes up quite often. And that is Sleep! People either aren’t getting enough sleep, or what they do get is restless and leaves them tired. It’s getting in the way of their lives, including their health, their work, their relationships. You can probably relate to this challenge on some level.
Sleep hygiene refers to the habits that result in high-quality sleep, and is extremely important for our rest and restoration. Poor sleep hygiene is far more common than you might think. Statistics show that 20-40% of adults struggle with sleep.
Most people know how stressful it can be to toss and turn through even one night of unrestful sleep, and many may experience it on a regular basis. Here’s the important thing to remember, though: It's possible to get better sleep.
Below are three tips to help you build (or improve) your sleep hygiene practices.
(1) Enjoy balanced meals throughout the day
What you eat during the day has a whole lot to do with how well you sleep! The foods that you eat are closely connected with your circadian rhythms, because they affect how serotonin and melatonin work together to help you get enough rest. An overall balanced diet that includes good complex carbs and plant protein will promote healthy serotonin levels for optimal melatonin production. Make sure you include whole grains (including millet, quinoa, and brown rice if you’re gluten-free), plant protein, and some healthy fats throughout the day.
(2) Wind down before bedtime
What you do in the hours leading up to bedtime can have a huge impact on the length and quality of our rest. Nothing soothes your nervous system like warm water. It washes the day and stress away. Apparently, the water raises our body temperature by one to two degrees, and so the immediate cool down period we experience put us into relaxation mode.
(3) Be careful with the stimulants
Coffee and too much alcohol at night can mess with our natural sleep rhythms. While drinking a good glass of wine every now and then is not a problem, more than one makes could pop people awake a few hours later. And if you have trouble balancing your blood sugar, eat a teaspoon or two of almond butter before bed or if you wake up with insomnia.
By now you’ve probably heard that you should put down your devices at least an hour before bed. I know it can be hard to stop scrolling and shut off the machine, but don’t underestimate the importance of this advice. And if for some reason you do have to look at a screen, I recommend trying out blue light or a program to adjust the colour temperature of your displays to let your eyes rest.
So what kind of sleep hygiene practices do you engage in? Please share with us in the comment below.