6 Ways to Improve Sleep
Beauty Sleep - we ALL need it and if you’re anything like us - we probably don’t get enough of it. Good sleep is crucial for our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, so why aren’t we prioritizing it?! Quality ZZZ’s are when our body goes into repair mode, our stress hormones go down, and our immune system is strengthened.
Increased sex drive, sharper cognitive function, and improved mood are just a few reasons to get your sleep cycle in check - here’s 6 simple ways to improve sleep patterns to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
1. Taking a probiotic
If you struggle to achieve a good night sleep, your problem may lie in your gut. Taking a probiotic helps to balance the good bacteria in your gut and can help improve sleep patterns to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Balanced bacteria in the gut produces tryptophan and melatonin which regulates how sleepy you feel. These gut microbes help to regulate our sleep-wake cycles (aka restless sleep) and improve how we sleep.
2. Pay attention to what you eat and drink
Be conscious of what you eat and drink especially before bed:
- Although caffeine affects everyone differently, it is best to cut off any consumption later in the day since it can impact our ability to fal asleep.
- Avoid going to bed on a full stomach, aim to eat dinner at least 2 hours before bedtime to allow time for proper digestion. Keep dinner light - avoid heavy rich foods as well as spicy and/or acidic foods that can cause stomach trouble and heartburn.
3. Decompress at the end of each night
Create a restful environment where you can let go of the stresses of the day. Our minds work like computer programs and if you don’t close out at the end of each day, those thoughts and feelings end up downloading and becoming a part of our programming. Taking time to unwind our mind, body and soul at the end of each day is so important. We love to use these night time affirmations to release anything from the day and reset for the new day ahead. Try using one or all of the affirmations below that resonate best to guide you into a peaceful state of mind for a restful nights sleep:
- I did my best today and that is enough
- I give myself permission to take chances and make mistakes
- Tomorrow is a new day filled with new opportunities
- I am allowed to slow down and rest
- I do not have to prove myself each and every day
- I release all emotional negativity
- I am worthy regardless of today’s setbacks
- I let go of any stress, worry, or setbacks that today held
- I celebrate my strengths and wins of the day
Exercising daily can help burn off excess energy, reduce sleep issues like insomnia, and improve your quality of sleep. We suggest getting any vigorous workouts in earlier in the day - exercising too close to bedtime can be stimulating and interfere with sleep.
5. Use natural light to sink with your natural sleep-wake cycle
Spending time in bright light during the day will help you boost and sustain your energy during the day and regulate your sleep cycle at night for better sleep quality and duration. Daily walks are one of our favorite ways to get away from our desk and into sunshine during the week, even if it’s just for 20 min.
6. Reduce blue light exposure
While daylight helps keep you awake and alert, darkness is when our body produces more melatonin - the natural hormone in our body that makes us sleepy. Our computers, phones, TVs, etc. all emit blue light exposure which trick our bodies into thinking it is day time and we need to be alert, this therefore, can make it difficult when we turn over to fall asleep.
Now we know it is unrealistic to cut off all exposure to our electronic devices in the evening but we've got a few suggestions to help reduce your exposure that won't leave you up restless at night:
- Turn on ‘night shift’ on your iPhone - this uses your timezone and geolocation to determine when it’s sunset at your location and automatically shifts the colors of your display to warmer colors. In the mornings it will return to regular display settings. Here’s how to set up:
- Settings > Display & Brightness > Night Shift - you can then schedule a time for it to turn on automatically as well as adjust the color temperature.
- There are also some apps that help manage light exposure on your devices
- Avoid bright screens 1-2 hours before bedtime
- Invest in a pair of blue light blocking glasses to wear in the evening while in front of devices.