10 Top Tricks for Better Sleep
Poor sleep is a symptom of less than optimal health. Poor sleep can also contribute to poor health. High-quality sleep is vital for both healing and sustained wellness. While the body appears from the outside to be still and inactive, sleep is a time when the body is quite busy. During the night, we restock our supply of hormones, process significant toxins, repair damaged tissue, generate vital white blood cells for immunity, eliminate the effects of stress, and process heavy emotions.
Unfortunately we have an epidemic of sleep disorders – from trouble falling asleep to often-interrupted sleep to actual insomnia. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), adults should be getting 7 or more hours of sleep per night.
However, over 1/3 of US adults report that they have trouble sleeping and get less than this recommended amount. In addition, almost 80% of Americans say they have trouble sleeping at least once a week. The CDC also notes that insufficient sleep has been linked to the development and management of a number of serious diseases including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression. So all this lack of sleep is not only keeping us up at night but it is also causing many serious health issues across the country.
Sleep is a Priority
There are, however, several straightforward remedies which can help. Whenever a new client is struggling with sleep, it is always an upfront priority I recommend they pursue in their healing journey. Sleeping soundly also often increases our motivation to make further lifestyle changes (e.g. when well rested, it is always easier to eat more healthily).
Top 10 Tricks for Better Sleep
Simple changes can be quite powerful. Here are my Top Ten Tricks for Better Sleep:
1. Choose more calming, quieter evening activities that resonate with you and help you to relax, both mentally and physically (e.g. reading a book, taking a bath, going for a light stroll outdoors, playing with a pet, folding laundry).
2. Turn off all full-spectrum light for a full 1-2 hours before bedtime. This means no email, TV, or smart phone apps.
3. Avoid amping up your brain. Avoid activities such as budgeting, balancing your checkbook, next-day-planning, or stressful conversations in the full hour prior to bedtime.
4. I also recommend no caffeinated food or drink at all after 2pm (e.g. tea (even green), coffee, soda, chocolate, mate); yes, it *can* affect you that many hours later.
5. Make it quiet but not too quiet. If noise is an issue in your bedroom (too little OR too much), I often recommend soft foam ear plugs and/or the white noise of a fan.
6. Mind the temperature. Rooms which are too hot or too cold tend to wake us up. In addition to waking us up to mess with the bedding, temperature extremes naturally increase our stress hormones which promotes wakefulness.
7. Have a relaxing ritual at night. Herbal tea (e.g. lavender, chamomile, valerian, passionflower) can help one to relax and set the tone for sleep. A hot bath with Epsom salts may work well. Or perhaps 10 minutes of gratitude journaling or reading an inspirational or spiritual book.
8. Quiet the digestion. This is a particularly powerful one that surprises many. If you have insomnia or light, restless sleep, I recommend no food at all for a full three hours before bed.
9. Try essential oils. My sleep problem five years ago was actually how I started with essential oils. I started with Young Living Lavender and it helped me fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up rested. Now when I smell lavender, I immediately become relaxed because my brain associates lavender with rest. Don't like lavender? Roman Chamomile is the sleep-bomb-diggity too! (Here is how you can get started with essential oils! New members who get a Premium Starter Kit receive a free one hour consultation with me!)
10. Consider CBD. Cannabidiol in hemp can help with short-term sleep problems caused by anxiety and pain. In a recent study by Dr. Scott Shannon, during the first month of the study period 79.2% of patients reported a decrease in anxiety scores and remained decreased during the three month study duration. Sleep scores also improved in the first month for 66.7% of patients. (Not sure where to start? Enter your email here to have my Introduction Guide to CBD sent to you - along with discount codes for my favorite products!)
Need Help Resolving Your Sleep Woes?
I've been there. I know how horrific it can feel to have terrible sleep. I'm here if you would like to talk - get your complimentary meet and greet session scheduled.
Let's get your sleep dialed in! What part of sleep is frustrating you the most?
Also published on Medium.