Sleep Your Way to Happiness & Health With These 4 Proven Tips
Sleep isn’t just a “nice to have.” It’s a core aspect of your life that plugs into so many things you’re pursuing and cultivating, from happiness to health. For example, getting enough sleep is linked with:
A lowered risk of mood disorders, including depression and anxiety
A better ability to cope with daily stress
A stronger immune system and lower rate of illness
A reduced risk of various forms of cancer
A fitter, slimmer body, since sleep is linked to a reduction in fat, increased metabolism and more moderate cravings
And most importantly: Sleep is linked with a longer lifespan!
If you feel like it has been days, or even decades, since you had a good night’s sleep, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with either falling asleep or staying asleep. If that sounds like you, here are seven proven tips to sleep better.
How to Sleep Your Way to Better Health
1. Prep Yourself
We prepare ourselves for our mornings, our meetings and our outings. But very few of us actually make bedtime prep a part of our day. Yet this is so critical for our bedtime success!
Instead of trying to squeeze every little opportunity of productivity and busyness out of your evening, create space between your day and your bedtime. For example, how common is it for you to try to go from 60 to zero at night by:
Multitasking at dinnertime
Doing chores while brushing your teeth and changing into your bedtime clothes
Answering work emails or work texts from bed
...then shutting off the light and expecting your brain to simply turn off?
This is not a bedtime ritual. This is asking too much for your mind, and leaves yourself in a harried, busy state when you need to be in a restful, relaxed state to sleep.
Instead, create a relaxing bedtime ritual that signals to your body and your mind that it’s time to shut down for the day. Perhaps this includes setting aside 30 minutes to read a book, or having a bath with a soothing bath bomb, or dimming the lights and turning on soothing music. Whatever this ritual, stick to it. This ritual or habit helps create a separation between the day’s stress and the evening’s respite.
2. Take Control of Your Blood Sugar
If you’re like most people and have a hard time staying asleep, one reason you may be waking up throughout the night is due to blood sugar levels. For many of us, our diets are chock full of sugar. This leads to sugar highs and sugar crashes, and these spikes in your blood sugar can jolt you awake at night.
To soothe yourself and improve your sleep quality, try the following:
Remove refined carbohydrates, especially plain sugar, from your diet. If this is asking too much (let’s be honest, sugar is delicious), try and eliminate it from your afternoons and evenings.
Increase your fiber and protein at dinner. This helps stabilize your blood sugar.
Avoid caffeine after lunch.
3. Know Your Lights
Do you take your phone to bed? Do you watch television at night? All these things might seem relaxing or entertaining, but the glow of electronics actually disrupts your sleep by messing with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycles. That’s because your eyes are a primary way that your brain produces sleep hormone production, and the glow from screens can disrupt this.
To have a better sleep, consider:
Exposing yourself to bright, natural light in the morning.
Avoiding the blue light from electronics as soon as the sun sets
Installing blackout blinds to eliminate unnatural light from the street
4. Consider Supplements
Instead of running to over-the-counter sleep aids, many of which include ingredients that reduce sleep quality, ask Mother Nature what she can do for you.
Many people find benefits from taking magnesium. Known as “nature’s chill pill,” this mineral helps you decompress, reduces stress, and aids in sleep. And many American adults are deficient in magnesium!
You may also want to consider jujube, a vegan supplement that may help your body to produce more serotonin (a hormone that aids in sleep).
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