Well today we moved the clocks forward an hour which always throws off my sleep rhythm. I’m loving that the evenings seem longer with more sunlight, but it will take my body a few days to figure it out again.
Quality restful sleep is so important for our bodies. When we are sleeping our bodies are busy at work repairing, detoxifying, and restoring our system. Having good sleep hygiene helps reduce the risks of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, depression and anxiety. Some say that poor sleep practices are just as detrimental to our health as poor eating habits and not enough exercise. Lack of sleep creates an imbalance in hormone levels and increases inflammation in the body which is the number one driver of most diseases. The good news is that you are in control of changing your health and increasing your longevity by implementing a few simple sleep tips.
Let’s face it, in this technology world we live in we are tied to our phones, computers, and television. We watch TV in bed or right before bed, check e-mails, play games on our phones, scroll through Facebook one last time before our head hits the pillow. All of these activities keep our brains active, may cause stress, and interfere with our natural circadian rhythm from the blue light emission. A good practice you can incorporate right away is having a power down hour before bed, no electronics to give your brain time to get into sleep mode, and take electronics out of your bedroom to eliminate excess light. If you struggle with shutting down your mind at night whether it’s a to-do list, anxiety, frustration etc. journaling your thoughts can help free up your brain and energy to focus on sleep. Lastly, you could incorporate more relaxing activities such as reading, meditation, massage, or baths with Epsom salts.
Our diet can also play a significant role in how well we sleep and the quality of sleep. Eating no less than 2 hours before bedtime will allow your body to digest the food and focus it’s attention on other restoring functions while you sleep. Try eating a lighter dinner and larger meal for lunch to give your body the maximum time digest and assimilate the nutrients from your food. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed will also ensure you are getting restful, uninterrupted sleep. Taking a magnesium supplement or using essential oils or herbal teas known for their sleep aid properties such as lavender, chamomile, Valerian, Bergamot etc. There are so many available just check your local grocery store.
Lastly, and definitely challenging when we have to switch the clocks ahead an hour, is trying to stick to a consistent sleep timing schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Aiming for at least 7-8 hours of sleep and ideally going to bed by 10pm. According to the Ayurvedic clock, our natural body energy begins to get a second wind from about 10pm-2am. So, when you stay up past 10pm, watching TV or working on those last e-mails, chances are you may find it harder to get restful sleep.
Let me know what you found most helpful. It’s amazing how something we take for granted could be the key to better health, longevity, and daily performance. Take time to uplevel your sleep hygiene and see how it impacts your total wellness.