For some, a good night’s sleep is elusive. Whether you are dealing with stress, anxiety, tight schedules, or external factors that are keeping you awake, it’s never pleasant.
But there are some dietary and lifestyle changes that you can do to incorporate to build a more sustainable sleep from the ground up. If you’re struggling with sleep issues, hopefully some (or all of these) will help you find your sweet slumber.
Dietary Changes for Better Sleep
Caffeine: While most of us rely on our daily cup of coffee or tea to get us moving in the morning, know that excess amounts of caffeine can have a big impact on your sleep habits over the short- and long-term. You don’t have to give up coffee or tea completely, but reducing your overall intake (especially in the afternoon) could be really helpful. If you find you are sensitive to caffeine, skip chocolate after dinner too, as this has a related compound that could keep you awake.
Sugar: Reducing sugar in your diet is also key, as disrupted blood sugar balance could keep you from getting deep sleep, as midnight sugar crashes can wake you. Sugar in the form of sweet things and simple carbs can whack out the body, so be sure to include ample amounts of fats and protein. Interestingly, getting enough sleep can help reduce sugar cravings by balancing natural hunger-related hormones, so it’s a virtuous cycle!
Alcohol: While delightful, alcohol is a depressant, and can mess with regular hormone production. Once I hit about 32, I realized that wine keeps me awake all night, as my body can’t temperature regulate, and I’ve talked to lots of others who experience the same. Because alcohol is basically a whole mess of empty calories, usually sipped in the evenings, it can spike our blood sugar and leave us crashing in the middle of the night. Sip wisely, hydrate properly, and be sure to eat a lot of fat and protein on nights when you decide to imbibe.
Does it seem like I’m trying to take all the fun out of your life? Your well-slept self with thank me: #sorrynotsorry
Wellness Tips for Better Sleep
One of the key things you can do for your body is to reduce your stress and anxiety. Easier said than done, right? There are lots of herbs and teas that can help you better manage stress and anxiety in your life. Herbal remedies, herbal teas, and flower essences can truly change your brain for the better. I particularly like chamomile tea before bedtime, but passionflower, peppermint, and others can be helpful too. Read more about tinctures and teas that can reduce stress and anxiety naturally from my friend and herbalist at Wildkraft Herbs.
Magnesium is a key mineral for better… everything! But it’s particularly helpful for sleep and can be very calming. You can take magnesium internally as a supplement, use a topical magnesium spray, or take epsom salts baths.
Get Rescued: For years I have relied on Bach’s Rescue Remedy for sleep relief. When I find the chatter to be too much, or when I’m nervous about something, a few drops of Rescue Remedy and some deep breathing is usually enough to send me off to sleep.
Lifestyle Changes for a Better Sleep
Meditation is credited with improving sleep, as it helps us see anxiety and stress more clearly (see above) and allows us to process these big feelings with mindful tools. Meditation, even when done during the day, can lead to improvements for your sleep cycle too.
Improve your bedtime surroundings: I have a strict no-computer-in-bed rule (although I’m less diligent about my iPhone). The light and the distraction from the computer can affect the brain, making it harder to get to sleep. I definitely notice that I am wide awake after binge watching a few episodes of Sex and the City. To ensure lights don’t affect your brain, turn off (or cover) all lights from wifi routers, alarm clocks, power strips, and anything else that might blink or bleep in the middle of the night. While these small lights or noises might seem minor, they can add up to a crappy nights sleep overall.
Improve your bedding: How comfortable and safe is your bed, really? I recently got an Avocado Green Mattress*, and it’s the most heavenly mattress I’ve ever slept on. It’s made from wool, organic cotton, and latex, and it’s firm yet deeply soft and relaxing. One of my best friends came over for a slumber party a few days after I got it, and she just purchased her own Avocado mattress because she loved it so much. I have paired my mattress with organic sheets from Target (a great deal at just $50/queen), a funky cotton bed cover, along with the kapok and latex Avocado pillows, which are so firm I only need one pillow to sleep on (previously I needed two). And great news for vegans: they just released their natural vegan mattress made with cotton instead of wool! ICYMI, conventional mattresses are made with a ton of chemicals that can have short- and long-term effects on our health, and nobody has time for that.
My readers can get a discount using a special code: click here to get shopping! Get two of their awesome pillows using code 2FREEPILLOWS. I hope that you too decide to enjoy this natural beauty and comfort that is Avocado Green Mattress.
Disclosure: Avocado Green Mattress gave me a mattress for review, but this is the item I wanted to purchase anyway. Of course, all opinions are my own.
Tea image by ORNELLA BINNI; meditation image by Erik Brolin; coffee imageby Erik Brolin; bed image from Avocado Green
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