If you’re having trouble sleeping, you’re certainly not alone. Insufficient sleep is a Public Health Epidemic. It’s estimated that, only in the United States, as many as 70 million Americans suffer from sleep deprivation!
I think most people seriously underestimate how important adequate sleep is to their overall health. Sleep deprivation can change your hormone levels, affects your immune system and your good gut microbes inducing chronic disorders and diseases.
Have you found yourself tired and feeling that the only thing you want is sugar/processed foods that will give you just a temporary boost energy? - What your body may be asking you is going to sleep!
First, start with setting an intention of when you want to be in bed. For example, if you want 8 hours of sleep and you need to wake up at 6:00 am, plan to be ready for sleep by 10:00pm. This means you’ll want to start getting ready for bed by 9:30am. It is as easy as getting into the routine.
Here is a list of 15 things you can try to help improve your sleep:
Eliminate/reduce caffeine and alcohol (these increase urination and can cause restless sleep)
Don’t have your healthy dark chocolate or caffeine within 7-8 hours of bedtime
Turn off electronic devices 1-2 hours before bed. Your brain works at 40 mph and it needs some time to slow down
Finish dinner 3-4 hours before bedtime
Drink a calming tea like Chamomile in the evening
Sleep in a totally dark room (all sources of light off) or wear eye covers
Set your bedroom at a comfortable temperature
Exercise in the morning, afternoon or early evening (not late at night)
Take a soothing hot bath at night. It is even better if you can add 1-2 cups of Epsom salt and few drops of lavender oil
Listen to soft music before bed to help wind down
Use relaxing breathing techniques or meditation (5 minutes a day is better that 45 min 3 times a week)
White noise at bedtime – a fountain or fan
Relax and read before bed
Yoga or Tai Chi or stretching at night to de-stress
Write down a list of things you want to get done tomorrow or put it on your calendar (dump your brain of details, so you can relax).
Breathing exercises are one of the most powerful tools to relax and heal your body. Dr. Andrew Weil always says: "Improper breathing is a common cause of ill health. If I had to limit my advice on healthier living to just one tip, it would be simply to learn how to breathe correctly. There is no single more powerful - or more simple - daily practice to further your health and well being than breathwork."
This is my favorite and easy to do Breathing Technique:
Lay down with your knees bend or sit in a chair
Place the thumbs at the navel and finger tips bellow touching both hands bellow (your hands have the shape of a heart)
Inhale counting 7, hold it for 7 and exhale for 7 again
When you inhale, the belly expands and when you exhale the belly contracts
This breathing exercise activates the parasympathetic nervous system through the phrenic nerve that runs down both sides of the diaphragm, controlling rest and digestion. Also it relaxes your neck and shoulders and massages the heart.
The real secret is that YOU SHOULD MAKE SLEEP A PRIORITY!
If you make ‘getting more sleep’ a priority, you may see some changes. It can take 2-3 weeks until something may start to work for you, so after a day or 2 of trying one of these tips, DON'T GIVE UP! It may just take some time for your body to adjust.
Let me know by leaving a comment below if any of these tips have worked for you or share which is your personal best routine to relax your body and sleep better.