We’ve all been there, turning and tossing throughout the night, checking the clock hoping for a few more hours before sunrise. The truth is, when I don’t sleep well, my day is simply horrible, for myself as well as for everybody else around me. While you sleep your body produces protective substances used to fight bacteria and viruses. Lack of sleep weakens your immune system making you more prone to catch the cold or flu viruses for example. There are simple and natural ways that can improve the quality of your sleep:
It is well established that regular exercise helps relieve stress and makes it easier to fall asleep. Make sure you have at least 3 hours between the end of your workout and the time you go to bed. When you exercise you release cortisol, which keeps you from falling asleep
ARE YOU TAKING NAPS ?
Naps can be great but should be limited to no more than 20-30 minutes (stages of sleep). Longer naps can make you feel groggy and may keep you from falling asleep later on that night, and you may end up with less hours the next day. If you need to nap, do it early in the day. If you are tired because of stress, going for a walk may give you the energy that was depleted from stress.
WATCH WHAT YOU EAT !
Food high in fat, sugar and caffeine will keep you up all night. Eating a heavy meal just before going to bed may cause heart burn and make you uncomfortable at night. Make sure your last meal is at least 90 minutes before your bedtime. Alcohol may relax you at first, however you will wake you up in the middle of the night.
CUT OFF ELECTRONICS
Turn off all electronics, including TV, tablets and phones an hour before bedtime. Light, especially the blue wave lights from electronics trick your brain into thinking it is daytime, and disrupt your natural sleep-wake time cycle. Use the last hour before going to bed to get everything ready for the next day, set your schedule for the rest of the week, read, do yoga or anything relaxing or enjoyable. Keep your phone in another room, you do not need it while you sleep, and definitely do not need to check your messages if you wake up in the middle of the night. In the morning you are going to have to get up to turn it off
Prepare your body and mind for bedtime. Try to spend the last hour before going to bed doing relaxing and calming activities. Take a warm bath, read, stretch, meditate.
KEEP IT DARK
Try to make your room as dark as possible, which can be difficult nowadays because there is light almost everywhere inside and outside our homes. Darkness stimulates the release of the hormone melatonin which helps you fall asleep. In the morning you want to turn bright light on to help you wake up faster.
Create a bedtime routine that includes even as little as one minute of intentional breathing. Practice belly breathing or alternate nostril breathing just before going to bed.
RESERVER YOUR BED FOR SLEEP AND SEX ONLY
Avoid watching TV, using your phone, tablet or computer in your bed so that your brain can associate bed with sleep and sex.
If possible change your mattress every 5-8 years. Your mattress and pillow should be comfortable and supportive.