7 Tips for Better Sleep

Good morning! How’d you sleep?

Sleep is an essential part of wellness, and in many of our health and wellness programs, we recommend going to bed 15 minutes earlier every night for one to two weeks, and gradually increasing as needed to get the rest YOUR body needs (not what others dictate what you need).

Everyone is different, and only you know how much sleep you need to feel refreshed. That could be 6 hours, 7.5 hours, or even 10 hours.

Personally, I’m an 8-hr. And sure, like all of us, I can function on 5/6/7 on any day, but after a few days it catches up with me. I feel run down, without much interest in anything. Does this happen to you, too?

It can be a dangerous cycle. Sleep is when your body repairs itself and detoxes. It’s when your liver does it’s best work, when cells repair, grow, and renew.

When we’ve overextended with too many late nights, followed by too many early mornings, it’s tough for things on the inside to renew. It can affect gut bacteria and the immune system in negative ways, sometimes resulting in a cold, the flu, myriad other common illnesses, or weight gain or hanging on to unwanted weight through increased production of cortisol. Sleep deprivation can also contribute to the start of autoimmune disease, cancer, diabetes, and more, when it happens on a regular basis.

Try going to bed just 15 minutes early tonight. Lights out, no phones, books, or distractions, and see how you feel the next day.

If you have trouble falling asleep each night no matter how tired you are, a relaxing bedtime routine can help get your body and mind in the right mood for sleep. And repeating these actions nightly will signal to your body that it’s time to go to bed, which might be all you need to actually get a restful night’s sleep.

Relaxing Bedtime Routines to Help You Catch Some Zzzzz’s

1. Power down
Smartphones and electronic devices have made our lives easier in many ways, but at night, the blue screen stimulates our brains, keeping us awake. Try to avoid looking at your devices for about one hour before you go to bed to calm your mind. You might think you’re getting ahead for tomorrow by reading those emails, but the reality is you’re just adding more fodder for your brain to worry and mull over. Forget about it until morning.

2. Meditate and unwind
If your brain just doesn’t stop it, try meditating or performing relaxation exercises, such as yoga poses that prime you for a zenful sleep.

3. Read a real book
Sit in your favorite nook and read a book for pleasure. Make it nothing to do with work or school and devote yourself to reading for a good 20 to 30 minutes nightly. Your brain will relax, allowing you drift off peacefully when it’s time.

4. Sleep-promoting herbs and minerals
Try a calming cup of tea before bed, with camomile, peppermint, lavender, or anything that’s soothing and comforting to you. Magnesium will also help to calm your entire body, either in the form of an epsom salt soak, magnesium cream, or magnesium supplement about 20-30 minutes before bed.

5. Write it down
If you have a habit of laying down in bed while your brain nags at you about upcoming projects or things you shouldn’t forget at the supermarket, then before you wind down, write it down. By taking it out of your brain and putting it on paper, you free your mind from having to remember it.

6. Check the thermostat
Research has shown that if your bedroom is too hot, it can keep you from sleeping. Lower temperatures signal to your body that it’s time to sleep. By keeping your room at a comfortable temperature, you’ll sleep more soundly and without waking as often.

7. Get up if you can’t sleep
Still can’t sleep and find yourself wide-eyed and awake? Get up and go into another room. Keep the lights dim and do something relaxing like reading or listening to calming music. Give it 15 minutes and then try to lay down again. Don’t forget that during the day, take care of yourself by getting exercise and eating right.