Insomnia is all the rage these days it would seem. Unfortunately, I’ve participated all to often in this unsettling and exhausting practice. You’d think as a lifestyle coach and holistic health practitioner that I’d be immune to such negative issues, but I’m not. In fact, there have been many evenings when I’ve battled to fall asleep OR I’ve fought to get back to sleep after waking up at 2 a.m.
It would seem that insomnia is a curse that many face these days. Well, in a moment, I’m going to tell you what my best remedy was to improve sleep. But first, let me just list some obvious things that you should be doing prior to settling down for a good night’s sleep…
A Good Night’s Sleep: Do’s and Don’ts
- DO…Follow your body’s natural Circadian rhythm. In other words, when the sun goes down, try to follow suit by lowering or limiting your activity. Certain things are natural. Daytime is for activity. Nighttime is for relaxation and rest. If you think about it, it’s just common sense.
- DO…Keep interior lights dim at night. I’m not a scientist, but I do know that your Pineal gland is considered to be light sensitive. In order for it to secrete melatonin (that hormone that helps the body sleep), it needs to be in tune with that Circadian rhythm. Too much light inhibits that process.
- DON’T…Eat within 2 hours of bedtime. If you feel like you need something to eat before bed, keep it on the light side and make sure it’s natural, like a piece of fruit. Fake food, particularly carbs and snack foods will monkey with your blood sugar levels while you’re sleeping. That means a drop at around 2 a.m. will cause you to wake up. Not good!
- DO…Limit your alcohol intake. A lot of people drink in the evenings to relax. I get that. I occasionally enjoy a glass of red wine or two myself. But, the kickback can be a detriment to your waistline AND a good night of restful sleep.
- DO…Exercise daily. I know this goes without saying, but in our fast paced, crazy work environments, many of us fail to burn off lots of anxiety and frustration from the day – due to lack of exercise. When you carry this into the evening, it makes for a rotten night’s sleep or lack thereof. Besides the general health benefits of a healthy weight and muscle maintenance, exercise will help alleviate stress, which is a big impediment to a good night’s rest.
- DO…Lower the thermostat to improve sleep. This is a BIG one, believe it or not and very simple to do. If you’re too warm while sleeping, you will not sleep well. There’s nothing that keeps me awake like being hot while sleeping. Keeping your room temperature between 65 and 70 degrees is a good place to be. Personally, I need it to be cooler than 65. THIS one particular fact, I discovered, is why I was not sleeping well at night. Once I rectified the temperature issue, I sleep like a baby.
- DO…Try some melatonin. Supplementing with melatonin is a good way to help kick in the sleep cycle, particularly when your body is off track.
- DO…Sleep in complete darkness. Even the smallest amount of light when sleeping can disrupt your sleep patterns.
- DON’T…Watch TV or use electronics prior to sleep time. TV and phones and the like are overstimulating. Again, they will disrupt your body’s ability to relax. Try reading a book or even meditating prior to going to sleep. This is a much better practice.
These tips are not exhaustive. I could have written a lot more on how to improve sleep. However, I’m confident that if you follow the above suggestions, that you’ll be well on your way to better sleep. Let me know if this helps!
If you want a more exhaustive list on improving your sleep, check out Dr. Mercola’s Tips on Improving Sleep.