Slumber is one of the most basic ways that the body renews its energy levels, allowing you to wake up refreshed and raring to go. It also helps regeneration and promotes healing.
Insufficient sleep can cause mood swings, lower your ability to learn and retain information, increase your risk of accidents or falls, and make you feel so overwhelmed and exhausted that you may stop making good choices.
Chronic sleep deprivation can alter your metabolism, making you prone to weight gain, diabetes and heart disease. It can also dampen your immune response, making you more susceptible to colds, flu, body inflammation and some cancers.
That’s why developing better sleep habits is the sixth strategy of The Rose Remedy’s Resilience Reset Challenge, to help you strengthen your resilience and improve your health and happiness.
With so much at stake from a lack of sufficient sleep, it pays to take steps to make sure you get the recommended seven to 10 hours of nightly good-quality rest that your body needs.
Here are 12 tips for better sleep:
1. Do aerobic exercise, such as bicycling, walking at a moderate pace, swimming for 30 minutes, four times a week, or high intensity interval training for 15 to 20 minutes three times a week .
2. Avoid caffeine, sugar, alcohol, chocolate or strenuous exercise at least three hours before bedtime.
3. Avoid stimulating activity and TV shows, and the use of computers and other electronic devices at least one hour before bed. Don’t sleep with your phone, computer or tablet near your head.
4. Get anti-blue film to put over electronic devices, or wear special blue-light suppressing goggles.
The high-energy visible (HEV) blue light emitted from all digital devices with LED screens — cell phones, tablets, laptops and computers — has been found to be a factor in sleep disorders. Blue light suppresses the body’s production of melatonin, a sleep hormone in response to darkness, which allows us to naturally feel sleepy after sunset, and wake at or near sunrise. Fluorescent light can also be a problem.
Both the special blue-light suppressing glasses and the film are sold through Amazon.
5. Make sure the bedroom is dark. Darkness is needed for melatonin production. Even the light from alarm clocks can be disturbing, so cover them or use a sunrise alarm clock that gets brighter with the day.
6. Take melatonin as a sleep aide. The supplement comes in pills or drops. As a more natural source of melatonin, eat tart cherries or drink tart cherry juice. Melatonin can also be a powerful anti-oxidant that allows your body to better heal at night.
A note, however, about melatonin: Low levels may contribute to decreased memory, reduced cognitive function, increased mood swings, and an overall lack of energy. In studies, low melatonin has been shown to contribute to breast and colon cancers.
Be careful how much melatonin you take: Too much can disrupt your sleep cycle the following day, making it harder to wake up in the morning and fall asleep the following night.
7. Drink night-time teas. Try to drink relaxing teas, such as chamomile, mint or lemongrass before you go to bed.
A side benefit of chamomile tea is that it contains unique phyto-nutrients that can help fight estrogen overload from all of the xenoestrogens (an xenohormone that imitates estrogen ) that we are exposed to from chemicals, pesticides, etc. in today’s chemical-laden world.
8. Eat a light night-time snack. Combine carbohydrates and proteins in snacks such as peanut butter on toast or crackers and cheese. Carbs help your brain use tryptophan, an amino acid that causes sleepiness. And proteins help your body build tryptophan.
9. Lower the temperature. A cool bedroom lowers your core body temperature, which initiates sleepiness.
10. Follow a regular bedtime routine and find ways to release the day’s tensions before trying to go to sleep. One way to relax: Have a soothing bath with Epsom salts and maybe even lavender essential oil.
11. Count blessings, not sheep! Before bed, practice gratitude meditations, such as those from the HeartMath Institute. Don’t just think about what you are grateful for; feel the feeling of gratitude. One British study showed that participants who scored highest in gratitude slept longer than less-appreciative participants.
12. Do a tapping meditation. If your mind is overactive or endlessly ruminating so that you can’t fall asleep or you wake up in the middle of the night, do a tapping meditation. You can even tap on your frustration of not being able to sleep.
If you would like to learn more about HeartMath meditations and/or tapping to help reduce your emotional, physical and physiological stress reactions and improve your quality and quantity of sleep, please book a complimentary consultation with me.