BEEP BEEP BEEEEEEEEEP!! Your 6:00 AM alarm blares in your ears. You begrudgingly peel your face away from your pillow and crawl out of bed. Another sleepless night has passed leaving you feeling like a shell of yourself. You look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Why am I so tired?” According to the CDC, adults require a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night in order to achieve their best health and well-being. When was the last time you consistently got seven hours of good old fashioned slumber and awoke feeling well rested?
Even with the best laid plans to get “enough” sleep, you still may find that you can’t fall asleep and stay asleep. You have to measure your sleep, like you would your friends. It isn’t about quantity, it’s all about quality. Sure, you’re in bed for the recommended seven hours, but how many of those hours are good quality sleep?
The key to a good night’s sleep can actually be found in a solid and consistent routine.
Here are 5 things that you can do to improve your quality of sleep and stop feeling so tired throughout the day.
Turn off your screens. The artificial blue light emitted from your phone, computer, and tv might be keeping you from those precious Z’s. A Harvard study suggests that exposure to blue light can suppress the levels of melatonin that your body produces. Aside from blue light, text messages and notifications are not exactly recommended for a good night’s sleep.
Prepare your sleep space. Sleep is sacred and should be treated with respect. A great way to respect your sleep, is to ensure that your environment is conducive to good quality sleep. Some great ways to prepare your sleep space include: purchasing blackout curtains, adjusting your thermostat to 65 degrees (aka optimal sleep temperature), eliminating distracting noises (phones, tvs, screaming children, etc), introducing white noise, or even getting your own room. With sleep apnea diagnoses on the rise, finding your own sleeping space can be crucial. Sharing the bed with a partner in need of a CPAP can really interfere with your sleep, or vice versa.
Calm your mind. Many of us have thoughts zooming around our heads 24/7. Sleep can be impossible when your mind never turns off. A great way to improve sleep is to practice quieting your thoughts. Meditation, yoga, exercise, and journaling are all amazing practices that can help to clear your head and improve your sleep.
Avoid sugary processed foods. Like all facets of life, sleep can absolutely be affected by what you put into your body. Sugar intake is closely linked to release of cortisol (the “stress hormone”) by your adrenal glands. Every night, everybody naturally releases a small amount of cortisol around 3:00 AM. If you have higher glucose levels, this may result in a higher level of cortisol released which may cause you to have disrupted sleep. Instead of processed, sugar junk, choose natural whole foods with more protein before bedtime, and you might sleep through the night!
Practice Intermittent Fasting. While we are on the subject of food, let’s also talk about how mealtimes play into our sleep. Intermittent fasting allows the body time to quiet the digestive system, and repair. Sounds a bit like what sleep does for us, right? It’s a rest period. When you restrict your eating to an 8-12 hour window, it can strengthen your circadian rhythm (aka internal clock). The stronger your circadian rhythm, the easier it is to fall asleep and stay asleep.
If you’re struggling to get good quality sleep and walk through your day in a fog, try implementing some of these healthy habits. Changing habits can be difficult, book a 15 minute strategy session with me and I can help guide you! You can also enroll in my mini-class on insomnia for more of the best holistic tips to improve your quality of sleep.