You wake up exhausted and hit “snooze” three times. You chug your daily gallon of coffee just to feel human again. You have a quick lunch at your desk while trying to get through the mountain of work. At 3 o’clock, you reach for sugar, more coffee or an energy drink to get you through the afternoon. You are ravenous by dinnertime and feel like you “overeat.”
Then, you unwind at the end of the day with a glass of wine and something sweet. Your to-do list still isn’t complete so you spend the night on your computer. You toss and turn all night and wake up exhausted.
Then, the cycle repeats itself.
Does this sound like your typical day?
You are not alone!
So many of us spend our days rushing around, accumulating stress every hour, that by nighttime we’re unable to calm down and get to bed at a decent hour. I talk about why we need to slow down in my recent post, Living Like Your Hair Is On Fire.
This constant go-go-go mindset is having a major impact on our sleep patterns. And if you’ve followed me on social media for any amount of time, you’ll know that I’m a firm believer in a good night’s sleep!
6 Tips for Better Sleep
- Skip the heavy night time meals. Your metabolism slows down and your digestive forces weaken at nighttime. A heavy meal late at night will not be digested properly which can lead to poor sleep because your body is digesting when it’s supposed to be resting and repairing. Instead, opt to eat light and early. If you struggle to have an early dinnertime, no worries. Make a conscious effort to eat a decent-sized mid-afternoon snack so you can eat a lighter meal and finish eating 2-3 hours before bedtime.
- Opt for a cup of relaxing tea instead of your traditional nightcap. While alcohol may help you fall asleep, it often causes people to wake up between 1am - 3am. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, this is “liver time.” So help your liver out and skip the booze that might be over-stressing your liver.
- Be mindful of stimulating foods and beverages like coffee, cola, chocolate and sugar at nighttime. Caffeine can stay elevated in the blood for 6–8 hours (Source). Want something sweet at night? Have some berries or an apple. Or, if you love chocolate, get your fix after lunch instead of after dinner.
- Designate a strict electronics “shut down” time. This might be between 7pm and 9pm, depending on when you go to bed. Allow a bare minimum of 30 minutes of electronic free wind down time before bed. Electronic gadgets such as smartphones, tablets, computers and TVs emit blue light that affect our melatonin levels (the sleep hormone that affects our circadian rhythm) and keep our brains alert. Instead, relax and allow your mind to wind down. Read a mindless book (and not on a tablet). Take an Epsom salt bath with a few drops of lavender oil. These activities will help you wind down gently.
- Go to bed by 10:00pm or earlier. If you go to bed later, you may risk getting a “second wind” which will upset your natural sleep rhythm. If going to bed early is a struggle for you, try decreasing your bedtime by 15-minute increments at a time.
- Optimize your bedroom temperature. According to Sleep.org, bedroom temperature should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep.
Don’t Live Life Like a Zombie
If you want to live life as your brightest self (rather than your zombie self), make sure to take a hard look at your evening routine and assess which of these five steps you need to implement. You don’t have to make major life changes instantly, just implement these steps piece by piece and I can guarantee you’ll see a difference.
To your happiness and health,