Anyone else struggling to sleep lately?

Sleep is so important and yet it is one of those things we kind of put off for various reasons such as Work, School, Cleaning, or, you know, another episode of that show you are binge-watching on Netflix. Did you know the CDC recommends that we get 7 hours of sleep a night? Are you getting those 7 hours?

Sleep has so many emotional, mental, and physical benefits, such as it:

-Improves your physical health

-Boosts your immune system (for other natural ways to boost your immune system click here)

-Lowers your risk of heart disease

-Improves mental and emotional health

-Allows for better concentration and productivity  

-Reduces bloating and weight gain

-Provides for better athletic performance

All of that is great but how do we get those recommended 7 hours of sleep each night? How do we fall asleep and stay asleep? Here are some tricks and tips:

  1. PUT DOWN THE PHONE: I know that’s easier said than done as we are all really addicted to our phones. I for one am guilty of this. Let’s try to make a change together, 2 hours before bed put the phone, the computer, and the iPad down. This will reduce your exposure to blue light. Blue light tricks your brain into thinking that it is daytime.
  2. REDUCE THE CAFFEINE: Say no to the afternoon coffee, or switch to decaf.   Believe it or not, caffeine can stay in your system for 6-8 hours. Green tea has incredible health benefits.  Try switching out your afternoon latte for a decaf green tea.
  3. STICK TO A SCHEDULE: Set a schedule for yourself and over time your body will get used to it
  4. EXERCISE: Exercising over the course of the day can help to promote better sleep
  5. CREATE A RELAXING ENVIRONMENT: The bedroom is for sleeping and relaxing not working.   Make sure you create clear separation so that your mind knows when you are laying in bed it is not time to think about work. The ideal environment for sleep is cool, quiet, and dark.
  6. SAY NO TO THE NIGHTCAP: Alcohol may make you sleepy, but that is temporary. Drinking alcohol before bed will lead to you waking up more throughout the night.
  7. STOP NAPPING: Napping may make it harder to fall asleep at night.  If you are already struggling with falling asleep cut back on the napping and try to stick to a routine.
  8. WATCH WHAT YOU EAT: A light snack is okay, but stay away from heavy meals before bed. I try to stop eating by 8:00 every night, but you also don’t want to go to bed hungry.
  9. WATCH YOUR WATER INTAKE: The last thing you want to be doing before bed is running back and forth to the bathroom or waking up multiple times during the night. Start reducing your water intake about 2 hours before bed.
  10. MEDITATE: Meditating before bed can help calm the brain and make it easier to sleep. Check out the peloton app or your favorite meditation app for some sleep meditations you can try. Some other ways you can relax are
    1. Yoga
    2. Soothing music
    3. Long bath or shower
    4. Reading
  11. STOP STARING AT THE CLOCK: This isn’t helping anyone and is just going to stress you out.   If 20/30 minutes go by and you can’t sleep, start doing one of the above relaxation activities until you can go to sleep.

If you continue to have sleep issues, contact a doctor; there may be more going on.

A great way to measure your sleep is with a sleep tracker. I have the Fitbit Versa but other fitness trackers can help measure this as well. If sleep is something you struggle with I recommend it!

Happy sleeping and let us know some of your tips to getting a better night’s sleep in the comments.