Get a Better Night's Sleep
- Set a regular sleep schedule. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. (A little extra sleep on the weekends would be alright!). Need more sleep? Try napping. If you need to make up for a few lost hours, opt for a daytime nap rather than sleeping late. This strategy allows you to pay off your sleep debt without disturbing your natural sleep–wake rhythm, which often backfires in insomnia and throws you off for days.
- Watch your day’s caffeine and alcohol consumption. Caffeine (soda, coffee etc), even when drank well before bedtime, can keep you awake at night. Try cutting out all caffeine after 3pm. For very sensitive people caffeine even in the morning can affect sleep. Although alcohol seems to help people fall asleep faster, alcohol reduces the quality of sleep leading to more fatigue in the morning.
- Spend time outdoors in the natural sunlight - 20-30 minutes every day is ideal.
- Practice relaxation techniques during your daytime routine as well. We should not expect relaxation techniques to work when only practiced at night. We must engage ourselves in a more relaxed way all day long so that we don't have to undo all the built up tension at night.
- Keep the lights and noises down a few hours before bedtime. Bright lights will decrease your sleep hormone melatonin. Try green, red or amber lights in the evening and in your bedroom.
- Avoid computer use and TV watching too close to bedtime. DO NOT check your email right before bed! If you do need to use your computer get something for your computer that will adjust the color and brightness such as F. lux software.
- Engage in relaxing activities before bed – reading, knitting, listening to music, yoga, meditation, etc. Avoid watching television, talking on a cell phone, working on a computer or other activities that stimulate your nervous system. Try a cup of tea as part of your relaxing nighttime ritual such as chamomile, peppermint or the sleep blend by Traditional Medicinals.
- Avoid vigorous exercise 3 hours before sleep. While regular exercise will help improve your sleep, research shows that vigorous exercise done in the late afternoon or early evening is most beneficial for sleep.
- Eat a little protein before bed. Sometimes people have trouble sleeping or wake from sleep because their blood sugar is dropping. If your blood sugar tends to drop before meals or if you are hungry before bed, eat a little snack consisting mainly of protein.
- Aromatherapy is a wonderful way to induce relaxation and sleep – try bergamot, sandlewood, ylang-ylang or lavender. Add to an oil diffuser or place a few drops on a tissue and place near your pillow.
- Keep your room cool. Most people sleep better in a slightly cool room around 60-65 degrees F.
- Reserve your bedroom for sleeping or other relaxing activities. Avoid doing any kind of work in your room. Make your room a sanctuary for relaxing.
- Sleep in the dark – It needs to stay almost completely dark in your bedroom for your body to produce the sleep hormone melatonin. Even a night light or the moon light shining through the window can decrease this hormone and keep you awake. Invest in black out blinds if needed or make your own by tacking tinfoil over the window. It’s also important to turn off any lights from computers, televisions or clocks. Set your clock to a red or amber display or turn it around. Instead of a regular night light, use a green or red nightlight.
- Try a white noise machine or nature soundscape.
Dr. Joanne Aponte is a Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor & Holistic Wellness Expert. She is available in the store every Tuesday & Thursday from 12-7 to help answer your questions regarding natural wellness.
Disclaimer: The information contained in the GHM Wellness Blog is intended for educational purposes only. The information is not intended to be used for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any medical condition. Always consult with your personal physician or other qualified health care provider before making any changes to your health care