* Thank you so much to our Marketing and Program Development Coordinator Lilly Brice for helping to put together this post. It may contain affiliate links.
Sleep is not only beneficial for our physical health, but proper sleep hygiene is a foundational pillar of our mental and emotional wellbeing. Getting in the recommended 7-8 hours should not be considered a luxury, but rather, a NECESSITY. Sleep has been proven to reduce your risk of chronic disease, boost immunity, improve cognitive function & mood, balance hormones, and promote a healthy weight. Being intentional with rest and sleep is actually a strategy.
Setting yourself up for a good night's sleep does not need to be a long, drawn-out process of massage oils, baths, elixirs, and a 12-step skincare routine. Let’s focus on the basics and work from there. As with anything “wellness-related”, aim for consistency over perfection.
Before we break down exactly what we should be avoiding and implementing to boost sleep quality, here are some simple tricks to get you catching more ZZZs.
Getting sunlight in the morning - Aligning your sleep with the natural light cycle of the day means your body is working with your circadian rhythm to create flow and balance, something that can get disrupted with late nights and lots of bluelight.
Be consistent with your sleep schedule - Waking up and going to sleep at the same times every day helps support your circadian rhythm.
Put your screens away - Bright light suppresses melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. If you can’t get away from screens, especially with lots of us working remotely, try blue light glasses and turn down the brightness of those devices to reduce eye strain.
Now, let’s break these sleep hygiene hacks down to bite size pieces we can implement into our routines right now and generate healthy habits that LAST.
Dinners that are light and plant based
Keep as regular of a sleep schedule as possible
Shifting starches to evening
LEARN TO LIMIT:
Stagnant emotions and stress
Sugar and refined carbs
Caffeine after 9am
Meals within 2 hours of bedtime (particularly meat, food colorings, and flavorings)
Alcohol and caffeine within 4 hours of bedtime.
Caffeine after noon.
Read, work, eat or watch tv in bed (aim to avoid screens at least 30 min before bed)
Light Therapy Lamp
Essential Oil Diffuser
FOOD and SUPPLEMENTS:
*remember to check with your doctor before adding supplements
Focus on foods rich in Tryptophan such as wild-caught salmon, grass-fed meats, eggs, spinach, seeds, tempeh, nuts, and legumes. Tryptophan is an amino acid, that when combined with carbohydrate, the body absorbs it and changes it to serotonin (a neurotransmitter our bodies need to produce melatonin).
Ashwagandha is definitely gaining popularity in media (you might see it included in everything from smoothies to coffee to granola), but this Ayurvedic herb is more than a fad - it promotes muscle relaxation, recovery, and balance within the body.
contains a variety of flavonoids including apigenin which has calming and sedative activity in some but not in all studies may reduce anxiety.
L-THEANINE activates GABA receptors and improves sleep quality attributed to anxiety rather than sedation.
Methylated B-Vitamin Complex
B-Vitamins are essential to functioning optimally. They regulate important hormones such as melatonin and serotonin which promote sleep and the “alertness” we are supposed to feel upon waking.
Try using magnesium flakes in your nighttime bath or taking it in supplement form to promote relaxation
Magnolia acts on GABA receptors in a manner similar to that of diazepam to
decrease salivary cortisol (stress) levels.
Life is constantly throwing us curve balls, so in order to best show up for ourselves and others, it’s crucial that we give ourselves a fighting chance to thrive with a proper night’s sleep. Remember, packed calendars, deadlines, or stressful worldwide news are not going anywhere, so why not fill our cups with the basics before getting caught up in all the “shoulds”, “musts”, and excuses - it is always the right time to prioritize our health.
Go to bed when you are sleepy and get out of bed when you aren’t.
Set your thermostat in the 60s. Cool temperatures are best for sleep quality.
Implement grounding rituals like journaling, meditation, and affirmations.
Try progressive muscle relaxation (Epsom salt bath, massage, body scan).
Move your body in the morning! This can be anything from walking to stretching to an intense HIIT workout.
Need more personalized help reaching your goals? Let's work together. I can help you take your wellness visions and make them a reality.
Hi! My name is Sarah. I'm into clean eating, traveling (beach please), helping folks eat and feel better, birds, documentaries, gardening, and bopping around my neighborhood with my dog. Thanks for reading!