Hey friends –
I planned to post my IIN review today, but I started writing it and I think it needs a lot more love. It’s a really important topic (because it’s been a big part of my life), so I want to spend more time with it before I let it loose. :)
That being said, I decided to write about another topic that’s been on my mind A LOT lately — healthy sleep. Mainly because I haven’t been getting much of it. Is this because I don’t know what lifestyle changes to make in order to sleep better? NOPE. I am fully aware. I just haven’t been practicing them much over the past week, and I’ve been pretty tired.
I don’t need to tell you guys the importance of sleep, but I’ll tell you that when I don’t sleep well for a few days on end, my immune system starts to suffer. If I start to feel a tickle in my throat or like I’m “coming down with something” – it usually has to do with lack of sleep.
Because we’ve been focusing so much on hydration this month, it’s only fair to give a little more attention to sleep, since I declared in this post that sleep and hydration are the 2 most important things for optimal living.
Getting enough sleep really does enhance every aspect of life, and lack of sleep can start to chip away at you until everything just feels more difficult than it normally would because you’re exhausted. Know what I mean? You can only ride that sort-of-fun delirious lack of sleep high for so long…
According to this post on Limitless 365, chronic sleep deprivation has been show to contribute to:
- Increased risks of depression
- Obesity/Weight gain
- Inflammation in the body
- The ability to handle the daily stress that you and I face everyday
- Physical performance
- Decreased sex drive
- Poor decision making
- Frequent colds or getting sick often
- Hormones thrown out of whack
Those things aren’t fun. Therefore, if we want life to be fun, and if we wanna feel optimal…we should sleep.
Here are 8 ways to supercharge your sleep that you can start tonight (or tomorrow night if you’ve already broken all of them)! When I do these things – I sleep like a baby. :)
- Don’t look at bright screens before bed. I’ve been guilty of this lately, especially with all this night blogging. If you have to look at a screen before bed, get these AWESOME blue-blocker sunglasses to wear, or the “flux” app that will change the color of your screen depending on what time it is in your time zone. I just got it and it’s radical. My screen is kinda pink looking.
- Use a sleep mask or sleep in a very dark room. Once I found the joy of using a sleep mask I never went back. Having darkness while you sleep is super important so your natural production of melatonin isn’t interrupted. This is my favorite sleep mask.
- Take L-Theanine. There are a couple of supplements that can help with sleep. One is L-Theanine, which is a relaxing amino acid — it can help calm anxiety or racing thoughts at night without making you drowsy. Dr. Lipman recommends 100-300 mg, but you can adjust up or down depending on how you react to it.
- Don’t watch scary or anxiety-producing shows or movies close to bedtime. If I do this, I will lay in bed thinking every single sound is something I need to go investigate. Don’t get your nervous system all worked up like that close to bed. Instead, read a book that’s not too intense, and let it naturally lull you into a sleepy state.
- Drink magnesium tea. Another trick of the trade for feeling calm at night is to make magnesium tea. All you do is get some powdered magnesium (I like Natural Calm – the unflavored one) and put it into a hot cup of water and sip in the evening. Magnesium is a very calming mineral that can help induce sleep. Just don’t drink too much water right before bed or you’ll be woken up for bathroom trips. ;)
- Don’t consume caffeine, alcohol or sugar anytime close to wanting to sleep. Caffeine can stay in your system for 6-8 hours, so if you’re sleep deprived, you want to keep that in mind when you’re about to drink that 4pm coffee. Sugar can stress your system and leave you wired and feel anxious when you’re trying to fall asleep, and alcohol disrupts your sleep as well, so it’s a good idea to skip the sugary dessert or nightcap and go for a peppermint tea (or other herbal tea) at night instead.
- Try to keep a somewhat consistent sleep schedule. I know this one can be tough, but when you get your body into a natural rhythm it can lead to much better sleep. I know from experimenting that my optimal sleep schedule is 11pm-7am. I definitely don’t always stick to that, I just know I feel my best when I’m naturally tired at 11pm and can wake up around 7am with no alarm. Ah, the sweet spot. It might take awhile to get there, but make yourself wake up at the same time each morning for a week or so and your body will start to adjust.
- Take melatonin instead of sleep medication. Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the body, that correlates with sleep cycles, but it IS a hormone, so don’t use it carelessly. If you’re going to get started with sleep supplements, I would really suggest trying out the L-Theanine and magnesium first because they’re more mild, but if you need something a little stronger, melatonin is an option. Personally, I’ve taken melatonin on and off for years and I feel fine on it. I try to only use it when I’m traveling or my sleep schedule is thrown off. You may want to start with a small dose, like 1 – 3 mg, and see how you feel. Once you regulate your sleep rhythms, you shouldn’t need to continue taking it.
What tips do you guys have for getting better sleep? Have you tried any of these methods and slept better for it? Let’s hear!
Cheers to good sleep…after writing this, I’m so excited to put my head on the pillow tonight.