Sleep. We all need it, but in today’s fast-paced society we rarely prioritize it. Rest isn’t indulgent; it’s an essential component to good health. Sleep (or lack there of) has a direct impact on our health, weight, mood, and appearance. While we sleep our bodies are repairing, rebalancing, and healing from the inside out.
Here are my top 10 tips for a quality night’s sleep so you can wake up feeling refreshed and energized:
1. Eat dinner at least 2 hours before you intend to go to sleep.
Eating too late can leave you tossing and turning in discomfort. If your schedule doesn’t allow at least a 2 hour gap, try eating easily digestible foods or a smaller portion.
2. Turn off all technology.
At least 1 hour before bed, nix all smartphones, iPads, TV – everything! The short-wavelength light found in electronic devices can delay the body’s natural release of melatonin and reduce your overall quality of sleep.
3. No caffeine in the afternoon.
The effects of caffeine can last anywhere from 3-8 hours. As a rule of thumb, try to switch to caffeine-free beverages (such as herbal tea or cold-pressed juice) after 12 PM.
4. Find the perfect sleep accessories
Using an eye mask and ear plugs every night is a great way to ensure a quality, uninterrupted night’s rest. I’ve tried several different brands of ear plugs and eye masks over the years and have found that Mack’s ear plugs are the most comfortable and Flight 001 and Bedtime Bliss make the most lightweight, natural feeling mask.
5. Create a ritual.
Create a calming routine that signals your body that it’s time to rest. It can be anything from lighting a few candles and reading to doing a meditation practice or journaling. It’s important to find what works for you.
6. Take a warm shower or bath.
Rinsing the day away is a relaxing ritual that can prepare your body for a quality night’s sleep. You can try adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to your tub or using a calming scented shower gel.
7. Keep a notepad by your bedside.
Keep a journal or notebook by your bed for those last minute thoughts that pop into your head or anything you want to remember in the morning. You can quickly reference your notes when you wake up.
8. Invest in a real alarm clock.
Keeping an electronic device (such as a cell phone or tablet) with a set alarm in your bedroom can leave you tempted to check Facebook or your email. Invest in an alarm clock so you can keep your electronics turned off and out of sight all night.
9. Set yourself up for a good morning.
Nothing can leave you tossing and turning more than thinking about everything you have to do the following day. Make your mornings a little easier by prepping your breakfast ahead of time, packing your gym bag, and/or preparing your lunch.
10. Exercise mindfully.
Breaking a sweat raises your core body temperature, increases your heart rate, and releases cortisol (a stress hormone) into the body, all of which can make you feel too alert and awake to sleep. If before bed is the only time your schedule allows you to fit in a workout, try a relaxing yoga routine or taking a walk.
Sweet dreams, everyone!