Nutritious Nuggets: 5 Tips to Improve Your Sleep

Last week we chatted about the importance of getting ample shut eye. First step was to be an observer of your sleep patterns. This could be keeping a sleep diary or even using a sleep tracking app to track the total hours of sleep (roughly) you are getting every night for one to two weeks.

If you discovered you are consistently hitting less than 7 hours of sleep then you will likely need to make some adjustments.  These small adjustments can make a BIG difference in your energy, workouts, recovery and overall health. 

5 Tips to Better Sleep

  1. Stick to a schedule: To the best of your ability go to bed and wake up around the same time everyday. The more consistent you are with a schedule the better your body can regulate the hormones that help you get sleepy at night and help you wake up with energy in the morning. Make it a goal to go to bed before midnight; some sleep experts say every hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours after.
  2. Limit caffeine and alcohol: Before you have a total freak out notice the word is limit not eliminate (though some of you may greatly benefit from doing so). Especially if you are not getting enough sleep at night consider stopping caffeine intake after 2pm. While alcohol may seem like it helps you go to sleep with ease more than 1 to 2 drinks a night can impact your deep sleep, leaving you feeling restless the next morning. Check out more on alcohol use in a prior post here
  3. Get off those electronics: The “endless scroll” can be a killer of good sleep. Unplug from social media, your phone, computer and TV screens at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. The blue light from screens, noise and overall stimulation can make it difficult for our brains to register its time to shut down. Also consider turning your screens on “night mode” as soon as it gets dark to remove blue light exposure. Most have a setting you can program to turn on automatically at certain times of the day.
  4. Bedroom is cool and dark: Make sure your sleep environment promotes quality sleep. Your room shouldn’t bee too warm or too cold, just right for you. Studies show most people sleep best around 67 degrees. Bottom line find a temperature that is comfortable to you where you don’t wake up shivering and you don’t wake up sweating. Keeping your room as dark as possible helps your body produce more melatonin which tells you body its time to sleep. Again, remove those electronic screens in your room, add some dark curtains and use dim light bulbs.
  5. De-stress: We have all laid in bed at night staring at the ceiling thinking or worrying about all the things we have to do. Try to find ways to de-stress so this is not keeping you from your sleep. Consider having a notebook at your bedside and do brain dump of all your to dos or thoughts. Other ways to distress before bed include: slight stretching, warm bath with epsom salt, warm shower or reading.

Try these out and see what changes have the biggest impact on getting you more sleep then work on adding this into your new daily routine. Your future self will thank you for it!