Wouldn’t it be wonderful to get 7-9 luxurious hours of restful sleep each night? Although that may not be in the schedule, these 5 sleep suggestions can definitely help!
1. Exercise Early (maybe earlier) in Your Day
Regular exercise not only improves sleep quality, it helps give you the energy you need to hop out of bed and take on the world each day. Find the regimen that works for you— even a brisk 30-minute walk in the morning or early afternoon can improve sleep quality. Be sure to exercise at least six hours before bedtime; any closer and you could end up tossing & turning instead of drifting off to dreamland.
2. Can’t Give Up Coffee? Try a Less-Caffeinated Combo
Since coffee caffeine can stay in your body 8-14 hours after drinking, try having just one cup — then switching to green tea (which has less caffeine than coffee). This wonder beverage contains Theanine, which elevates your GABA—a calming brain chemical that promotes good sleep.
3. Develop a Nightly Sleep Ritual
Having a routine helps you fall asleep faster and sleep longer, so create one that’s easy to do and works for you. Maybe it’s chamomile tea, an Epsom salts bath, reading a book or gentle stretching. Whatever it is, start about an hour before bedtime by turning off all your electronic devices—the brightness of the screens has the effect of keeping you in the 'on' position too.
4. Sidestep Stress
Your stress hormone cortisol is supposed to be highest in the morning and gradually taper off by end of day. If not, it can overpower your body’s natural serotonin (the feel-good brain chemical that makes you feel calm and sleepy) keeping you wide-awake at bedtime. Try deep breathing and meditation – sounds cliché, but it works!
5. Cut Out Bedtime Snacks
Last but not least, going to bed on a full stomach suppresses ghrelin, a hormone that triggers the release of the growth hormone (GH) as we sleep. And since ghrelin helps your body heal, recover, and build muscle and bone, it’s the last thing you want shut down at night. So have an appropriate meal at dinnertime, then shut down the kitchen: your body will thank you!
Have a sleep strategy you’d like to share here? Leave a comment to tell us about it!