Sleep: We fight it as kids, yet crave it as adults. If only we could return to sleeping with the ease with which we did as children—how blissful would that be?
Sleep is an integral component of our overall health. In fact, a good night’s sleep is just as important as are eating healthfully and exercising.
Many of my clients struggle with is the relationship between poor sleep and food cravings—and it’s not them just being “bad” at sticking to their routine. The science behind this is simple: When we’re tired, a greater amount of ghrelin – also known as the hunger hormone – is released, while leptin – the hormone that tells us when we’re satisfied – is lowered. This can make us feel hungry even when our bodies don’t need food, which in turn makes us more susceptible to craving unhealthy stuff.
Want a better night’s sleep? Here are some of my favorite sleep hacks, which have helped me and many of my clients get better rest at night and lead a healthier lifestyle.
Get up and go to bed at the same time (within two hours of the same time, even on the weekend). Remember having a bedtime as a kid? Turns out that having a consistent routine is key to good sleep for adults too. Being in tune with your internal clock or your circadian rhythm can lead to better cognitive performance and overall improved health. In fact, regular daily events like a consistent bedtime and wake time “serve to anchor our underlying daily rhythms.”
Give yourself time to power down. I know firsthand how this one is, but the payoff is huge! Make sure to disconnect from technology before heading to bed. Better yet, have a transition period (about 15 to 30 minutes) of tech-free time before getting into bed. I know that for me, also sleeping with my phone on the other side of the room was a totally game-changer in terms of sleep quality.
Make your bedroom a space that’s conducive to sleep. Because our bodies are programmed to sleep when it’s dark, you can encourage that natural rhythm by ensuring that your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet. A white noise machine can also come in handy in creating a sleep-friendly environment.
Avoid eating (especially a heavy meal) within an hour or so before going to bed. In this Forbes article, I write about foods which benefit sleep and healthy bedtime snacks you might enjoy.
Try bedtime meditation. When we settle the mind, we rest the body and that restfulness makes it easier to wind down and drift off to sleep. An app like Headspace has great bedtime meditations and even a meditation you can listen to if you wake up in the middle of the night and need help going back to sleep.
Aromatherapy. While aromatherapy cannot cure insomnia, using calming and relaxing essential oils before going to bed has been shown to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Lavender essential oil has been proven to lead to “increased quality of sleep and reduced level of anxiety in patients…”
Consider a melatonin supplement. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates our circadian rhythm. Levels rise when it gets dark, which is why a dark bedroom is so important. Sometimes travel across time zones or an inconsistent schedule can throw off that internal clock, so taking a melatonin supplement for a week or so can help you establish a consistent sleep routine. This is also a good one to stash in your carry-on when. Traveling. For a sweet treat, I love Good Day Chocolate with Melatonin
Drink magnesium citrate powder in warm water before bed. Magnesium is a mineral that plays a critical role in the body’s health. For example, it’s essential to efficient muscle and nerve function and plays a role in many body processes. Healthy magnesium levels protect metabolic health, stabilize mood, keep stress in check, and even promote better sleep.
Take a few drops of CBD oil before bed. While more research is needed, studies on cannabidiol (CBD) have highlighted its potential role as a sleep aid. CBD has been found to reduce anxiety, which in turn can be helpful in reducing sleep difficulties and improving sleep quality. A few drops under the tongue is all you need. There are tons of products on the market but one of my favorites is Grassroots Harvest.
Sleep with a weighted blanket. Research has shown that sleeping under weight makes us sleep and feel better, and we can now purchase weighted blankets. It kind of reminds me of those Thundershirts you can put on a dog to help with their anxiety or restless behaviors—I remember being skeptical when I first tried using a weighted blanket but after having the chance to test out one from Bearby, I am now a (better-rested) believer and often recommend them to my clients.
I’d love to chat with you about how you can get into a good sleep routine to support your healthy living goals—click here to book a free call.