Trouble Sleeping Through the Night? 5 Tips for Better Sleep

Trouble Sleeping Through the Night? 5 Tips for Better Sleep
May 16, 2017

Are you resigned to not sleeping through the night?

Are you feeling exhausted or “running on stress hormones” all day?

Do not fear, I have some great tips (and an amazing recipe) for you!

The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing.

Sleep is something we all do every day and yet we’re just beginning to understand all of the ways it helps us and all of the factors that can affect it.

Lack of sleep affects just about everything in your body and mind.  People who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for so many health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer; not to mention effects like slower metabolism, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and inflammation.  And don’t forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making skills.

Do you know that lack of sleep may even negate the health benefits of your exercise program?

What are the three main purposes of sleep?

  • To restore our body and mind.  Our bodies repair, grow and even “detoxify” our brains while we sleep.
  • To improve our brain’s ability to learn and remember things, technically known as “synaptic plasticity”.
  • To conserve some energy so we’re not just actively “out and about” 24-hours a day, every day.

Do you know how much sleep adults need?  It’s less than your growing kids need but you may be surprised that it’s still recommended that all adults get 7 – 8 hours a night.  For real!

Try not to skimp!

(Don’t worry, I have you covered with a bunch of actionable tips below.)

Tips for better sleep:

  • The biggest tip is definitely to try to get yourself into a consistent sleep schedule. Make this a priority.  This means turning off your lights 8 hours before your alarm goes off.  Seven. Days. A. Week.  I know weekends can easily throw this off but by making sleep a priority for just two weeks your body and mind will adjust and thank you for it.
  • Balance your blood sugar throughout the day.  You know, eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fiber).  In other words, choose the whole orange instead of the juice (or worse orange-flavoured snack or energy powders).  
  • During the day get some sunshine and exercise.  These things tell your body it’s daytime; time for being productive, active and alert.  By doing this during the day it will help you wind down more easily in the evening.  If your workspace doesn’t allow for sunshine invest in a natural light lamp, these are not expensive and have proven to be very effective as an aid to normalize your sleep.
  • Cut off your caffeine intake and any added sugar after 12pm.  Yes, this includes your beloved chai latte.  Both caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a bit more active than you want it to be come evening. (HINT: I have a great caffeine-free chai latte recipe for you below!).
  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time (that is 8 – 10 hours before your alarm is set to go off).  This would include dimming your artificial lights, nixing screen time including TV completely and perhaps reading an (actual, not “e”) book or having a bath.

So how many of these tips can you start implementing today?

Recipe (Caffeine-free latte for your afternoon “coffee break”): Rich Caffeine-Free Chai Latte

Serves 1-2

1 bag of rooibos chai tea (rooibos is naturally caffeine-free)
2 cups of boiling water
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon almond butter (creamy is preferred)
2 dates (optional)

Cover the teabag and dates (if using) with 2 cups of boiling water and steep for a few minutes.

Discard the tea bag & place tea, soaked dates, tahini & almond butter into a blender.

Blend until creamy.

Serve and Enjoy!

Tip:  You can try this with other nut or seed butters to see which flavour combination you like the best.  Cashew butter anyone?

References:

Go to Bed: 14 EASY STEPS TO HEALTHIER SLEEP

Hacking Sleep: Engineering a high quality, restful night.

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Posted in Health/Fitness by Mari Pizarro