Why is sleep such an issue for so many of us when it’s something our bodies should just do naturally?
Actually, the truth is that sleep is not something that just happens… unless you are a teenager! Even babies need to learn to fall asleep and sleep well. And modern lives do a lot to undo all the natural sleep patterns we’ve tried to develop -- from artificial light from electronics to late night snacking and sporadic schedules. If we are going to get a good night's sleep, we have to proactively set ourselves up for success.
What’s important about getting good sleep?
Besides just feeling great, good sleep is vital for good health. Sleep deprivation can lead to a multitude of health issues. To name just a few:
- It escalates the hunger hormone called ghrelin — which increases food cravings.
- It escalates the stress hormone called cortisol — which can cause weight gain, diabetes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, depression, osteoporosis and depressed immunity.
- It causes elevated blood pressure in people with hypertension, which can lead to cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Wow! Learning how to improve your sleep is not just a luxury—it’s a necessity!
How do I get better sleep?
Follow these 7 tips and rest assured (excuse the pun) that you will start to feel more rejuvenated and energized:
- Practice regular sleep rhythms by going to bed and waking up around the same time each day.
- Create total quiet and darkness in your bedroom.
- Avoid caffeine or reduce your intake after noon as it affects your sleep dramatically.
- Get regular exposure to sunlight (at least 20 minutes a day whenever possible) because exposure to sunlight during the day triggers your brain to release more melatonin at night. Melatonin is a hormone that is vital for healthy sleep.
- Eat no later than two hours before you go to bed because eating a heavy meal before bedtime will impede your body’s natural overnight detoxification process.
- Write down your worried thoughts before bedtime so you can free your mind and drop into a deep and restful sleep. Just a few minutes of journaling can make a big difference.
- Take a hot salt or aromatherapy bath because raising your body temperature before bed helps to induce sleep.