It's important to aim for at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night. Sometimes even if we do get enough sleep we don't always feel rested + ready to take on the day. Follow these tips to get enough sleep to feel rested for sustained energy throughout the day.
1. Implement a Morning + Night Routine
Support your circadian rhythm, or internal body clock, by implementing a routine in the morning and evening to support your hormones that affect sleep, manage stress levels, and feel rested + energized throughout the day. Wind down at night and start your day with some time for yourself to maximize your energy.
2. Wind Down 1 Hour Before Bedtime
You decide what winding down will look like for you. It's important to support our bodies with signals + the environment to let it know it's almost time for sleep. Important things to consider include putting all work + electronics away and lower the lighting to let your brain know it's time to start producing melatonin (your sleep hormone).
3. No Screen Time Before Bed
This can be a hard one to break. A lot of times we think we'll just scroll until we get tired and fall asleep. The problem is our electronic devices emit light at blue wavelengths, which tricks our minds into thinking it's actually daytime. This interferes with our melatonin production (sleep hormone), so we're not getting sleep when we should be!
4. Set Up Your Room for Restful Sleep
Your environment should support restful sleep. An optimal sleeping environment is a cool temperature and free from noise + light. What else can you do to set up your room for sleep? Diffuse essential oils, clean your sheets weekly, get new comfy PJs, keep an inspirational book by your bed, clean up your space, and make it a electronic-free zone.
5. Manage Your Circadian Rhythm
Your circadian rhythm, or your internal body clock or sleep-wake cycles, are dictated by light. Bright light signals to your brain that it is daytime, time to wake up and take on the day. Low light helps to stimulate melatonin for restful sleep at night. Aim for no bright light right before bed and try to let light in in the morning to help you wake up.
6. Stress + Sleep
Stress and high cortisol levels can make it difficult to fall + stay asleep. Elevated stress can lead to elevated blood sugar levels. Your kidneys can try to rid elevated blood sugar through the urine, leading to you needing to get up frequently throughout the night. Explore the root of your stress - what is causing you to feel this way and what can you do about it?
Is your cortisol affecting your sleep?
7. Go to Bed at the Same Time
We are creatures of habit and our bodies like routine. To feel the most rested try to go to bed at the same time every night. While this isn't always possible with weekend routines differing from the weekday, try to keep your routine as regular as possible and aim for at least 7 hours of sleep per night, ideally 8 or 9.
8. Cut Caffeine by the Afternoon
It's common to reach for a cup of coffee if you feel an afternoon slump. Caffeine is a stimulant and the effects of consuming later in the day can affect your ability to and quality of sleep. Set a cut off time of 2 pm, opt for a non-coffee alternative, use a smaller mug, and limit caffeine as the day progresses for optimal sleep at night.
9. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise can help boost sleep quality + reduce stress to make it easier to fall asleep at night. While it's important to get a variety of different types of exercise, try to keep high intensity / aerobic / cardio exercise for the morning or during the day and not too close to bedtime. Stretching, light weights, or gentle yoga are great before bed.
10. Avoid Alcohol, Stimulants, + Heavy Meals in the Evening
While we think alcohol can help us sleep, it actually disrupts our circadian rhythm and our ability to get a truly restful night's sleep. Caffeine and cigarettes are both stimulants that can keep you awake when you're trying to sleep. Big or spicy meals in the evening can lead to indigestion making it difficult to sleep.
11. Blood Sugar Balance + Sleep
Stress + high blood sugar can make it difficult to fall asleep at night. Night sweats, waking up in the middle of the night, or waking up and needing a snack can all mean a blood sugar drop is happening in the middle of the night. A small snack before bed like fruit + almond butter can help prevent a drop at night.
12. Natural Sleep Remedies
Calming herbal teas like chamomile, lavender, holy basil, lemon balm, or passion flower can help calm before bed. A magnesium supplement or an epsom salt bath also help the body relax. Other supplements like certain amino acids or melatonin may be indicated, talk to your healthcare provider before adding into your routine.
13. Get Labs Checked
Checking your cortisol (stress hormone) levels can give you helpful insight to your sleeping patterns. A normal cortisol curve should show that it is highest upon waking and gradually decline throughout the day. People with a cortisol spike in the evening (as a result of prolonged stress) may experience disrupted sleep or trouble falling asleep.