How to get better sleep ASAP!
You know sleep is important to feeling energetic and focused, but you may not realize that the amount and quality of your sleep affect your hormones, blood sugar, metabolism (and many other functions!).
In order to get the best sleep possible, let's talk about getting in tune with your circadian rhythm!
What does that mean?
A circadian lifestyle is essentially living in a natural 24-hour cycle from light to dark.
Why is it important to my health?
Your hormones are based on mother nature’s cycle and respond to the rhythm of the day accordingly. You are meant to rise with the sun (or as close to sunrise as possible) as your cortisol - a stress hormone - is highest at that time. As the day goes on, your cortisol lowers and your body prepares for rest. This is how nature intended. What if you feel that you function best at night? You may be experiencing hormonal dysregulation and changes should be made to shift back into a more natural cycle for better sleep and better health.
Tips on how to make the shift:
Wake naturally without an alarm clock (if possible). If this is tough, set your alarm for a quiet “easing” into wakefulness by using a chime or gong or even a sunlight clock until you naturally wake on your own. Turn any conventional clocks around or cover, so their lights don't unknowingly disturb you.
Try to get your most pressing goals done in the morning - the things that require more energy, like exercising, stressful projects, etc.
Eat on a schedule, and eat real food. Eliminate processed refined sugars and most foods that come in a box. Breakfast should have lots of protein, not taste like dessert.
Expose your eyes and skin to sunlight (to create vitamin D) at least 15-20 minutes per day. Preferably bare arms or legs. Walk barefoot outside, inside, etc. Feel the earth beneath your feet. If it’s not the season to be bare, you could get a natural vitamin D light for your home and talk with your doctor about supplementing.
As the day winds down shut your blinds and lower the lights. Light candles, turn on relaxing music and/or take a warm bath with high-quality lavender essential oils.
Eat before 6:30 p.m. and make your meal a lighter meal than your lunch or breakfast. You may want to eat a small protein/fat snack before bed to stop the surge of adrenaline and cortisol that often happens in the night when blood sugar is off. This can help if you're hungry or you struggle with waking throughout the night.
Turn off ALL electronics by 8:00 p.m. or use blue light blocker glasses to look at the computer, watch TV or read electronic books. Get some good quality BLUblox glasses and/or download f.lux for your computer to minimize night time exposure to blue light.
Read, use a good quality lavender essential oil (doTERRA and Plant Therapy are good quality options.), do a breathing practice and stretch before bed.
Write down all the things you think you may worry about once your eyes are closed: the next day’s projects, what didn't get done that day, etc. Once it is down on paper, release it from your energy and your mind and free yourself to rest. If you still struggle with stressful thoughts, work on reducing stress during the day with a stress-reducing app. You can also practice breathing exercises and guided relaxation in order to turn off the sympathetic nervous system, which turns on your body’s fight or flight mode, leading to stress hormones that make it difficult to rest.
Remove ALL sources of light from the bedroom, including televisions, phones, alarm clock lights and light that filters through windows. If this is not possible, try wearing an eye mask for total darkness. The Bucky brand is nice as they are soft and have a concave shape over the eyes.
Be in bed and asleep by 10:30 at the latest.
If these steps don’t solve your sleep issues, have your adrenals tested by ordering a "4 Sample Cortisol Saliva Test," and find out if you are having lows and highs at the wrong times of the day.