Today we are discussing 9 ways to improve your sleep and enjoy more energy. It is estimated that 50% of adults over the age of 60 are sleep deprived according to the National Institute of Health. And 20% of all US adults suffer with some form of sleep issues. This is a huge problem.
Young people who are busy with careers, kids and technology often don’t realize the damage that lack of sleep is doing to their health. When clients come to our clinic complaining of exhaustion and stress, sleep is a key part of any recovery program. And this is why it is one of the 4 issues we deal with in our lifestyle coaching programs.
So what are 9 ways that you can improve your sleep?
Essential Oils to improve your sleep
Lavender is the one essential oil known for its relaxing effects on the body which can improve your sleep. Use an essential oils diffuser in your bedroom or rub 2 – 3 drops into the hands for the aromatic effect by inhalation. You can also rub behind knees, behind ears, wrists and bottom of feet where there are pressure points. You should always use a carrier oil to dilute your essential oil and you can learn more about sleep and essential oils here.
Improve your sleep with relaxation techniques
Anxiety is often the cause of people not falling asleep or waking regularly during the night. Using relaxation techniques in your daily life can definitely help to improve your sleep.
meditations which help deep relaxation and being more aware of the present moment.
Prayer helps to relax you and put you into a deep sense of calm. Praying before bed can help you feel supported, loved and protected. Put your day in perspective by thanking your God and ultimate protector. You can be assured that God is taking care of you during the night.
This is challenging because if you exercise too close to the evening, it can stimulate you and cause you to suffer insomnia.
So therefore it is best to exercise in the morning, when you rise if you can. This can be part of your morning routine that sets your mind and your day for success.
A study that was published in the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity showed that there is strong evidence connecting moderate to vigorous exercise to a number of health factors. A nationally representative sample of more than 2,600 men and women, ages 18-85, found that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week, which is the national guideline, provided a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality. People also said they felt less sleepy during the day, compared to those with less physical activity.
Nutrition and Eating to Improve your sleep
Obviously nutrition plays an important role in your quality of sleep. If you eat too many starchy, sugary foods, your blood sugar will be unstable and this will negatively affect your sleep. And when you don’t sleep, then your blood sugar is worse and you crave more sugary, starchy foods. So it is a negative loop.
Sugars work on your neurotransmitters and hormones that will keep you wired.
Your hunger hormones are also affected by sleep. If you don’t sleep, your ghrelin will be higher and this is your hunger hormone. Your leptin will be lower and this is your “full” hormone. this is almost certainly why lack of sleep causes you to eat more and gain more weight. And ghrelin will also cause you to crave the sugary, high carb foods that cause you to gain weight.
The time that you eat is super important too. We recommend that you don’t eat after 7 pm in the evening if possible. This allows your body to fully digest your food before bed. Ideally you want your food to digest for 4 hours but if you go to bed by 10 pm, then you want at least 3 hours to pass after your evening meal.
If you are hungry before bed, you can eat a banana which contains tryptophan, a neurotransmitter known to aid sleep. It also contains potassium which also helps to relax your body.
We recommend that you do eat carbohydrate at your evening meal as this will help you to sleep.
Regular, consistent evening routine
A daily evening routine that is consistent is important for your circadian rhythm to prepare you for sleep. Your circadian rhythm is the 24 hour cycle that your body goes through controlled by sunlight and temperature. The circadian rhythm determines what hormones are high or low at what time of the day. It is controlled by the hypothalamus in your brain, the gland known as the conductor of your hormone orchestra. When it is dark, your eyes send a message to the hypothalamus to make you tired. It releases melatonin, a hormone that is produced at night. Melatonin is one of the supplements we recommend to our clients. However, it is no use taking melatonin if you are watching TV or working on your computer til late in the evening. You are tricking your brain.
Cool temperature in the bedroom
Keeping your bedroom cool is important in order to improve your sleep. Research says that the best temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. A study has shown that temperatures below 54 degrees and above 75 degrees Fahrenheit are disadvantageous to your sleep. Body temperature has been linked to how deep a sleep a person gets at night. So keeping your room cool is important for your sleep.
Earthing to improve your sleep
Using an earthing mat can be very helpful for improving your sleep. I have slept with an earthing mat for the past 9 years and it immediately made a positive difference to the quality of my sleep.
We are living in a world surrounded by electromagnetic waves that are foreign to our bodies and it causes a build up of positive electrons. This laptop I am writing on, the cell phone lying next to me and all the other equipment – smart meters for your electricity, wireless in your home are all causing these positive electrons to build up. We no longer walk outside regularly with no shoes on. You can read more about earthing in the book, “Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever”.
An earthing mat is a grounding mat that is connected to the ground port of the nearest electrical outlet. It is especially helpful in your bedroom if you have digital clock, TV, lights and any other electrical devices that are emitting electricity that is not helpful for you during the night.
Supplements to improve your sleep
Chamomile tea is well known for its calming effects on sleeping. We recommend magnesium, GABA, melatonin, Valerian, L-tryptophan and 5-HTP. Of course, you should not take any supplement program without consulting with your medical doctor first.
Coffee, chocolate, tea and stimulating soda drinks all have caffeine that can negatively affect your sleep. A study showed that drinking coffee 5 hours before bed reduced sleeping time by 1 hour. And the older you get, the longer it takes for your body to process coffee. Chocolate contains a small amount of caffeine. Dark chocolate which is what we recommend our clients eat, contains more caffeine than milk chocolate for obvious reasons. However, you usually only eat 1 – 2 squares of dark chocolate so there is very little caffeine. However, if you feel the effects after eating chocolate, we recommend that you eat it earlier in the day and not after dinner at night.
We have found that our clients once they are on an adrenal support program, removing coffee always results in greater energy throughout the day. Coffee messes with your hormones and is not helpful for your long term health. If you must drink coffee, savor 1 cup early in the morning.
An estimated 75 million Americans are dehydrated and this is probably the same for all developed nations around the world. If you only knew that drinking water could have such a positive effect on your health, would you do it?
I am sure you would. Often when clients tell me they are exhausted and I ask them how much water they drink, it is the biggest factor in their exhaustion. You ought to be drinking as a guide, on average 1/2 your body weight in oz of water. For example, if you weight 150 pounds, this would mean 75 oz of clean drinking water. And not tap water – this is full of chemicals. You want to be drinking good quality, clean water.
Your brain is half water so it stands to reason that if you are dehydrated, your hypothalamus is not doing an optimal job for you. And I have found at Kelway Health, that clients’ brains have forgotten how to be thirsty. We give them homeopathic rehydration supplement that encourages your hypothalamus to receive the signals for thirst again. This can be helpful for anxiety, focus and sleep issues.
Improving your sleep is usually a combination of several of these factors. Sometimes, it is helpful to use supplements and work on hormone balance first so that you feel better. Then you are ready to tackle diet and other lifestyle changes that may be more challenging. If you have tried all these things and you are still not sleeping or waking up regularly at night, it is time to consult with your health professional or book a free consultation with me at Kelway Health. We can run functional tests that will give you information on why you are not sleeping.
Did this help you? If so, I would greatly appreciate if if you commented below and shared it on Facebook.
Email – connect with Kelway Health.
Twitter: Kelway Health on Twitter
Facebook: Kelway Health on Facebook
If you are interested in working with me, please book a Free Consultation. I help people with sleep issues everyday and I look forward to helping you.
P. S. If you enjoyed this post on improving your sleep, please retweet.
Sources and References:
Murphy PJ, Campbell SS. Nighttime drop in body temperature: a physiological trigger for sleep onset? Sleep. 1997 Jul; 20(7): 505-11. Lack LC, Gradisar M, Van Someren EJ, Wright HR, Lushington K. The relationship between insomnia and body temperatures. Sleep Med Rev. 2008 Aug; 12(4): 307-17 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26850806 https://www.journals.elsevier.com/mental-health-and-physical-activity/ http://www.sleepeducation.org/news/2013/08/01/sleep-and-caffeine https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304652804579572072977644460