The comfort of your own bed. Your favorite pillow and sheets. A cool room cloaked in darkness. But why do you still have difficulty sleeping? You aren’t alone. According to the National Sleep Foundation and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, adults need a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night. Yet, one in three Americans get less than 7 hours of sleep a night.
Sleep is a critical component of your overall health because your body has the ability to relax, regenerate and repair itself. Sleep boosts your immune system, aids in concentration and alertness, improves mood and how your body systems work. A lack a sleep or sleep quality can cause hormone imbalances, increase inflammatory responses, negatively impact metabolism and your overall mental and physical health.
Below are 5 tips to get the sweet sleep you need:
1. Limit electronic use after 8pm
From a physiological perspective, the artificial blue light and wavelengths emitted from electronic devices suppress melatonin which is the sleep-inducing hormone. Psychologically, by continuously reviewing social media your mind is not allowed to rest. Instead, try reading a book (yes, the printed kind) or journaling to get your racing thoughts on paper.
2. Use essential oils
I love essential oils! I’ve used them for 5 years now and two of my favorites are lavender and doTERRA’s Serenity blend. Lavender has calming and soothing properties that promote relaxation and sweet sleep. Serenity is my all-time favorite containing lavender, cedarwood, roman chamomile with a hint of vanilla that smells divine. You can apply these oils topically or diffuse to create a calming, sleep haven. If you want to know more about doTERRA oils, I’d love to answer them for you.
3. Quit caffeine by noon
Caffeine stays in the body 8-14 hours after consuming it. While everyone associates coffee with caffeine, you can also find it in sodas, tea, chocolate (candy, hot chocolate, ice cream, pudding) and medications (e.g., Excedrin, Goody’s headache powders and some prescription drugs).
Regular exercise helps you sleep better. However, don’t get it too close to bedtime. A post-workout burst of energy can keep you awake so aim to finish your vigorous exercise 3-4 hours before you go to bed. Also, gentle mind-body exercise, such as yoga or tai chi, are great exercises to create relaxation just before bed.
5. Eat right at night
Avoid heavy foods and big meals too late as it overloads your digestive system which affects how well you sleep. A handful of almonds or walnuts for a light evening snack is a great option because contain healthy fats and melatonin. A cup of cottage cheese with raspberries provides protein, tryptophan and melatonin that will aid in restful sleep.
Sleep can be one of the best things you do for yourself and your whole health. Wishing you sweet dreams!