It’s National Sleep Awareness Week. Are you one of the 70 million Americans who don’t sleep well? In his podcast, Why Sleep is More Important Than Diet- Optimize it Today! Dr. Mark Hyman explains why this lack of sleep is degrading our health, leaving us low in energy and focus and contributing to chronic illness. Conversely, good restorative sleep regulates our brain function, helps stabilize mood, and is a time when our body heals. Precision Nutrition calls sleep a “recovery rockstar”!
Avoid the consequences of poor sleep by trying the tips below. As always, this information is intended to be educational. Check in with your physician to address your specific health concerns.
What You NEED for Better Sleep Now:
Your Own Sleep Ritual- Taking into consideration some of the following tips, create your very own sleep ritual. This is a special set of things YOU do before bed to help ready your system physically and psychologically for sleep. Be consistent and do YOUR ritual each night.
Your Sleep Routine-Strive to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Again, be consistent.
Peaceful Sleep Environment: Create your very own calming "nest." Bedrooms that encourage a peaceful slumber use tranquil and restful colors and minimize clutter and distraction. Aim for total darkness and quiet when it is time to sleep (room darkening shades, eyeshades, and earplugs can be helpful). Keep the room cool. Dedicate a special spot (not your bed and ideally another room) for television or reading on screens.
Quiet Body- Eating a heavy meal or exercising vigorously prior to bed can lead to a poor night’s sleep or make it difficult to fall asleep. Try to eat no later than three hours before YOUR consistent bedtime.
Quiet Mind- Free your mind to ensure a restful night’s slumber. An hour or so before you go to bed, write down things that are causing you stress and/or make a brief “to-do” list for the next day to ease your worry. Try a relaxation, meditation, or guided imagery recording or app.
Warm Body- Warming up your body, especially your core, can trigger the proper chemistry for sleep. Take a hot aromatherapy bath or snuggle up with heating blanket/pad or hot water bottle to help you settle into a good night’s sleep.
Natural Light-If possible, get outdoors in the morning, or early in the day, for at least 20 minutes. Not only will the natural light keep your body clock on a healthy sleep-wake cycle, it can boost your mood and support healthy aging.
References and Resources: Dr. Mark Hyman: Why Sleep is More Important Than Diet- Optimize it Today! Podcast Episode 487 and National Sleep Foundation https://www.thensf.org/ Precision Nutrition The power of sleep. [Infographic] Why sleep is so important, and how to get more of it. (precisionnutrition.com)
Author: Karin H. Spencer, EdD, NCPT
Thanks for visiting the Uplift Blog! I'm an educator, Pilates enthusiast (NCPT), reflective practitioner and Ironman triathlete. I love helping others discover their joy and confidence as movers. I support others in making lifestyle changes to improve health and well-being. As a life-long educator, I am especially committed to joining together with teachers to uplift each other.