There is no such thing as being the healthiest version of you without having a good night of sleep. A good night rest will age you less quickly, keeps your weight balanced, and makes you energetic and happier.
What I also mentioned in the article here, is that we tend to eat more and choose less healthy food when we don’t sleep well. When we are tired we make poor food choices. I clearly notice this myself, when I don’t sleep enough or well enough, I tend to snack much more.
I’m sharing my 10 best tips on how to get your perfect night of rest, without popping a pill.
Dim the lights
This one is difficult (for me), since I like to check my email right before I go to bed or even when I’m in bed. Wrong! Laptop, mobile devices and other bright lights should be dimmed or shut down. Staring at any screen is very stimulating for the brain and makes it difficult to unwind when we are in bed. Try to unwind without any electronics as early as you can.
Create an evening routine
Our body thrives well when we have a routine. It’s very important to have a personal fixed sleep routine. Yes, that means every night going to bed at the same time. Your body will adapt quickly to a routine and will start to relax at certain times.
Herbs can be a great holistic way to help your body get more relaxed. Chamomile or valerian root tea is delicious and will help you sleep better. Include this in your sleep routine, so your body can wind down the moment you enjoy a delicious cup of herbal tea. Valerian is one of the most common sleep remedies. Valerian improves deep sleep, speed of falling asleep, and quality of sleep.
Magnesium and calcium
Magnesium and calcium are both super sleep boosters. You can read more about it here.
Last summer I found a bottle of lavender and decided to give it a try. It was a very hot summer and the temperatures at night just didn’t drop. On top of that the bedroom didn’t seem to cool of enough for me and I just couldn’t fall asleep that easily. Lavender actually helped me to unwind and not worry about the lack of sleep or the heat. It’s a cheap, nontoxic way to make you fall asleep. Find a spray with real lavender and spritz it on your pillow or blanker before bedtime.
If you are really feeling stressed, it can help to do some deep breathings. You are going out of your head and into your body (belly), which is great (at any moment) to calm down. Big belly breaths are amazing at calming the nervous system as well as massaging internals organs. It shouldn’t be something complicated. Just put a hand on your belly, and feel it rise as you inhale and fall as you exhale. It will get you immediately in the moment, now. Stress and anxiety all have to do with not being in the moment and deep breathing can be a great help.
When your head is overflowing with worries or even (positive) things and ideas it is great do write it down. I love my to-do lists, but when I’m super busy and lot is coming up it sometimes helps to just write down all. What I’m doing, where, what I should prepare, ideas, people I need to contact, little tasks. Write it all down and your head will much ‘’lighter’’ and organized. This works great for me! Also during the day if I don’t have a clue what to do first. Get it down on paper and be done with it so there is no room left to dream or worry about it at night.
Move more during the day
Exercise relaxes the body and mind. Even walking just 30 minutes a day will help you sleep better. This is actually pretty straightforward. I once attended a lecture where I learned that some people are just not tired enough to fall asleep. If this could be you, move more.
Eat crappy, sleep crappy
There are certain snack you can better skip at night if you would like to have a good night of sleep. Certain nuts and stimulating foods and drinks are not very helpful. It’s better to have a salad with lettuce (lettuce contains lactucarium, which has sedative properties and affects the brain similarly to opium), a banana (magnesium) or certain fruits with lycopene, such as grapefruit, tomatoes, papaya and watermelon. Also cherries are a great choice since they naturally boost levels of melatonin.
For some of us, insomnia is a really big problem that is not easily solved by just following the above tips. If insomnia is bothering you, it helped many people to accept what cannot be changed at that moment. Of course you shouldn’t be active at night, but try not to get upset or even angry with yourself. This will have the opposite effect. Don’t look at the clock. Don’t count how many hours of sleep you’ll still catch if only you would fall asleep now or in 30 minutes. Acceptance and letting go of counting the hours will make you much more relaxed, which leads to a better and earlier sleep.
Do you have problems sleeping? If so, what are you doing to make sure you will sleep as a baby?
photos by the green creator (c) (copyright)