10 Ideas for Better Sleep

If you’re having trouble getting enough sleep, you’re certainly not alone. It’s estimated that as many as 70 million Americans suffer from sleep deprivation!

Inadequate sleep can hinder your health and wellness goals, so it’s definitely something you'll want to work on. Read about the consequence of sleep deprivation here.

If you make ‘getting more sleep’ a priority, you may see some changes. It can take 2-3 weeks until something may start to work for you, so if after a day or two of trying one of these tips, you don't find immediate success, don’t give up. It may just take some time for your body to adjust.

First, start with setting an intention of when you want to be in bed. For example, if you want 8 hours of sleep and you need to wake up at 6:00, plan to be ready for sleep by 10:00. This means you’ll want to start getting ready for bed by 9:30.

Try a couple of strategies at a time and note which ones seem helpful.

Note: If these simple solutions don’t work for you, be sure to check with your doctor to see if they can find the root cause. A functional medical practitioner or naturopathic doctor may be able to find a good natural solution for you.

Here is a List of 10 Things You Can Try to Help Improve Your Sleep:

1. Eliminate/reduce alcohol which can increase urination and can cause restless sleep. Researchers out of the University of Missouri (MU) School of Medicine in Columbia, MO, have been studying the relationship between alcohol consumption and sleep for over 5 years. You can learn more about their study here

2. Don’t consume chocolate (or caffeine) within 4-6 hours of bedtime.

If you are particularly sensitive to caffeine you may consider cutting it out after noon, or perhaps entirely. You can read an interesting study on the effects of caffeine and sleep based on timing of consumption, here

3.Turn off electronic devices 1-2 hours before bed.

Try trading in the ipad for a good old fashioned book! Electronic devices can seriously interfere with the hormone cycles which regulate sleep patterns. You can read more about this here

4. Finish dinner 3-4 hours before bedtime.

This allows digestion to occur and the contents of your stomach to move into your small intestine and reduce the likelihood of heartburn symptoms. Lying down may cause the contents of the stomach to reflux into the esophagus, leading to heartburn or GERD symptoms. This is more likely to occur if the stomach has not fully emptied by bedtime.

5. Try harnessing the power of herbs and drink a calming cup of tea, in the evening. Botanicals such as chamomile, valerian and lemon balm, among others, have long been used for their relaxing and sedating qualities. Our calming Sleep Tea is a caffeine free blend of botanicals and the perfect cup for your bed time routine, to help wind down your day and soothe your frayed nerves. You can shop for Sleep Tea from Verde Goddess here

6. Sleep in a totally dark room (all sources of light off) or wear an eye mask

Light is activating for your brain and current wisdom suggests that sleeping in a dark room, without any sources of light, not even a light from a digital clock is best to support uninterrupted sleep. The darkness stimulates the release of the hormone melatonin, which signals to your brain that it is time to sleep.

7. Set your bedroom at a comfortable temperature

When your body temperature drops it helps signal sleep onset. Keeping your sleeping climate cool can help initiate and sustain optimal sleeping environments. Read about the relationship between temperature and sleep loss here

8. Exercise in the morning, afternoon or early evening (not late at night)

Generally exercising any time of day can help support better sleep. However, it's possible you may be the type of person who finds that late night work outs get in the way of your sleep goals. If this is you, give yourself few hours between workout time and sleepy time to allow your body temperature to return to its usual 98.6 degrees, your heartbeat to return to its resting rate and your adrenaline levels to stabilize so you can get in your Z's.

9.Take a soothing hot bath at night

According to research, bathing one to two hours — ideally, 90 minutes — before bed in water at 104 to 109°F (40 to 43°C) can help you fall asleep an average of 10 minutes quicker than normal

10. Practice Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR)

This is a method of deep muscle relaxation, that involves learning to monitor the tension in specific muscle groups by first tensing each muscle group, then releasing it as attention is directed towards the differences felt during tension and relaxation. This helps to redirect the anxiety based responses in the brain and body and help support sleep onset.

Read a study on the effects of muscle relaxation techniques on sleep quality.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this document is for general education purposes only and is not intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease or medical conditions.

Check with your health practitioner before making diet and lifestyle changes.

Get more ideas to help support your sleep hygiene goals

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