Lately I have had a lot of people reach out to me about sleep. Personally, sleep is one of my non-negotiables and while I understand not everyone is as fortunate as I am, I am not the person that is willing to skimp on my sleep.
"Tired but wired" when you lay down at night, sound familiar? You feel exhausted but end up just laying there getting frustrated because you can't actually fall asleep. Girl, your cortisol levels are most likely jacked up (thats not a good thing) and we need to fix that ASAP.
If you are trying to improve your health or lose weight, one of the first things you need to look at is your sleep quality and consider ways to improve it. Consistent poor or lack of sleep can be a pretty detrimental thing to your health. Here are some things you need to be concerned about if your sleep is suffering:
-Increased risk of heart disease and cancer
-Lowered immunity and you get sick more often
-Foggy brain, forgetful often
I understand some people work shift schedules or have small children, there are always exceptions to the rules. But, if you don't have things like those that are out of your control, get your sleep in check!
Now, improving your sleep unfortunately won't happen overnight. It might take a few days or a week or two, but just as with anything else, trust the process and stay consistent!
Here are some things you can do to start improving your sleep today:
Set an alarm to turn off all electronics at least 30 minutes before bed. The blue light is known to suppress natural melatonin production so if you haven't invested in blue blockers (which can be fairly cheap on amazon) turn your tv, phone, kindle and all other electronics off as you're gearing up for bed. Pro Tip: Be sure to set your iPhone light to the night feature as soon as the sun goes down.
Do something that isn't stimulating. Gentle yoga or stretching, reading a light book that won't make you anxious or think too hard....something to help you "zone out"
Talk to your doctor about a magnesium supplement. A little science behind it- Magnesium plays a role in producing GABA which is a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep. You can also find GABA supplements at your local health food store which have been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety as well. (always consult with your doctor before starting any new supplements)
Ready for the big one:
No CAFFEINE AFTER 2 PM. I don't care what time you go to bed, I always recommend 2pm. Caffeine is going to mess up your natural circadian rhythm and definitely have a negative impact on your sleep and cortisol levels. The first few days might not be fun, but experiment with sticking it out. More recently I convinced a client to do this and after about 2 days his normal "3pm crash" completely went away, he is sleeping better and feels better overall.
Try playing around with your night time routine, and more importantly GET a nighttime routine. Just as with everything else, if you don't plan for it, it won't happen. So get a plan together, find someone to hold you accountable and get your sleep back!