How to Sleep Better: Natural Sleep Remedies
Have you stared at the clock doing math? “If I go to sleep in the next minute, I can get X hours of sleep.” Or even worse, “ugh, only 6-minutes have passed since I last looked!? Why can’t I sleep?!”
Are you waking up feeling like your night did absolutely nothing to refresh and revitalize you? Or are you running on caffeine and stress all day
Keep reading! I have some great tips for you in this post and a free 5-day jumpstart to help you revolutionize your sleep.
The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing
Sleep is something we all do and yet we’re just beginning to understand all of the ways it helps us and all of the factors that can affect it. What we do know, though, is that it is vital.
You are a whole person: body, mind, spirit, diet, and environment. Sleep plays a role in each one of these components of your health!
Both good sleep and lack of sleep affect just about everything in your body and mind. Quality sleep is crucial for healing, brain function, a well functioning immune system, and growth. People who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for so many health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer; not to mention effects like slower metabolism, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and inflammation. Lack of sleep can impact moods, memory and decision-making skills.
And then, there’s the impact that drowsiness has on our safety. In the U.S., drowsy driving triggers at least 100,000 crashes a year, injuring 40,000 people and causing over 1,500 deaths.
Why do we need sleep?
Knowing this it’s easy to see the three main purposes of sleep:
- We restore our body and mind. Sleep is when the body does the bulk of its repair and detoxification. This is especially vital in the brain where the build-up of substances are washed out during sleep.
- Sleep is correlated to changes in the structure and organization of the brain. The way your brain is able to learn and remember things is known as “synaptic plasticity.” This is also why it is as bad to drive tired as it is to drive drunk.
- During our sleep cycles, our body conserves energy. Although your heart, lungs, and other organs are all still active, they don’t have to work as hard.
Do you know how much sleep adults need? It’s less than your growing kids need but you may be surprised that it’s recommended that all adults get 7 – 9 hours a night. For real!
Try not to skimp!
(Don’t worry, I have you covered with a bunch of actionable tips below.)
Tips for better sleep
Jumpstart into Refreshing Sleep and Rest
Start the free 5-day Jumpstart to Refreshing Sleep & Rest. This will give you simple tools to create refreshing and revitalizing sleep. After this holistic (mind, body, spirit, diet, environment) approach to sleep and rest, your morning coffee/tea can be a treat instead of the only way you can find energy for the day. Sign up for the emails right here.
Give yourself a bedtime alarm. A consistent sleep schedule is the biggest tip I can give you. Our bodies (and minds) love rhythm. You will achieve better sleep when you make it a priority. I have an alarm on my phone that tells me to turn off screens and work and start getting ready for bed. This means turning off your lights 8 hours before your alarm goes off. Seven. Days. A. Week. I know weekends can easily throw this off but by making sleep a priority for a few weeks your body and mind will adjust and thank you for it.
Establish a bedtime routine. I don’t just decide to go to sleep and do it; that’s not how you do it either. You probably already have some things you do automatically at night: brush your teeth, wash your face, change into PJs. Consider adding prayer, journaling, or a gratitude practice and see how it impacts your time falling asleep. A relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time (that is 8 – 10 hours before your alarm is set to go off) is a great way to get better sleep.
Eat Low Glycemic Meals and Snacks
Balance your blood sugar throughout the day by eating low-glycemic meals and snacks. You know, eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fiber). Choose the whole orange instead of the juice (or orange-flavored snack). Make sure you’re getting some protein every time you eat.
Sunshine and Movement
First thing in the morning, open the curtains or window shade and stand in the sunshine. During the day get some sunshine and exercise. These things tell your body it is daytime; time for being productive, active and alert. By doing this during the day it will help you wind down more easily in the evening.
Cut out Caffeine and Sugar (after Noon)
Cut off your caffeine and added sugar intake after 12 noon. Caffeine is most potent in your body for 5-6 hours and then still working for another 5-6 hours. Regarding the sugar part, whole foods like fruits and veggies are fine, it’s the “added” sugar we’re minimizing. Yes, this includes your beloved chai latte. Both caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a bit more active than you want it to be come evening. (HINT: I have a great caffeine-free chai latte recipe for you below!)
How many of these tips can you start implementing today?
Recipe: Caffeine-Free Chai Latte
(Caffeine-free latte for your afternoon “coffee break”)
1 bag of rooibos chai tea (rooibos is naturally caffeine-free)
2 cups of boiling water
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon almond butter (creamy is preferred)
2 dates (optional)
Cover the teabag and dates (if using) with 2 cups of boiling water and steep for a few minutes.
Discard the tea bag & place tea, soaked dates, tahini & almond butter into a blender.
Blend until creamy.
Serve and Enjoy!
Tip: You can try this with other nut or seed butters to see which flavor combination you like the best. Cashew butter anyone?