hard at work making repairs and upgrades from what we have encountered the day prior. I’ve heard many anecdotal reports and have also read good evidence to support that adequate sleep is absolutely crucial to immune health. I’ve heard countless people say that even if they have nutrition and exercise dialed in, when they experience a few nights of poor sleep that is when they get sick.
So how do we ensure we’re not only getting enough sleep, but also getting quality sleep?
Here are a few things that I’ve found helpful:
Create a bedtime routine. This helps to not only prompt your mind and body that bedtime is coming soon, but it also ensures that you get to bed when you plan. Many people aim to go to bed at 10pm, but what ends up happening is that 10pm is when they turn off the tv; they then still have to let the dog out for one last pee, brush their teeth, get changed, set the alarm etc. By the time they’re actually in bed and turning out the lights it ends up being much later than they planned.
A bedtime routine may just include all the things I’ve listed above, but instead you’re starting them half an hour prior to your planned bedtime. Your routine could also include a hot bath, diffusing essential oils, reading a good book, journaling, light stretches or yoga.
For optimal sleep, I recommend a few additional elements.
Wear blue-light blocking glasses from the time the sun sets until you climb into bed. Blue light is just one part of the full spectrum of light (the others include red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo & violet). Blue light is emitted naturally from the sun, but also artificially from electronic devices, including the lights in our home. This blue light suppresses melatonin production, which tells your brain that it needs to stay alert and awake.
This brings me to our next point.
Avoid screens at least an hour (preferably more) before bedtime. This includes laptops, phones, tablets etc. These screens emit artificial blue light. This over-exposure to blue light affects our circadian rhythm and can make it harder to not only fall asleep, but also affects the quality of our sleep throughout the rest of the night.
If you’d like more information on blue light, please check out https://raoptics.com/pages/blue-light-its-impact-on-our-health
Avoid food and intense exercise for 2+ hours before bed. Both eating and exercise can release hormones and other signals which boost alertness, this preventing the body from winding down and properly preparing for sleep.
Cultivate a meditation practice. Meditation not only boosts productivity during the day but has also been scientifically proven to support better quality sleep. Many people even find that once they have successfully incorporated a daily meditation practice, they actually require less sleep because the sleep they do get is much more restorative.
If you’re doing all these things and still have a difficult time falling or staying asleep, speak to your health care professional as you may have an underlying health issue that should be addressed.
Sweet dreams everyone!
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