10 Steps To Amazing Sleep - Naturally!
When was the last time that you had an amazing sleep? That kind of sleep where you fall asleep easily, sleep like a baby, and wake up feeling full of energy?
If it's been a while, you're not alone. Many people suffer the effects of poor sleep - whether it's not enough sleep or poor quality rest.
But getting a good night of sleep is critical to your wellbeing. Every system in your body relies on your ability to rest. Without a good sleep, your brain can't reboot and your body won't have enough time to repair and heal what it needs to.
The best way to improve your sleep is to identify what is holding you back from rest in the first place. But there are 10 steps you can take to stack the odds in your favour and feel more rested starting today.
10 Steps To Amazing Sleep
Dose up on sunshine and daylight
Think that a good night of sleep is only about what you do right before bed? Think again! A good night of sleep starts in the morning.
Our bodies rely on the transitions between light and dark to keep our sleep/wake rhythms on track. But if you're stuck inside all day, your body might be missing out on the cues it needs to tell the time of day!
Aim to get 10-20 minutes of daylight each day. If possible, get your dose early in the morning. Open up the curtains and use the sunrise as your morning light. For bonus points, get yourself out into the fresh air and sunshine.
Ditch caffeine after 12pm
Reaching for the coffee pot or energy drinks at 3pm when you feel exhausted? You're sabotaging a good night of rest.
Caffeine has an average half-life of 5-6 hours. That means that if you have a coffee with two shots at 3pm, there is still a full shot's worth of caffeine in your system at 9pm. It's a common reason why you might not feel sleepy when you're trying to wind down for the night.
Keep your caffeine consumption to the morning. After lunch, switch to a caffeine-free option such as dandelion chai or rooibos tea.
Don't rely on your nightly glass of wine
It's common for people to use a glass or two of wine or a few beers to wind down in the evening.
Alcohol does help you to feel sleepy and fall asleep initially. But it's also disruptive to your sleep quality. This is due to a rebound effect where you wake up a few hours after falling asleep.
The last thing you want to do for a good night of sleep is to give your body toxins to process! As a minimum, have 2-3 nights a week with no alcohol. If you're struggling to get a good night of sleep, it's worth skipping alcohol for 1-2 weeks to see if it improves your sleep.
Transition from day to night
When you get home from a busy day, your mind is often racing at a million miles an hour. You end up worrying about what you didn't get done or what needs doing tomorrow.
A simple way to turn down your nervous system is with a routine that signals your transition from day to night. This will allow you to unwind and calm down, which equals a good night of sleep.
An unwind routine can include any calming activity that you enjoy. For example, you might:
Make yourself a cup of calming herbal tea
Take a shower or have a bath
Read a chapter or two of a book
Go for a walk around the block
Light a candle or two
Pop some calming essential oils in a diffuser
Spend some time journalling
Practice meditation or deep breathing
Keep your evening meal small
Digesting a massive bowl of pasta or a thick steak right before bed is a lot of work for your body! If you have digestive concerns such as reflux, a big evening meal spells disaster for your sleep quality.
Give your body time to digest whenever possible - about 2 hours is a good rule of thumb. But it's also a good idea to eat a smaller portion, especially if you have to eat later due to work or hobbies. There's a reason they suggest eating breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper!
Opt for some gentle movement
Our bodies thrive off regular movement. But doing intense cardio or Crossfit right before bed could interfere with your sleep onset. This is because intense exercise fills your body with cortisol, a stress hormone that turns your nervous system 'up'.
Keep the intense workouts for the morning or afternoon. In the evening, stick to more gentle and calming movements such as:
A walk around the block
This will help to tire your body out, but also calm your nervous system for a good rest.
Set your bedroom up for a good sleep
Your sleep environment can make or break a good night of rest. Central heating, lighting and screens are convenient, but they also disrupt sleep.
For a good sleep, you want your bedroom to be cool and dark. Turn off or cover sources of light, including powerpoints and chargers. If your bedroom is exposed to outside lights such as streetlights, invest in some thick curtains to block out light.
The optimal sleep temperature is 16-19 degrees Celcius. If you tend to feel cold, add an extra blanket or cuddle with a heat pack.
Put your phone away!
Do you spend your evening scrolling through social media or binging on Netflix? Using screens right before bed can lead to poor quality sleep.
Screens give off a blue light that tells your brain that it's the middle of the day. This can inhibit the production of our main sleep chemical, melatonin.
Spend at least 30-60 minutes before bed screen-free. If you can't give it up or need to use a screen for work, install a blue light blocker app such as f.lux to minimise the impact.
Keep your times regular
Do you go to bed at a different time every night? Or maybe you stay up late and sleep in over the weekends? This can throw your body's natural sleep-wake cycle out.
Whenever possible best to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time every day. Sometimes later nights are unavoidable, but aim to be in bed at a similar time for at least 90% of your nights.
Investigate any underlying conditions
There are countless health concerns and even medications that can influence your sleep. Digestive issues, thyroid conditions, mental health concerns and hormones can all play a role in your sleep quality.
If you've had any health concerns pop up recently or have started new medications, it's worth investigating to see if they are playing a role in your sleep problems.
Does your sleep need a helping hand?
Want to reset your body and create new healthy patterns?
The Nurture Rest Come Clean Cleanse is for you.
This 21 day cleanse focuses on the key wellness pillars of:
Gut and liver support
After the cleanse, you'll be back on track and have healthy habits that will support you for life!