Looking for a better night's sleep?

July 3, 2017

Looking for a better night's sleep?

 

Here are 6 simple steps to help you achieve a good night's sleep.

 

A good night's sleep is one of the best things we can do for our health. Poor sleep is associated with many chronic disease including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cognitive function.

 

Therefore the importance of getting enough quality sleep should not be underestimated. This is the time that we rest, recover and rejuvenate.

 

For many of us, and I see this often in clinic, a good night's sleep is not a regular occurrence. Unfortunately many modern day aspects are working against us when it comes to our sleep. Artificial light, electronics, stressful jobs and caffeine are a few things that can impact our quality of sleep.

 

Here are a few things to consider doing for a better night's sleep:

 

Exercise

We all know that exercise has countless health benefits, one of them is its ability to help us sleep by actually fatiguing the body. It is important that exercise is done during the day and not at night when you are trying to relax. Strenuous exercise results in the release of adrenaline which wakes and stimulates you for a couple hours afterwards - exactly what you don't want in the evenings.

 

Avoid Caffeine After Noon

Caffeine is a stimulant that can effect sleep, with a half life of about 5 hours. Your 3pm coffee will still be affecting you after 10pm, when you should be heading for sleep. You may not actually be feeling the effects of that caffeine, but research shows that it will be disrupting your sleep cycle.

 

Eat Dinner Early

This one is not always easy to achieve but it is beneficial if you can eat your final meal early enough to give your body time to digest and empty your stomach. Digestion slows at night and can contribute to restless sleep.

 

Install a Blue Light filter for your Computer and Phone.

This is actually really important as the light displayed on the computer and phone screens significantly impacts on the hormone melatonin, our sleep hormone. So if you are like so many of us, consider installing a blue light filter. These filters are easily downloadable to your mobile devices and act by automatically cutting out the blue light.

 

Black out your Bedroom

This may be difficult to achieve, but if you can try to sleep in complete darkness, it is critical to a good night's sleep. The production of melatonin which is the hormone that helps us sleep is produced in the dark. Any artificial light present while trying to sleep can interrupt our circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin production, negatively impacting our sleep.

 

If any light is making its way into your bedroom, try and eliminate it as best as possible. This may involve turning off our unplugging all electronic devices. installing thicker curtains or actually using eye covers to help achieve darkness.

 

Go to sleep earlier

Studies have shown that sleeping 2 hours before midnight, is extremely beneficial when it comes to a good night's sleep. I recommend you try to get to sleep before 10pm. If you are feeling groggy upon waking, don't try to sleep more, rather, try to get to sleep earlier and wake up earlier.

 

Sleep pays such an important role in our energy levels and can dictate how we feel. During the day, try to consider these 6 tips. Some might now work for everyone and changing your daily habits may take time but keep working at it and hopefully you'll be getting that regular good night's sleep.

 

Reference: Food matters.com

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