4 Simple Ways To Improve Your Sleep Tonight
A healthy sleep routine is so important for our health, but is also something that is frequently overlooked or sacrificed to create time for other things.
It may seem like wasted time to sleep longer hours, but while we're sleeping our bodies are doing SO much.. From creating new pathways in the brain that are literally keeping our memories alive, repairing various body tissues, maintaining a healthy balance of growth hormone and the hormones that control our hunger cues, affecting our blood sugar control, and SO MUCH MORE.
Chronic sleep deficiency is also linked to some serious health concerns such as an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and has even been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behaviours.
The average recommended length of sleep, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, for adults over the age of 18 is about 7-8 hours but its not only how long you sleep that matters. The quality of your sleep and your sleep hygiene are so important. Luckily there are some simple habits you can adopt to improve your sleep routine starting tonight!!
Keep a Regular Sleep Schedule
By going to sleep and waking up at the same or similar time every day we can support our circadian rhythm, which is the bodys' internal process regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Our bodies love routine and by keeping a regular sleep schedule it also allows our hormones, including sleep hormones, to stay on schedule.
Part of our circadian rhythm includes a natural cooling of our body caused by increased melatonin levels. This cooling promotes drowsiness and helps us fall asleep and we can actually trick our bodies by cooling ourselves down other ways and mimicking the effects of melatonin.
My favourite way to cool my body down before bed every night is taking a hot shower and ending it with a few minutes of cold water!
Keeping our sleep environments cool can also help with the same effects. Maintaining a temperature of about 19 degrees Celsius in the bedroom and setting up a fan or opening a window in the warmer months can be effective for this.
Avoid Blue Light Exposure
Blue light is a wavelength of light that is present in the sun and has historically been something that helps control our circadian rhythm in times of sleeping and waking with the sun set an rise. These days, this type of light is also present in so many other aspects of our life such as smartphones, televisions, computer screens, and even things like alarm clock LED lighting.
Blue light exposure during daytime hours actually helps maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. However, when we are exposed to it at unnatural times, such as during late night Netflix binging or IG scrolling, we can negatively impact our circadian rhythms and therefore negatively effect our ability to fall asleep and get a quality sleep.
An ideal situation would be to avoid any blue light exposure once the sun has set or for at least an hour before our intended bedtimes. If thats not possible, there are also settings on iPhones and apps on other phones or computers where you can switch lighting settings to a night shit option that emits less blue light with a warmer screen.
Add In Some Natural Sleep Supplements
Adding in some natural sleep supplements can be a great way to help us fall asleep and stay asleep! These can be purchased without a doctors prescription, however I always recommend talking to your doctor before adding any supplements or medications into your routine, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions or are currently on any medications.
My personal favourite sleep supplements are melatonin, magnesium, and CBD.
Melatonin is a natural hormone that regulates the sleep–wake cycle and can be used as a supplement for short-term treatment of trouble sleeping due to disruptions such as jet lag or shift work. I personally use a melatonin spray from Isagenix that also incorporates some natural herbs used for healthful sleep.
Magnesium is a mineral that can help our bodies relax and is often used in cases of restless leg syndrome. This supplemen can also improve other aspects of our health such as bone and cardiovascular health.
Finally, CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical compound that comes from the cannabis plant and can help create a feeling of relaxation and calm. I like to use CBD edible candies or a sublingual oil before bed which I get from birch and fog, a Canadian brand offering THC and CBD products to help with sleep and various other concerns. I definitely recommend checking them out if you're interested in testing our CBD for sleep and even have a code you can use for a discount on your first order! Just use the code RHIAMARTINE20 at checkout for $20 off your purchase.
By incorporating these simple habits into your nightly routine, you will be able to get a more restful sleep with less night time awakenings. This improvement in your sleep hygiene and sleep quality can lead to some amazing health benefits!