Almost everyone struggles with getting a good night’s sleep at some time during their life, usually due to some kind of acute stress. However, for some people, getting good quality sleep is an issue almost every night; for those that experience this (or those that live with them) this is a very hard way to live.
Anybody that has missed out on a good night’s sleep knows that inadvertently bumping into the counter or hitting your shin against the coffee table hurts more (a lot more!) than it usually does and their pain tolerance decreases the more sleep deprived they become. And for good reason: research has shown that those that lose just four hours of sleep for one night (let along several nights) have a significantly higher production of pro-inflammatory chemicals in their bodies – this means more pain and inflammation. Not to mention the toll lack of sleep takes on a person’s emotional and psychological state.
7 Keys to Getting a Better Night’s Sleep
Therefore, getting a better night’s sleep is imperative for improving a person’s health and well-being. Here are 7 keys we have found to help our clients’ sleep better:
- Breathe deeply. Deep breathing is probably one of the most effective and most overlooked ways to reduce stress and get a better night’s sleep. Try taking a deep breath every time you get or receive a text, email or phone call throughout the day as well as take 10 deep breaths before bed to calm down and promote relaxation. Click here for other ideas/techniques.
- Balance your blood sugar throughout the day. Start your day with at least 15-20 grams of protein within 60 minutes of getting up and focus on eating balanced meals throughout the day (i.e., 4-5 meals that contain 10-15 grams of protein, plenty of vegetables and good quality fats).
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. This can be especially important to help restore a normal sleep/wake cycle. If you need a pick-me-up in the morning, try taking a cold shower (it may not be pleasant, but it’s effective!).
- Get some moderate exercise daily. Moderate exercise (where your heart rate is 70-75% of your MHR) for 30-45 minutes has been shown to promote better sleep; ideally you should exercise before 2 PM to allow your body time to calm down before bedtime.
- Do a detox. Your body removes toxins mainly during the night. If your sleep is usually disrupted between 1-3 AM, toxicity may be an issue. The key here is to remove toxins and sleep better.
- Tap into Mother Nature’s medicine chest to get a better night’s sleep. Passionflower, Chinese skullcap, lemon balm, valerian and hops extracts can all help relax the mind and body as well as move melatonin into the cells to help you sleep better; we use a product called Benesom which combines all of these along with magnesium and calcium to promote deep quality sleep.
- Eat a balanced snack before bed. By balanced, we mean something that contains protein, good quality fats and carbohydrates. Examples include ½ cup of oatmeal with one tablespoon of cashew or almond butter mixed in or ½ a turkey sandwich. This can help to stabilize your blood sugar levels throughout the night and allow you to sleep better.
There are several other clinically proven ways to get a better night’s sleep, but get started with giving these suggestions a try and see if you aren’t sleeping better after 3-7 days. If you need additional support, don’t hesitate to contact us.