5 Ways to Start Sleeping Better

Like most people, I love to sleep, but I haven’t always been a great sleeper. These days my head hits the pillow and I’m out, but those nights when I just couldn’t fall asleep no matter how tired I felt really stunk. I hate the feeling of being tired but wired, or being wide awake, tossing and turning, and unable to get my mind to rest. With our modern world’s media obsession, I absolutely believe we aren’t sleeping as well as we used to, and that technology is a huge factor. I’ve certainly always been that person dicking around on my phone or computer or watching tv or listening to music right before bed, but quality sleep is so important that I’ve changed my ways. Here are some tips to improve your beauty regimen and better your sleep:

1- Turn your cellphone off at night. Ok, do not panic cellphone-addicted readers… Want better sleep?  Then turn your phone off at night!

Our phones produce a light that triggers our brains to stay awake, thus disrupting the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle (source: Sleep Foundation). This causes tension in the body that releases the stress hormone cortisol, especially if you’re doing something like playing a video game or checking your email. Cortisol triggers the body into “fight of flight” mode, which can negatively impact sleep. I always encourage my clients to get in the habit of powering down their devices (computers, tablets and televisions included) at least one hour before bed to get their brains to shut down for sleep mode. I’ve done this experiment myself and found that I do, in fact, sleep better. And when you get better sleep, it makes it that much easier to make healthier choices throughout the day. For example, do you find that when you’re tired and lazy you go for easy food options, like pizza or pre-made sandwiches versus a healthy meal? We look for foods with sugar or caffeine to give us that temporary boost of energy, but temporary is the operative word here because this type of energy does not sustain.

2- Create a nighttime routine. There are so many ways to relax before bedtime, it’s just a matter of finding what works best for you. I definitely recommend cutting back on sugar and caffeine, especially later in the day. Some other ideas to relax include: stretching, giving yourself a little self-massage, drinking something warm and soothing, reading (not on a device!), or journaling. Journaling before bed is ideal and therapeutic because it gives you the opportunity to let out all the stresses and thoughts bouncing around your head that could potentially keep you awake at night. I spend that time reflecting on my day, writing down what I’m grateful for, and like I said, just writing whatever is on my mind. One other thing I’ve found that works wonders for me is using essential oils. Lavender oil in particular is intended for relaxing, so I will put a little dab of the oil on my pillow or in my oil diffuser to get me bed-ready. Lavender eye pillows are also very soothing.

3- Blackout. Don’t get too excited, I’m not talking about drinking yourself to sleep. Black out your room at night so that as little light as possible is showing. That includes any lights inside or outside your room, which may also include night-lights or those little blinking lights from your wireless modem or whatnot. The darker your room, the better.

4- Silence! Same idea as #1 and #3. Just like light, sounds are distracting and keep your brain active, so try not to fall asleep with a movie or music still on. If so inclined, you could invest in a white noise maker. If sound is something you can’t control, such as noises from the street or a noisy roommate, ear plugs might be helpful.

5- Get naked. Cooler temperatures trigger the “let’s sleep now” response in your body, so while you could go light on the comforter or heat, I prefer to sleep naked. This also gives your body a chance to breath and to get in a more relaxed state, since sleeping overheated can also negatively affect your cortisol levels. High cortisol affects other aspects of your health, like anxiety levels, weight gain, unhealthy food cravings, etc.images

 

 

Want to get even better beauty sleep and health? Visit my website and schedule a complimentary health coaching consultation with me so we can find out what works best for your lifestyle.

Three Health Myths Busted!

Myth #1: The Less You Salt Your Food The Better

209785620_2515_detail-300x225For years we’ve heard about Americans’ high salt intake and the American Heart Association‘s instructions to reduce salt consumption.  The truth is that salt is essential to our diet and offers many health benefits, but many Americans consume too much regular old table salt which is processed and stripped of its minerals, not quality sea salt which retains potassium, magnesium, calcium, and other minerals. These mineral properties found in sea salt lower the stress hormone, cortisol, which leads to a healthy weight and fast metabolism.  Too little salt in the diet, under 2300mg of salt a day, can actually lead to heart disease and early mortality. Salt contributes to improved sleep, because it balances our hormones, supports thyroid function, reduces stress hormones, and increases metabolic rate. If you’re experiencing low energy, try sucking a few sea salt crystals and see how you feel.

For more information on the health benefits of salt, click here.

Myth 2: You Can Eat Whatever You Want As Long As You Exercise

My dad was an athlete. He always used to tell me that as long as I exercised I could eat whatever I wanted. I was an active kid too, so I always ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and as much as I wanted.  Turns out, this is a myth!  Just because you exercise does not mean you should live off of table sugar and processed junk and eat as much of it as you want.  These foods are never good for us, they just aren’t natural.  There are many foods that are healthier and will better fuel the body for exercise anyway. Exercise also isn’t the most effective way to lose weight, researchers say. Exercise has many health benefits and is good for maintaining weight and curbing hunger, but proper nutrition is the quickest way to lose pounds.

Myth #3: Diet Drinks Aid in Weight Loss

diet-soda-weight-loss1-300x300Soda might as well be renamed “death in a can.” The high sugar content and unnatural ingredients have many known health risks, but what about the diet versions?  “Diet” sodas swap out sugar for artificial sweeteners that contain chemicals that cause cancer. These diet products also contribute to weight gain, since the artificial sweeteners cause cravings for calorie-dense foods.  Historically we aren’t used to getting our calories from our beverages, so our bodies aren’t satisfied after drinking sugary drinks and want more.  Stick to water as often as possible, or if you’re looking to ween yourself off soda, try switching to flavored seltzer.