I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again: Sleep is super important! Getting a good quality AND quantity sleep at night is key, but you also need to take the steps with your eating & lifestyle to promote the best sleep possible.
Sleep is when our body is allowed to rest and do its internal work.
A lot of body repair and detox is done while you sleep.
When you get inadequate sleep, the body can’t repair itself or properly detox. You can probably imagine how this starts to build up and affect how you feel! It becomes hard to wake up in the mornings, you rely on caffeine to get you moving, and being over-tired increases sugar cravings as well.
To set yourself up for a great night’s sleep:
- Get to bed before 11 pm (preferably before 10). Getting to bed at a decent hour allows enough sleep before we have to wake up. I often hear people say that they are tired around 9 and then 10:30/11 hits and they are wide awake. Don’t wait that long!
- While everyone is different, aim for a good 7-8 hours of sleep. You might think you do ok with 5 hours, but most of the time people need more than that. Try getting more sleep for a couple of weeks and see how you feel overall, assess cravings, weight, energy levels, etc.
- Stop using electronic devices (phones, tablets, tv, etc.) at least 30 min before bedtime. An hour is preferable. Even with blue lights off (see #4), the stimulation of our minds from electronics can lead to bad sleep. Plus scrolling through social media does not always leave us feeling happy and relaxed. And that’s definitely what you do NOT want when heading to bed.
- Blue blocking glasses are helpful in the evening to reduce blue light when you are using devices. This light stimulates our brain and makes it harder to fall asleep. Many electronic devices have this as a built-in option to turn on. But if it doesn’t, get some blue blocking glasses to wear in the evening, especially leading up to bed.
- Avoid eating for a couple of hours before bedtime so that your digestion can rest overnight. Sleeping time is not the time to be digesting a bunch of food. Your digestion likes to take a rest so that other body functions can happen easily.
- Cut caffeine consumption after 1 pm. Even if you think that caffeine doesn’t affect you, I will assure it does in some way. Whether you see that in having a hard time falling asleep, waking and not getting back to sleep, or in a variety of other ways as it stimulates and stresses the body, it’s not a great option leading up to bed.
If you feel like you’re getting enough sleep, but you still feel exhausted every morning, you may want to look into a sleep tracker like a Fitbit to track your sleep cycle. This can be very eye-opening on how restless our sleep actually is (and how much we are really getting!). It’s a great way to get a reading on where you are at and how much you are tossing and turning.
If you’re getting lots of sleep, but you still are dragging all day, it may be time to assess your other stressors along with your adrenals and hormones. Check out this article and the free hormone mini-course at the end. I think it might be just what you’re looking for!