10 tips for better sleep
The importance of good sleep is often not recognized by people as an essential element of good health, yet sleep deprivation can have serious negative consequences not only on our health, but relationships, job performance and reaching goals. If your job requires you to drive, handle hazardous materials, or you work in the medical field, lack of sleep can be even more detrimental. Adequate sleep enables you to react more quickly, to be less distracted or confused, and helps your overall well being.
Here are 10 tips for better sleep:
1. Eat small dinners, with vegetables and lean proteins instead of rich, fatty foods that take a long time to digest.
2. Go to bed and wake up at the same time (and consider sticking within 1 hour of those times on days off).
3. Turn off technology 1 hour before bed (2 hours is even better).
4. Create a night time routine to wind down, such as reading a book, taking a warm bath or shower, massaging your body with a light oil (I love Vita Coco raw coconut oil that soaks into your skin fast and smells great too!). If you have children, think of the bedtime routine you use with them to get them to sleep. It works, right? Well, maybe not all the time (hahaha!), but it’s a good idea!
5. Practice deep breathing with your eyes closed. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. You can even say “ahhhhh” out loud on the exhale to help let go of any stress.
6. Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption. Caffeine has a half-life of around 6 hours in adults so if you have a cup of coffee at 8:00 a.m., you’ll still have 25% of the caffeine in your body at 8:00 p.m.
7. Exercise daily. Set small daily goals, for example, like walking 15-20 minutes and work up to longer walks.
8. Write your to do list a couple hours before going to bed.
9. If you have anxiety about something, write down the name of one person you can talk to about the situation and schedule a time to contact them in your calendar. Then try to forget about it for the night.
10. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about a sleep disorder.
Written by Kim Baur. She is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Coach at www.steppingstone-wellness.com.
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