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8 Tips for Better Sleep

Want to feel more rested and energized in the morning? People report having more energy, less anxiety and better health when they are in bed by 10 pm.

Why is that?

Because according to the body’s natural circadian rhythm (cortisol and hormone rhythm), every one hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours of rest for the body!

Being asleep by 10 pm allows the body to enter its deepest states of sleep, restoration and recovery so you can feel energized in the morning, support your immunity and improve your overall health.

Here are eight tips for improving your sleep quality –

1 Expose yourself to natural light in the morning: enjoy your coffee outside or by a window; eat breakfast on the patio; take a morning walk or read outside; and garden or do yard work.

Your body is ruled by the sun and moon cycles. When the sun rises and temperature and light increases, it signals the body to release cortisol hormone giving you the energy to get up and get going.

Getting natural light in the morning helps to balance your circadian rhythm, which promotes healthy sleep patterns resulting in more energy, balanced hormones, a stronger immune system and better health.

2 Reduce exposure to artificial light at night to prepare your body for bed: limit the number of lights on in the house at night; dim the lights in use, if you can; and set the mood by using candles or a Himalayan salt lamp instead of traditional lamps.

When the sun sets and temperature and light decrease, it signals the body to lower cortisol and release the sleep hormone melatonin to help you wind down and fall asleep.

Before the light bulb, our great-grandparents would get as much as 10 hours of rest during an average weeknight. Today, we’re lucky to get eight hours on the weekend. The amount of actual weeknight sleep time has shrunk to an alarming 6.7 hours on average.

3 Reduce your blue light exposure for a better night’s sleep: set an alert to turn off your devices at 9 pm; turn on the “night shift” setting on your devices; and wear blue blocker glasses.

Blue lights produced by electronics stimulate the nervous system and interrupt your circadian rhythm resulting in a “wired but tired” feeling that can tempt you to stay up late and negatively impact your body’s ability to fully recover at night leaving you feeling drained, overwhelmed and forgetful.

4 Establish a “dream sleep routine”: take a hot shower or bath; read a book or meditate; enjoy aromatherapy; and journal about your day.

Any of those would help you wind down, relax and get ready for a good night’s sleep. So tonight put the kids to bed, turn the TV off or put down the device and relish in your dream sleep routine so you can wake up refreshed and like your best self.

5 Set yourself up for sleep success: turn down the temperature to 60-67 degrees for optimal sleep; double cover your bedroom windows to reduce outside light exposure; cover alarm clock, cable boxes or other lights in the bedroom.

Taking these actions will reduce disturbances to your sleep so you can wake up feeling more rested and ready to take on the world.

6 Keep your blood sugar balanced through the night: avoid sugar and alcohol before bed; reduce your carbohydrate intake at night; eat a snack or dinner higher in protein and fat; be asleep by 10 pm consistently to regulate your circadian rhythm.

Waking up in the middle of the night, even to urinate, might be common, but that doesn’t mean it’s normal. Waking up between 2-3 am can often correlate with a drop in blood sugar from eating too many carbs before bed or not enough protein and fat.

When blood sugar drops, your body releases cortisol to bring it back up which is like getting a shot of adrenaline giving you a rush of energy. Getting a solid night’s sleep is essential for balancing hormones, mood, energy and overall health.

7 Be in bed by 10 pm every night. This is critical for good sleep, more energy, reduced anxiety and more!

Critical sleep time occurs from 10 pm – 4 am. This is when your body does important repair. During this time, human growth hormone is released to restore critical systems, balance hormones and reset the nervous system. Any other essential functions follow throughout the night. it’s like taking your car for a tune-up every day.

Here’s the tricky part…your body ONLY performs this critical repair from 10 pm-4 am based on its internal clock that is ruled by the sun cycles. So if you aren’t sleeping during this time, your body misses out on the opportunity to heal. You can’t make up for this lost time no matter how much you sleep in.

8 Don’t exercise in the evening. Based on the circadian rhythm I mentioned above, exercising in the evening time can: spike your cortisol levels; make you a night owl; disrupt the rest of your hormone balance.

When the sun sets, decreasing temperature and light, it signals the body to lower cortisol and to release the sleep hormone melatonin, making it the least ideal time to exercise.

Those disruptions can contribute to anxiety, weight gain, low energy and eventually more serious health issues. To feel your best, aim to exercise in the morning and be asleep by 10 pm most nights of the week.

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