7 Reasons Why You Should Invest In Improve Sleep Quality
Have you been a member of team “no sleep” for far too long? Have you begged to be traded? Threatened to go on a player strike? Are you ready to throw in the towel in hopes of finally getting to hit the sack?
If the only thing you want to be catching is some Z’s, it is time to take a peek at these seven natural ways to improve your sleep quality.
1-Dial In Your Diet:
I know, I know…If the fridge wasn’t made for late night snacking, then why on earth is there a light in there? Though late night dinners, midnight cravings, chocolate binges, and that extra energy drink to get you through the end of a long workday may seem harmless enough; these bad eating habits can wreak havoc on the quality of your sleep.
Did you know that when consumed up to six hours before bed, caffeine can significantly worsen your sleep quality? If you are a mama running on diet coke and chocolate, try to make it coke zero and keep the chocolate consumption to a minimum before bed.
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Did you also know that those late night snacks that seem to relentlessly call your name from the kitchen could be the same reason you feel like you need that diet coke to function? Late night eating not only impacts the release of HGH (human growth hormone) but also of melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. For a more restful nights’ sleep, try to consume your last meal four hours before bedtime.
2-Lay On The Lavender:
You love it in your candles, bath bombs, lotions, and soaps but did you know lavender can also be used as an effective natural remedy for your insomnia and other sleep disorders?
One controlled trial published in The Journal of Science and Healing showed that lavender not only improved the nighttime sleep quality of college students with self-reported sleep issues but also increased their daytime energy.
Another controlled trial published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine looked to compare the effectiveness of lavender paired with sleep hygiene vs. sleep hygiene alone. Sleep hygiene refers to a multitude of good sleep habits ranging from avoiding caffeine before bed to dimming or turning off the lights.
After two weeks, the group that was exposed to the lavender not only proved to have better sleep quality but also reported waking up feeling refreshed.
3. Give blue light the boot:
Big news! It is not just the news on your social feed keeping you up at night, it is actually the blue light being emitted by your smartphones and computer screens. Though exposure to bright lights during the day is beneficial to your sleep routine, exposure to light (especially blue light) at night actually has the opposite effect.
Opening that cell phone or laptop at night has a huge effect on your circadian rhythm. This light exposure plays a mean trick on your brain and makes it think it is still daytime. When your brain thinks it is supposed to be awake, the release of melatonin is reduced making it harder to get those coveted Zzzz’s every night.
To reduce the effect of blue light on your journey off to dreamland try to shut off all electronics (including the T.V.) two hours before bedtime. If this is simply not an option you can invest in a pair of glasses or install an app on your phone or computer that actually blocks the blue light for you.
4. Move It Before You Snooze It:
Did you know exercise is actually one of the best ways backed by science to improve the quality of your sleep? In fact, according to one study done in older adults, exercise was shown to cut the time in half that it took these individuals to fall asleep. That, in turn, provided 41 minutes of extra sleep at night (I don’t know about you but 41 minutes of sleep in mom time feels like approximately 5 hours 1 minute and 30 seconds)!
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Another study actually proved exercise to offer more benefits than most sleeping medications. The exercise was shown to reduce the amount of time it took to fall asleep by 55 percent, nighttime wakefulness by 15 per cent and increased the total time asleep by a whopping 18 percent.
Now before you throw on your gym shoes and head to that late night aerobics class, a word of warning. Though regular exercise is vital to a good night’s sleep, exercising too late can also have the opposite effect. Exercise does cause the release of hormones like adrenaline which can cause the body to be stimulated and more alert. If you are going to head to the gym, make sure it is several hours before you plan to hit the sack.
5. Rev Up Your Routine:
A relaxing bubble bath, fuzzy warm P.J.’s, story time, and then off to bed…though I might have just described the bedtime rituals of your toddler, routines work great for adults too.
Our bodies run off of rhythms, specifically the circadian rhythm when it comes to sleep. Like a well-oiled machine, your circadian rhythm works best when you have regular sleep habits. This includes going to bed and waking up around the same time every day of the week (yes, this includes weekends all you party animals).
When life happens and things get in the way of this routine, like jet lag, daylight savings, a big game, or those late night infomercials you just can’t turn off; you can disrupt your circadian rhythm, which throws your body for a loop and makes it harder to focus, pay attention, and get your sleep cycle back on track.
6. Say No To Napping:
Though that long mid-afternoon nap can feel like a little slice of heaven, you may find yourself regretting it by bedtime. Long or irregular daytime naps have actually been shown to have a detrimental effect on nighttime sleep and day time wakefulness due to its’ effect on your internal clock.
One study showed that individuals who nap actually end up feeling more sleepy than those who choose to skip a daytime nap. Another study showed that though short power naps can have a positive effect on brain function, naps longer than 30 minutes can adversely affect health and sleep quality.
7. Keep It Temperate, Not Toasty:
Sorry ladies your hubby may be right about one thing, (we will keep that our little secret though) bedtime is not the time to crank up the heat. One study even found that the temperature in your bedroom can affect how well you sleep even more than noise! Before you go to bed make sure to set your thermostat to 70 degrees or cooler to create the optimal sleeping environment.
Follow these seven easy steps and you can officially announce your retirement from a team no sleep, your jersey might hang in the rafters for all of the long hours and sleepless nights you put in, but your days of poor sleep quality will be well behind you.