4 Simple Steps to Better Sleep
“Not being able to sleep is terrible. You have the misery of having partied all night... without the satisfaction.”
— Lynn Johnston
I recently wrote about the importance of sleep, and how sleep needs to be made a priority in our lives for us to be healthy and happy.
But if you’re like me, you prioritize your sleep — you just don’t sleep well. Maybe you have a hard time falling asleep. Or you wake up in the night and it takes a long time to fall back asleep. You wake up most mornings feeling tired, grumpy and frustrated.
My insomnia started when I was pregnant. But even once my son was sleeping through the night at six months, I still wasn’t sleeping. I would go to bed early because I was so exhausted but I couldn’t fall asleep. And I would wake up at 4 a.m. and not be able to go back to sleep until it was time to get up.
By that time I had become a sleep consultant for babies and children. And yet, I wasn’t sleeping. Trust me, I was well aware of the irony.
The good news is that we’re biologically meant to sleep well. Unless you have a true sleep disorder (which most people don’t), you can get the sleep you need.
I hired a sleep consultant to help me with my sleep. After working with her for a month and making a few key changes, I started sleeping much better. Now I sleep great almost every night.
There are many factors that affect our sleep: diet, exercise, alcohol, caffeine, mindset, stress, circadian rhythm, blue light ... the list goes on and on. But I have a few simple changes you can make today that may help you start sleeping better tonight.
1. No blue light before bed
The most common and abundant source of “blue light” is the sun. Because our bodies have evolved to sleep at night and remain alert during the day, blue light inhibits melatonin production and signals our system to stay awake.
Unfortunately, light bulbs and screens emit blue light, too. So dimming the lights and, more importantly, turning off your devices an hour before bedtime is the key to avoiding blue light before bed so you can fall asleep easily.
2. Use your bed only for sleep (and sex)
You want your brain to associate your bed with sleep. So if you check your email, watch TV, eat or read in bed, your brain can become confused and think that being in bed means you’re supposed to be awake. For a good night’s sleep, it’s best to use your bedroom for sleeping and sex — nothing else!
3. Move every day
I know I don’t need to preach exercise to Jackson folk. But if you aren’t sleeping great, then you may not have the energy or motivation to be active.
However, physical exercise is vital to getting a good night’s sleep. As little as 10 minutes of aerobic physical activity during the day has been proven to improve the duration and quality of sleep. And it doesn’t have to be strenuous. I found that a 30-minute walk made all the difference in my sleep and wellbeing.
4. Get yourself some sunshine
I know I told you previously to limit your exposure to blue light in the evenings. But exposure to the intense blue light from the sun, especially early in the morning, helps to reset your circadian rhythm. Since we don’t have a lot of sunlight in the winter here in the mountains, you can invest in an inexpensive light therapy lamp with 10,000 lux to give your body the light it needs.
For many people these four simple tips are all they need to start sleeping soundly through the night and enjoying the amazing benefits of a good night’s sleep.
If you aren't sleeping well, schedule a Sleep Breakthrough call with me to find out the 3 things that are keeping you from sleeping and the #1 thing you can do to fix it!