Optimal Sleep = Optimal Health

Sleep is precious around here these days.

Motherhood has made me realized we can add *quality bedtime routine* to the list of things we do for our kids and may not do for ourselves.

Bedtime routines are important because falling asleep is more like landing a plane than flipping a switch. Carving out a little time before bed each night for a relaxing routine can lead to deeper, more quality sleep.

According to research, adult need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. When addressing your bedtime routine it’s important to make sure you get enough hours but there are also things you can do to maximize the quality of those hours.

Over the next several nights, I challenge you to try to incorporate some of these tips for better sleep and see if you feel any more rested.

Disconnect from Devices

This includes phones, tablets, TVs, and computers. These devices emit blue rays similar to that from the sun and can interfere with the production of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin.

One Harvard study said to disconnect 2 hours before bed! This is hard for most, but recognize that even 30 minutes can make a big difference.

Challenge yourself – if you’re already someone who gets an adequate amount of sleep but you do not wake feeling rested, disconnect from your device 30-45 minutes prior to bed and see if you feel more rested after a few nights of this habit. You may be surprised!

Move your Body Daily

A tired body = better sleep. Moving your body daily can help you feel more tired when it’s time to tuck yourself in. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Peep our post on intuitive movement.

Avoid Naps

This one pains me to say, I love naps. Avoiding naps is especially important if you’re someone who has trouble falling asleep. If you do nap, keep it on the shorter side (<45 minutes) and limited to morning or early afternoon. The later and longer your nap is, the more trouble you’ll have falling asleep.

Stick to a Schedule

Weekends may make this one hard, but the body craves consistency – in all things – but especially with bed and wake up times. Audit your current habits & create a schedule by starting with the time you have to wake up and working backwards. Try to start your bedtime routine about 15-30 minutes before bed because as we know, falling asleep is like landing a plane.

Minimize Caffeine & Alcohol

Not only can caffeine make it harder to fall asleep, but it can impact the amount of deep sleep you get. Alcohol may make us feel like we ‘pass out’ or ‘sleep like a baby’, but it can interfere with your circadian rhythm and put a damper on your sleep quality.

Audit your Environment

As the evening winds down, begin dimming lights and creating a darker, more relaxing ambiance. Once you go to bed, be sure your room is dark or invest in a sleep mask like this one. An ideal sleep setting is a cool and dark room. Consider a sound machine like this one or run the fan.

Some of our bedtime essentials

Now that you are disconnecting from your devices (at least 30 minutes before bed) and stepping away from that glass of wine, what are you suppose to do with your time?

  • Pick up a good book, use it as an opportunity to journal or invest in an adult coloring book
  • Practice 10-15 minutes of light stretching or yoga
  • Try a guided meditation with an app like Calm, Headspace or Insight timer
  • Take a hot Epsom salt bath. Epsom salt is naturally high in magnesium which helps soothe aches and pains. Magnesium can also help with melatonin production. Bonus point if its lavender scented like this one
  • Pour yourself a cup of self care. Chamomile or sleepy time tea are my personal favorites. Whatever it is, just make sure it’s caffeine free! Magnesium containing drinks like this one are also a great bedtime ritual.

What is one tip you can commit to incorporating?

Need some help developing a personalized plan? Reach out to us! Sleep is just one of the many facets of health that we dive into in our one-on-one coaching.

Meg Carber, RD is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Please note, I will never link to an item I have not personally used and love! The revenue generated helps create new content each week.

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