Natural Ways to Improve Your Sleep

Natural Ways to Improve Your Sleep

The impact of sleep deprivation can affect you instantly, or over time and can raise your risk for chronic health problems. 

 

Getting enough sleep is vital for maintaining your health and well-being. Contrary to belief, sleep is just as important as exercise and nutrition. Developing a natural sleep routine for you or your family is important for short- and long-term health. 

 

Read our 15 tips to sleep better naturally, and start feeling better today!

1. MAKE SLEEP A PRIORITY

If you currently have sleep issues, or you are wanting to optimize your sleep, making it a priority is the first place to start.

Make it a priority to make time to sleep. This means putting up work early, or finishing your Netflix show up tomorrow. The amount of sleep we need varies from person to person, but research states the average is seven to nine hours per night.

2. AVOID TECHNOLOGY BEFORE BEDTIME

Avoid or minimize being on your computer, phone, tablet or watching TV, one to two hours before bedtime.

3. TURN DOWN THE LIGHTS

Artificial lights disrupt our bodies natural sleep-wake cycles. When it starts to get dark outside, our brains are triggered to make melatonin, a sleep hormone. Exposure to artificial light (ceiling lights, kitchen lights, light from electronics), decreases melatonin production, making it hard for our body to know when it is time to sleep.

  • Close the curtains, blinds, or shades to omit any light.
  • Dim, cover, or remove anything that emits light in your bedroom before bed, like alarm clocks.

4. MAKE SURE TO GET SUNLIGHT DURING THE DAY

Getting sunlight during the day, specifically in the morning, is so important in keeping your sleep regulated.

Take a short walk with your dog, partner, or with a podcast/music in your ears. 

5. MOVE!

Physical exercise is one of the most important factors for proper sleep. Pay attention to how sedentary you are throughout the day. How many hours of the day do you sit?

Walk, walk, walk! If you have access, walk in the mornings, in the middle of the day (maybe on your lunch break), and in the evenings before or after dinner.

Lifting weights, going for a run, or working out at the gym is also a great option!

If you have a desk job and are very sedentary, opt for a standing desk, or treadmill desk.

If you feel like you don’t have time to exercise during the day, start with simple practices. Park far away in the parking lot at the grocery store, take the stairs at work or chase your kids around at the playground.

6. ESTABLISH YOUR SLEEP NUTRITION

Some people do well with eating a small dinner and avoiding any snacks before bed (those with digestive issues), whereas other people need a bedtime snack (those with low blood sugar).

Don’t go to bed too full, or too hungry. Find your sweet spot on whether you should avoid food before bed, or have a snack before bed. 

It’s also important to cut down on water 2-3 hours before bed, so that you aren’t up going to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

7. LIMIT CAFFEINE & ALCOHOL

Caffeine and alcohol can really affect your sleep in a negative way, and are best left out if you do have sleep problems.

If you are a coffee drinker, it is best to quit drinking before 12pm. Drink water the rest of the day, and stay hydrated.

When drinking alcohol, the closer you drink to bedtime, the more impact it will have on your sleep. Stop drinking and switch to hydrating when you feel like you will be getting  within a few hours of bedtime.

8. BETTER STRESS MANAGEMENT

Going to bed with anxiety and stress? Have an argument with your spouse right before bed? It is very important to manage your stress before bed. Otherwise, you might find yourself lying awake, staring at the ceiling, instead of sleeping.

  • Read a paperback book. Reading an interesting book can help you keep your mind off things you may be stressing over.
  • Implement deep breathing, yoga, or meditation before bed.
  • Diffuse or roll on some essential oils such as lavender or chamomile

9. SET THE RIGHT TEMPERATURE

Set a cool temperature on the thermostat 2-3 hours before your bedtime. Most people sleep best in a temperature ranging from 65 to 70 degrees.

10. GET COMFORTABLE BEDDING

You aren’t going to sleep well if you have an uncomfortable bed. Invest in some new comfortable bedding if you find yours difficult to get comfortable or fall asleep in.

11. CREATE A RELAXING BEDROOM ENVIRONMENT

Creating stress and distraction-free bedroom is extremely important for a good night’s sleep. Create a room that makes you feel happy and relaxed.

12. WAKE UP & GO TO SLEEP AT CONSISTENT TIMES

Waking up at the same time every day can not only regulate your sleep cycle but also sustain healthy habits.

If you wake up at the same time every day, your body will prompt you to also go to sleep at the same time every night.

Avoid sleeping in even on the weekends, if you want to keep your sleep cycle on track.

13. CUT OUT THE NOISE

Avoid disruptive noises like house creaks, or highway traffic with a sound machine. You can also use a loud bedroom fan, or a relaxing sleep sound app.

14. PRIORITIZE SAFETY

If you don’t feel safe in your house, then you probably won’t be sleeping optimally.

Remembering to lock your house up at night so that you feel safe and secure. For extra safety measures, get a security system. This really helps feeling safe while sleeping.

15. REMOVE TECHNOLOGY FROM THE BEDROOM

Most people are sleeping with their phones either in their beds or right on the nightstand beside them. This interferes with sleep.

Keep your phone out of the bedroom at night, and find a place to charge it outside of the bedroom. If you are going to keep it on your nightstand, or in the bedroom, put the phone on do not disturb mode.

Healthy Is Happy

Healthy Is Happy

New Year’s is the time of year most people look to set resolutions which most often have to do with getting healthier. For all the insanity that was 2020, it reminded us of the importance of being healthy. So if you are looking to live a healthier and happier life in 2021, we’ve put together a few tips to help you achieve that goal.

Our first tip is simple. Make small changes in your daily life that are sustainable over a period of time. Getting healthy doesn’t happen overnight – it takes time and a few small steps go a long way. A lot of people try to tackle too much with a resolution and end up being overwhelmed and giving up. So try to make one or two small changes to your lifestyle that you can keep up with over time.

A lot of resolutions involve eating healthy and exercising. The best way to achieve these are to set 1 small resolution in both of these categories. Try to eat a little bit healthier and be a little more active. Once you accomplish doing some little things, you can tack on bigger things… the goal is just keep moving forward each day in your health journey. While it sounds like a cliché’, its 100% true, being healthy is a journey, not a destination.

Eating Healthy

There are several options for eating healthier: elimination, reduction, addition, substitution

 

Elimination involves simply eliminating one or more unhealthy things from your diet. For example, if you drink sodas, try slowly eliminating those from your diet. It’s hard to quit all at once so try drinking 1 less per day and substituting water in its place.

 

Reduction involves reducing the amount of something in your diet. If you LOVE ice cream and eat it every day, try eating every other day. Another great way to reduce things in your diet is to reduce the amount that you are eating. If you LOVE French fries, try eating a small order of fries instead of a large one. Remember that small changes go a long way.

 

Addition involves simply adding one or more healthy things to your diet. Any easy option is to add water to your diet. Simply drink one or two 8-ounce cups of water a day. Another is to add 1 serving of a fruit or vegetable per day. For example, try eating a banana or apple for a mid-day snack or as part of a meal.

 

Substitution involves switching out one unhealthy food item with a healthier choice. A few examples are substituting pretzel chips for potato chips for lunch or substituting carrots dipped in hummus or peanut butter instead of crackers. Another great substitution is to try packing your lunch two days a week at work instead of eating out. This will not only save you calories but also money. When you plan your meals ahead of time, you often make healthier choices.

Exercise

When it comes to exercise, it’s not important what you do, it’s just important that you do something. Find something that you enjoy – walking, jogging, playing tennis, yoga, etc. and try to make a habit of doing it several times a week. Doing a variety of things is best so you don’t get bored and you vary the types of exercise you are doing. So try to pick a few things you enjoy and schedule them into your day. Set a goal for the number of days you want to be active per week – set a goal that is manageable for you and then select the time of day that works best for your life and make yourself an easy to follow schedule. After a few short weeks, this will become routine and thus become a part of your health journey.

 

Set Yourself Up To Win

Here are a few good tips for ensuring a successful resolution

 

Find A Friend: Find a friend to partner with in your health resolutions. A friend will hold you accountable which will greatly increase the likelihood of you sticking to your resolutions.

 

Write Your Goal(s) Down: Putting your goals down on paper helps you commit to them. Another great tip is to stick them somewhere that you will see every day – like a stickie note on your bathroom mirror or your computer screen. This is just a daily reminder of the goal you are working towards. Somedays will be easier than others to make healthy choices and on the harder days, a simple reminder can be very good motivation. 

 

Allow Some Wiggle Room: The typical all or nothing approach rarely works and is often a recipe for failure so allow some wiggle room in your resolution setting. If you miss a day of exercise or don’t stick your healthy eating goals every day, its ok, just do better tomorrow. Forming new habits is often hard so give it your best effort and when you fall short, go easy on yourself and simply do better tomorrow.

 

Hit The Reset Button: You can resolve to be healthy at any time, it doesn’t have to only be at the beginning of the year or the beginning of a new month or the beginning of the week. You can hit the reset button at any time. Don’t give up, simply reset. Remember this is a journey, not a destination. It’s not all or nothing, it’s a daily commitment to doing better and feeling better.

 

Find Your Why: Solidify in your mind, the reason you are making these resolutions. We all deserve to be better for ourselves. Remembering the reason you started on your health journey will help you stay on the journey and keep moving forward.

Lastly remember one of the biggest ingredients to being happy is being healthy in both body and in mind. So take the time each day to do something good for yourself, whether that is sitting silently and taking a few deep breaths to regain some focus and energy or whether that is going for a short walk outside to soak up some sunshine. Take time this new year for you and your health and it will not only benefit you, but those around you, because being healthier makes you happier and that is infectious to everyone in your life.

Challenge Yourself

If you are looking for a way to get healthy in the new year, we’ve created a Healthy is Happy Challenge. We have a 30, 60, or 90 day challenge that aims to challenge you to do some physical activity for 30 minutes each day for 30, 60, or 90 days. 

Learn More >>