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A Healthier You In The New Year: 10 Ways to Get Better Sleep

health healthier you rest sleep

I hope that you enjoyed my last post about drinking water… if you haven’t had a chance to read it I highly recommend going back and checking it out here.

Day 2 of A Healthier You in the New Year: 10 Ways to Get Better Sleep!

Sleep! We love it and we need it. Getting enough zzzzz’s is not just beneficial for your body, it’s VITAL.  

Sleep keeps your heart healthy by lowering the stress hormone cortisol, it will reduce symptoms of depression and moodiness, lower your cholesterol levels, help you maintain proper weight, sharpen your attention span, curb inflammation, and improve memory. Sounds good right, but how do we achieve this blissful, healing sleep?

For some of us, it’s not the amount of sleep but the quality of the sleep that’s leaving us doing way more yawning than we should during the day. Here are 10 tips to improve your sleep tonight.

10. Try Drinking Tea

Lauren's Natural Living Get Better Sleep

In general, you should aim to stop drinking caffeine in the early afternoon as the effects of caffeine will last in your body affecting your brain for 6-12 hrs! Try switching to herbal teas, especially a tea with Chamomile in it.  Chamomile has been used as a natural treatment for insomnia and anxiety since old times.

This Tea is a great blend as it has lavender and lemon also to aid in digestion and relieve stress.

Lauren's Natural Living Get Better Sleep

If you’re feeling more ambitious, try mixing up by adding a couple of drops peppermint essential oil (I recommend either doTerra or Young Living) for a calming aroma and stomach-soothing properties.  If you’re looking to sweeten things up, try adding a dash of stevia or some raw local honey.

9. Exercise Every day.  

Lauren's Natural Living Get Better Sleep

Vigorous exercise is best, but every movement helps. Start where you’re at today. Maybe that means walking to the kitchen to grab a glass of water… or going for a walk on your lunch break. Just get moving. Exercise at any time of day, but try to give a cushion of 2-3 hrs before bedtime to allow your body the proper amount of time to wind down.

8. Keep a Consistent Sleep/Wake Schedule.

Yes, even on weekends. Experts suggest that creating a consistent bedtime and routine with your kids helps them wind down, and guess what, it works for us big people too! Sticking to your work-week sleep and wake schedule over the weekend sounds like torture to most of us, but it’s actually a wise move where sleep is concerned. Staying up and sleeping in later than normal can shift your body’s natural clock in the same way that cross-country travel does. This so-called social jet lag can make it extra difficult to fall asleep when Sunday night rolls around, making for even more unpleasant Monday mornings.

7. Create A Bedtime Routine

Lauren's Natural Living Get Better Sleep

It may seem silly, but when you do the same things over and over it tells your brain to start winding down.  Dim the lights. Make some tea. Wind down with a relaxing bath. It turns out that raising body temperature in a bath and then cooling down quickly when you get out mimics the natural drop in body temperature caused by the brain as it readies the body for sleep. This will not only help you fall asleep more quickly, but also get better quality sleep. While you’re at it, add some lavender essential oil or my Anti Stress roller to soothe your mind. The scent of lavender has noted benefits for sleep. A small study found that a sniff before bed led to more deep sleep and helped people with insomnia fall asleep more easily.

6. Unplug

Lauren's Natural Living Get Better Sleep

Sometimes it feels like our entire lives depend on constantly checking in online. That little FOMO (fear of missing out) bug can keep us plugged in much more often than is good for us.

Spending time on our devices late at night can actually affect sleep quality and our performance the following day. It turns out that the artificial light from these glowing screens can reduce our levels of melatonin, the chemical that helps control our sleep and wake cycles. Avoid aimless scrolling through social media as you’re getting ready to turn in for the night. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll be fast asleep. Try and give yourself at least an hour of screen-free time before bed to promote more restful sleep. Make sure you use the night mode on your phone if you have it.

5. Check your mattress and pillows.

Lauren's Natural Living Get Better Sleep

Believe it or not, lots of tossing and turning may be less about you and more about what you’re lying on. That’s right: An uncomfortable mattress might the source of your sleepless nights. Whether that’s because it’s lost its cushioning or because it’s simply too small, it’s important to recognize the signs that it’s time to buy a new one. Expect to make a swap every five to 10 years. If you do decide that a new mattress is in order, I highly recommend choosing a non-toxic one. Most of the mattresses manufactured today and coated and stuffed with chemicals and materials that are allergy-inducing and cancer-causing. But have no fear, non-toxic does not have to be expensive. We snagged ours from this LA company... and you can get them from Costco! 

4. Supplement.

Magnesium. Did you know that one of the symptoms of Magnesium deficiency is insomnia? So if you find yourself tossing and turning at night you may just need an added boost of this vital mineral. Magnesium is a macro-mineral, which, unlike trace minerals, is needed by the body in large amounts. Calcium, sodium, and potassium are also macro-minerals. The average human body contains about 25 grams of magnesium, one of the six essential minerals that must be supplied in the diet. Not all Magnesium is created equally though- some forms are not readily absorbed by the body and are excreted right out. I highly recommend using a Magnesium Oil spray. This is absorbed directly through your skin and goes straight to work.  Magnesium has many other benefits too, like balancing hormones, stress reduction, headache relief to name a few. This is a supplement you won’t want to live without. Added bonus- it is completely safe to use while pregnant. (But don't just take my word- always check with your Dr first) 

Melatonin. Research suggests that supplementing with melatonin may help people with disrupted circadian rhythms, such as people who work the night shift and people who have jet lag. Melatonin supplementation may also help individuals sleep better who have chronically low melatonin levels, like people with schizophrenia, who have poor sleep quality.

3. Get some sunshine in the morning.

Lauren's Natural Living Get Better Sleep

There’s nothing quite like bright light to trigger your brain to stay awake and alert. Getting some natural light — you’ll want to aim for about 15 minutes — first thing in the morning can help night owls reset their biological clocks and ease into sleep a little earlier. While you're at it... kick off your shoes and go barefoot on the grass to get the benefits of grounding

2. Create the Ideal Sleep Environment

Lauren's Natural Living Get Better Sleep

Your room should be dark, cool and quiet. Use blackout drapes to block any outside light (as a bonus these really help to insulate your house too!). Dim Your Clock. Even the glow from an alarm clock can be enough to disrupt sleep, especially for light sleepers. We invested in a projection clock a couple of years ago and it’s great. The light on the ceiling is red so it does not interrupt sleep.

The ideal temperature for sleeping is between 60-65. Getting your room too hot will cause you to have restless sleep. On the flip side, cold extremities can keep you awake longer so try slipping on some socks to aid you in falling asleep faster.

Clean your room. Freeing your room from unnecessary clutter can mean more restful sleep for you mentally and less possibility for the dust to collect and irritate your lungs.

Keep it quiet… but not too quiet. When your sleep haven is so silent you could hear a pin drop, every occasional bump in the night becomes that much more evident and disruptive. You might want to consider a fan or white noise machine if your bedroom verges on the too-quiet side of the spectrum. We use this one for the kids and really like it as it’s a real fan noise and not a recorded sound… I can always hear those darn sound loops!

1. Pray and Take deep breaths. Lauren's Natural Living Get Better Sleep

Praying and quiet meditation are helpful tactics to coax your mind to wind down. These quiet activities may help you slow your breathing and heart rate and drift off sooner. If the quiet reflection above isn’t your style, some simple breathing exercises may do the trick. Breathing deeply mimics how your body feels when it’s already relaxed, so after inhaling and exhaling for a few rounds, you just might find yourself feeling calmer. That’s because deep breathing stimulates the body’s naturally-calming parasympathetic system.

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