Strategies for a better night’s sleep
Struggling to get enough hours of sleep each night? Feeling exhausted throughout the day but the minute your head hits the pillow you’re wide awake? You’re not alone! One of the most common symptoms we see is sleep deficiency which can impact us mentally, physically and emotionally. That said, we’ve pulled together some of our favorite sleep strategies to help you get more quality zzz’s.
Sleep hygiene is a term used to describe sleep habits. Having a healthy sleep hygiene can improve your quality of sleep which in turn will impact your overall well-being. Below are some ways to improve your sleep hygiene.
- Shut down screen time before bed (at least 1 hour). Devices like computers, phones and TVs produce a type of light called blue light. While blue light exposure is ok during the day, at night it’s proven to be disruptive because it throws our body’s circadian rhythm out of whack and confuses our brain’s natural production of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone. For more information, check out this Harvard Study.
- Stick to a consistent schedule. Sticking to a schedule will help keep your circadian rhythm in check. Aim to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. If you have trouble remembering when to go to bed/wake up, set alarms or reminders to help you stay on track.
- Create a relaxing sleep environment. Treat yourself to a new pair of sheets, purchase blackout shades or a comfortable sleep mask or try a noise machine.
Leave your to-do list at your bedroom door.
Do you have trouble falling asleep or end up wide awake in the middle of the night with a racing brain? A common complaint from patients is figuring out how to “turn their brain off” when it comes time to sleep. Here are some tips to help you leave stress and your to-do list at your bedroom door.
- Keep a notebook or journal by your bed. Use it to keep track of to-do’s or thoughts that pop up. If something comes up, jot it down instead of ruminating over it for hours. This “braindump” is a way to clear the clutter that may be distracting you from sleep. And when you wake up in the morning, you have your to-do list ready to go!
- Practice staying present. To get started, try the apps “Rest Assured” or “Simple Habit.” Both apps guide you towards a present and calm state through breathing exercises and guided meditations.
When you have a moment to yourself, think about the daily habits that may be contributing to your stress and interfering with your sleep. Are you drinking too many cups of coffee? Are you on a medication that’s impacting your sleep? How’s your alcohol intake? Diet? Are you watching TV too close to bedtime?
By taking a closer look at our daily habits, we are one step closer to identifying problematic lifestyle habits and can make appropriate changes to support our goals…in this case, better sleep! If you’re overwhelmed by how to make these lifestyle changes, contact Ali or Dr. Horowitz for additional support.
You may be having difficulting sleeping because of a hormonal imbalance(s). Hormonal changes wreak havoc on your sleep while sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your hormones – it’s a dangerous cycle! If you are having trouble with sleeping, be sure to bring this up with Dr. Horowitz during your next appointment and discuss possible supplements to help correct any imbalances you’re experiencing.
Load up on of these supportive foods.
Food can have a great impact on your sleep quality. We encourage you to stick to a whole foods, anti-inflammatory diet if you’re struggling with sleep; however, there are certain foods you can also add that have calming properties. Specific foods for you to incorporate into your diet include:
- Dark chocolate (70% or higher)
- Pumpkin seeds
- Whole milk
For a more specific meal-plan, recipe ideas or lifestyle tips, feel free to contact Ali Wiser, our in-house nutritionist!