Introduction: Got Sleep Problems
Feeling the fatigue? In a slumber slump? Sleep is one of the most important tools for physical and mental health and enhanced performance, but it can be the most challenging to change when things are out of your control. Let’s rethink your way to better sleep and get rid of those sleep problems!
Sleep is one of the best and least expensive ways to help ourselves recuperate after a day of work or play. Our bodies are like very expensive batteries. When we sleep, our bodies and minds are able to recover from the impact of the day, as well as recharge for the adventures ahead of us. When we are adequately rested, we tend to have better overall performance.
From making better decisions with your food choices to enhanced focus at the office, your sleep can impact your daily productivity. Even more so, optimal sleep can lead to better mood, motivation, and mental health. Who doesn’t want that? Our bodies can usually tell us when it’s time to sleep as well via our circadian rhythm!
This is essentially an internal clock that is impacted by light and dark. And it repeats every twenty-four hours! During this period of rest, it is thought that our brains are able to clear waste which helps to improve our memory and cognitive function. Sleep is almost like backing up our memories onto a hard drive – but sleep problems can interfere with this!
Indicators of Poor Sleep
Here are some indicators that you might be missing out on sleep.
- Waking up tired
- Dozing off during the day
- Lack of energy
- Slowed decision making
- Inability to concentrate
- Increased appetite and food cravings
- Irregular blood sugar levels
- Getting sick easily
- Prone to injuries
Should I Track My Sleep
It seems like there’s a way to track everything these days! These tools can be beneficial to monitor your sleep quality and quantity, but it all depends on how you use them and how you look at the data. Some people may find these trackers actually hinder how they sleep — especially if they light up or nudge you to move!
Others may feel like it changes their mood if the tracking device gives them a poor sleep rating. Keep in mind that these devices are just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to sleep, just make sure that they’re being used in a positive manner! You don’t want your device causing you sleep problems!
7 Strategies For Better Sleep
Better sleep starts during your waking hours and outside the bedroom. Focus on adding 1-2 of these strategies during your day.
- Move It! Add a 15 minute morning yoga flow to get the blood flowing. Or go for 5 minute walks throughout the day or take walking meetings when possible. Sweat with a tabata workout – move for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest and repeat for 8 rounds. Try movements like bodyweight squats, jumping jacks, or push-ups.
- Nourish For Nighttime! Set reminders on your phone or virtual calendar to keep your eating patterns regular throughout the day. Plan to enjoy any treats or heavy fried foods at earlier meals from time to time. Snack on tart cherries and pumpkin seeds or blueberries and cashews in the afternoon to nourish your sleep.
- Rethink Your Drink! Keep your water bottle handy during the day and enjoy water-based fruits and veggies to help reach your daily hydration goals of about 1 oz of water per pound of body weight. Sip on sparkling or infused water at least 3-6 hours before bed. Skip your midday caffeine in favor of energizing activity or nutrient-balanced foods that give you a lift without a lasting stimulant impact. Swap your evening glass of wine with an herbal tea like chamomile.
- Do A Brain Dump! Write out any to-does on a piece of paper or on your virtual notes at least 2 hours before bed. Journal your worries away. Redo your to-do list and move what’s not likely to get done tomorrow to a different day.
- Back It Up! Work backward to figure out your ideal sleep and wake times to hit 7-9 hours per night. Start small. See if you can adjust your sleep pattern by getting into bed earlier 30-60 minutes at a time.
- Unplug! Set your electronics curfew and set them to sleep mode and/or leave them outside your room at least 30 minutes before bed. Commit to reading a relaxing book. Try box breathing — Inhale for 4 counts, hold for 4, exhale for 4, and hold again for 4. Repeat as needed.
- Ready Your Room! Rid the room of any blue light and sound producers like phones, tablets, TVs, clocks, and computers. Switch to an old school analog alarm clock and choose motion-sensing nightlights, if needed. Lower the temp in the room to 68-72 degrees or swap to a lighter blanket or sheet set during the summer months. Lights out by closing the curtains or wearing a comfortable eye mask made of soft material like silk or satin.
Conclusion: Sleep Problems Be Gone
Pick the strategy that resonates best with you to improve your sleep. Remember, consistency is key when building these habits for your long-term health. Bravo – you’re on the path to a better night’s sleep!
Give these tips a try and let me know in the comments below what’s your favorite. For more tips like this, subscribe to my YouTube channel or follow me on Instagram.