Step 3 for less stress: Improving Sleep
- Are you a morning lark or a night owl?
- In order for our species to survive, our ancestors needed someone to stay awake at all times. Night owls would keep the fire going and protect the tribe. Morning larks would go out early and hunt and gather.
I am sure you know which one you are and there is not much you can do to change: it's in your DNA.
However, no matter what your personal preferences, I am here to share some tips on making your sleep situation the best it can be, because stress affects sleep and lack of sleep is stressful!
The bottom line is that if we get less than 6 hours of sleep, our risk for illness goes up.
This is because so many important things happen while we sleep!
First of all, we consolidate the day and organize our experiences much like filing. When sleep is interrupted it's like you open the door to the office and throw the files on the floor.
The brain also detoxifies itself at night. A sticky protein substance called beta amyloid is produced during the day and during the night, this needs to be flushed through the lymph system of the brain. New theories show if the beta amyloid is not eliminated during sleep, there is a build-up which is believed to cause dementia and may contribute Alzheimers disease.
Ready to see how you can improve your relationship to sleep? Read below and take note of what you are already doing or could start doing.
You'll see that some of my tips relate to eliminating stress and harmful substances from your diet. That's because sleep improves when our overall health improves!
- Morning tips:
- Don't have technology until after breakfast.
- Don't skip breakfast.
- Exercise outside when possible to maximize your vitamin D.
- Have water first thing upon waking since we lose water during the night.
- Since coffee increases cortisol, save coffee for a morning lull: around: 10-11 am.
- Practice morning meditation, affirmations and positive mental script for the day. A more mindful attitude helps to not ramp up the stress system.
- Take breaks during the day, to avoid getting wired.
- Take a short power nap between 1-3 pm (ideally 20-30 minutes).
- Night time tips:
- Go to bed at the same time every night: this strengthens the circadian rhythm; the brain loves routine.
- Take time to wind down to signal to the brain that sleep is on the way: this could include a bath with lavender, minimum light.
- Cut back or cut out coffee, exercise more, eat a diet balanced with proteins and good fats.
- Turn technology off at least 1 hour before bed. Technology produces blue light which is designed to wake us up & switches off melatonin...we lose the urge to sleep.
- Adjust the temperature: the best temp for sleep is 66 degrees.
- Maintain a quiet and decluttered sleep space: this allows the brain to quiet.
- If you're sleeping with someone else, consider a big bed for space.
- Try lying on your side to sleep.
- Keep your sleep space a relaxing space by not doing any work there.
- Get an old fashioned alarm clock rather than relying on your phone for the alarm.
- Since food affects sleep, don't eat too late. Also avoid excessive alcohol, as it will negatively affect sleep cycles.
- Supplements to help with sleep:
- Magnesium helps the body to relax, either orally or an Epsom
- Vitamin D is shown to deepen and lengthen sleep.
- Look after your gut bacteria they need sleep too-probiotics improve sleep quality.
- Valerian tea is also very calming.
I hope you are enjoying this April series focused on reducing stress!
Next, we will discuss inflammation, step 4 in the 4 Key areas stressors questionnaire.
- Have questions? Message me!
- With Gratitude,