The blog has woken up from its hibernation… which is so fitting because Module 14 was all about SLEEP! Let’s just say I’m practicing what I preach!
Sleep is so crucial to optimal health. Sometimes a good night’s rest is truly all you need to feel better. I’m sure you’re aware of all the health benefits of quality sleep, but as a reminder:
- Sleep increases energy while heightening alertness & focus
- Sleep strengthens your immune system
- Sleep improves mood
- Sleep increases libido
- Sleep may decrease the amount of calories or sugar you consume during the day
Some people require lots of sleep, others less, but as a general rule of thumb 7-9 hours a night is ideal. If you’re running on less it might eventually catch up to you. When it does, it can wreak havoc on your system. It can lead to weight gain, an increased risk of chronic disease and accidents or injuries, anxiety, loss of mental clarity, and adrenal fatigue. So how do we pull ourselves out of this? There are many things we can do to break the cycle.
If we focus on nutrition, it’s important to eat a variety of foods while limiting sugar and caffeine. Digestion requires energy so it’s recommended to avoid eating an excessively large meal at night and to stop snacking after dinner! It’s also recommended to avoid beverages at night as this may disrupt sleep, leading to a middle-of-the-night bathroom run. The vicious cycle of reaching for stimulants (hello coffee) multiple times a day and then depending on relaxants to help wind down at night is all too common. If you’re having trouble breaking up with coffee I would recommend trying an alternative such as matcha (or green) tea or mushroom coffee. Mushroom coffee!? Yes, it’s a thing and no, it doesn’t taste like mushrooms. I promise you, it’s delicious! Foursigmatic is a great brand. I usually get their Cordyceps Cacao mix (great for energy!) and mix it with ½ cup hot water + ½ almond milk, collagen peptides, 1 tbsp of MCT oil (also great for energy and mental clarity) and a drop of doTERRA peppermint. My version of a peppermint hot cocoa that wakes you up and gets you going!
“A cluttered space is a cluttered mind.” You know it’s true! When I declutter I feel so much better about…life! I’ve found that simple tasks such as just making the bed help me to feel mentally clearer – and it’s so much easier to sleep when my mind is clear. Another form of self-care I’ve been practicing lately is taking an Epsom salt bath and diffusing some essential oils. This is such a great way to unwind and end the night. Finally, it’s my goal to get electronics out of the bedroom! I have a hard time parting with my phone, but the nights that I get off of it at least an hour before bed are when I get the most restful sleep. If it is near your bed, make sure it’s turned off or on airplane mode. Blue light illuminating from computer screens or phones can have a negative effect on our hormones by suppressing the production of melatonin. A recent study from the University of Houston found that levels of melatonin increased by 58% when participants wore amber lens for three hours before bed. If you plan on scrolling through your IG feed before bed, slip on a pair of blue light-blocking glasses.
In addition to nutrition and environment, it’s important to balance out your hormones. For example, consistent exercise is important, but if you’re working out too hard it can actually have a negative impact on your body. Your cortisol levels could be high which means that it’s harder to get your body to its parasympathetic state – the “rest and digest” state. In order to get here, do things that honor lowering stress such as: meditation, yoga, moderate exercise, walks, baths, and spending quality time with loved ones. I’ve recently started meditating and would highly recommend the Headspace app! It makes meditation very approachable and something I actually look forward to. Magnesium is also known to aid in relaxation and this calming powder makes for a great bedtime tea!
1 in 3 Americans are short on sleep. Don’t be one of them! The more you prioritize sleep and self-care the better you’ll feel and the happier you’ll be! Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but if you start with small steps it can be done!
Food for thought: What’s one thing you can start doing that will help you sleep better?