sleepy21 Did you know that sleep plays a vital role in achieving optimal wellness??? Although many of us suffer from sleep deprivation, we actually need 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night for our bodies to repair themselves both physically and mentally. Bottom line, not getting enough sleep can greatly affect your health, mood, weight, immunity, brain function and even your sex life. Furthermore, in terms of weight loss, when you’re sleep deprived your hormone levels drop and you crave high-fat and high-calorie foods. Therefore, sleep greatly impacts your ability to achieve your wellness, career and personal goals. Here are few tips:

  • Stick to a regular bedtime and wake time every day. And don’t hit the snooze button!!!
  • Keep your bedroom cool and dark.
  • Create a bedtime ritual to relax your body and mind. It’s a great idea to take a shower or bath before bedtime to cool off your body. I like to take an Epson salt bath with lavender oil and then read a good book. You can also mediate, listen to soothing music, or invest in a sleep therapy sound machine.
  • Put away/turn off all electronic devices at least a half hour or more before bedtime. Yes, I know this is tough!! ;). But electronic devices give off what’s called “blue light” that disrupts our sleep patterns.
  • Stop drinking caffeine by the early afternoon.
  • Avoid large late-night meals. It’s best to let your digestive system rest during the night (ideally for 12 hours) so your body can focus its repair on other functions. This is also a helpful weight loss strategy.
  • Keep in mind that alcohol is not a sleep aid. It takes your body time to process alcohol, and although it might help you fall asleep, it will increase the likelihood that you will awake restless during the night.
  • If you have trouble falling asleep, instead of taking a sleeping pill, try: melatonin (best taken in liquid form under the tongue, also if you’re changing time zones take this three nights before you travel and three nights after you arrive to help adjust), calcium-magnesium (I like to take a supplement called Calm, which is also a great digestive aid.), and herbal teas (Nighty Night, chamomile).
  • If you wake up during the night and still can’t fall back asleep after 20 minutes, get up and go to a different space to do a calming activity, like read, meditate, etc. Remember its normal for some people to wake up during the night so don’t stress about it and stare at the alarm clock.
  • Keep track of your sleep patterns by using a Fitbit or sleep journal. This will help you determine if certain foods or activities assist or disrupt your sleep patterns.