Friday, February 21, 2014

14 Tips for Getting Better Sleep

I hope you enjoyed the statistics and facts I shared about sleep.  I just found them so interesting.  Sleep really should be 1/3 of our day, every day, yet so many struggle with it.  And when we struggle with it, everything else in our lives suffers.  Not getting enough sleep with the baby has been really tough on me, but I know the reason for it, and HOPEFULLY, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  (I thought we would be to that light by now...but whatever)  When it isn't the baby keeping you up though, there isn't really an end in sight.  So, I'm going to offer some suggestions for getting to sleep and better sleep, and if you have any, please share!  Someone may take your suggestion and have it work for them!

First, how long does it take you to get to sleep?  How long do you think it should take?

  • 5 minutes or less
  • 5-15 minutes
  • 30 minutes
  • 60 minutes
If you guessed 5 minutes, or it takes you that amount of time, that usually points to exhaustion.  If you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, it might be time to evaluate how much sleep you are getting, and other factors that are making you tired.  Spending about 5-15 minutes nodding off is a healthy amount, and points to good sleep factors.  

When it takes around 30 minutes to fall asleep, that usually points to anxiety or stress.  Hopefully it is short term, and trying some of the suggestions below can help. 

If it takes 60 minutes or more to drift off, consider discussing it with your doctor.  That could be a signal of some sort of sleep disorder.

So, maybe it is taking you longer than you would like to fall asleep, or you are waking through the night.  Try one or all of these suggestions to get there faster.
How cute is this?  From here
  • Watch the caffeine.  For some, even the amount in dark chocolate is enough to keep them up longer than they would like. (culprits include coffee, teas, energy drinks, chocolate, as well as hidden in other products, check the label!)
  • Find a time during the day when you need to taper off how much you are drinking.  Frequent bathroom breaks through the night are not conducive to a good nights sleep!
  • Digestion slows while you sleep.  If you are having issues with this, try switching your big meal of the day to lunch time, and eating smaller amounts in the evening.  Also, it might help to have a snack before bed with a little protein to help your blood sugar levels remain stable, and to not wake up hungry during the night.
  • Exercise could be making it hard to fall asleep.  We know that exercise produces feel good endorphins, and those could be responsible for keeping you up.  Try exercising earlier in the day and see if you notice a difference.
  • On the flip side, getting in exercise during the day, can help you sleep better at night.  Including even just 15-20 minutes can be beneficial for your shut eye!
  • Dim the lights about 1 hour before you want to go to bed.  You will produce more melatonin with soft lighting.  You can undo this by walking into a bright lit room, so try to keep the lights low even as you get ready for bed.
  • Try including yoga, deep breathing or stretching in the evening to help you wind down before bed.
  • Turn off the TV, tablet, computer, and phone as you are winding down.  Anything with a screen keeps your brain more wired.  Pick up an actual magazine or a book in the 30-60 min before you go to bed.
  • Keep a paper and pencil by your bed, write down anything you have to do the next day or anything on your mind and know you can forget about it till morning.  (this one saves me on a daily basis!)
  • Have a routine!  If you have read any baby books, they all tell you to have a bed time routine for your little one.  It helps them know that it is time to go to sleep, by repetition of the same things, in the same order, each night.  The same applies to us!  Implement a nightly routine that you can do each night that helps your mind and body prepare to sleep.
    • In your nightly routine, try adding a relaxing scent, such as Lavender, Vanilla, or Chamomile.  All 3 of these help you to relax and prepare to sleep.
  • Have you ever tried white noise?  I'm a huge fan!  There are multiple free apps that will provide white noise through the night.  Give it a try and see if it helps.  You can also run the fan or a humidifier to help provide some background noise.
  • Snoring partner?  Give earplugs a try if the white noise doesn't drown it out.  
  • Use the 30 minute rule.  If after 30 min of tossing and turning, get up and do something.  Either read, stretch, listen to relaxing music, grab a small snack if you are hungry, and then try to fall asleep again.  Same thing applies if you are up in the middle of the night and cant get back to sleep within 30 min.

What helps you sleep??  Share your tips below, it may be just what someone needs to fall asleep better tonight!





Hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today, and thanks for reading! If you enjoy the blog, please share using the buttons below, or in the box to the right. Also, we would love to have you join us! Join this site in the "followers" box to the right. "Like" the blog on facebook, and follow me on instagram (@dailydoseofnutrition), twitter (@jennasteprd), tumblr, and pinterest using the the boxes on the right. Thanks, and have a great day! ~jenna

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