Sleep is the most important this we can do for our health. A good night’s sleep can do so much to help us recover and replenish, especially when we’ve been sick. I’m grateful to say that I slept really well last night and feel completely back to myself. It’s really amazing how much our bodies do while we sleep.
Gratitude Tip: How important is a full nights’ sleep to you? Do you aim for between 7 to 8 hours a night, every night? Or do you consider it a badge of honour to go without sleep? Our bodies are truly amazing and they need proper rest in order to function optimally. Show gratitude for your body and your brain by making time for good sleep, every night of the week.
What happens when we don’t get enough sleep? Besides feeling tired, we are in a mental fog, irritable, we have sweet cravings (who knew?) and we may even gain weight. Yes, lack of sleep can disrupt our hormones and lead to unexplained weight gain. Going 24 hours without sleep is equivalent to having a blood alcohol level of 0.10 – over the legal limit in most provinces and states. Lack of sleep is no longer a badge of honour. And we are seeing a shift in the workplace, where now it’s more common to see the top executives and business leaders talking about how much they sleep, instead of how they get by on very little sleep. Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, shares how her own collapse from exhaustion in 2007 transformed how she thinks about sleep and how much she values it for herself and her employees and is working on a global revolution.
So what can we do if we’re not getting the sleep we need? Here are a few of my favorite sleep suggestions:
- Change your bedroom environment – make sure you have light blocking blinds. That street lamp outside your window may be making it difficult for your natural melatonin levels to rise when you’re trying to sleep. Melatonin is our body’s natural sleep hormone and rising levels of melatonin at night is what helps us to fall asleep.
- Keep it cool – reduce the temperature in your home at night. Just a few degrees colder can help. If you don’t control the temperature (in a condo or apartment), open a window just a crack to help lower the temp in your bedroom or even use a fan in the winter.
- Wear socks – sometimes we are awakened in the middle of the night by our cold feet and we don’t even realize it . Wearing socks to bed can help you sleep through the night – trust me, I’ve had several clients who say this solved their sleep issues.
- Remove electronics – the blue light that is emitted from your electronic devices (think cell phone, tablets, laptop and tv) inhibits the production of melatonin and makes it more difficult to fall asleep. Reading your email one last time before you go to sleep is not going to help you fall asleep any faster, for many reasons besides that blue light.
- Create a bedtime routine – I wrote a post about this a few months ago, check here for some tips on what to do in the thirty minutes before you sleep. My favorite part of my bedtime routine? Writing in my gratitude journal. It’s a habit I started in August of 2011 and I’ve missed less than a handful of nights in almost 5 years.
- Give yourself a bit of extra help – Our melatonin levels drop as we get older, making it more difficult to fall asleep. I use USANA’s Pure Rest, a natural melatonin that dissolves under your tongue about 30 minutes before I turn out the lights. It works really well! Melatonin is also a natural antioxidant and cancer fighter. And it’s not addictive as prescription sleep aids are. If you’d like to try a bottle, visit my USANA website and scroll down to Optimize Your Health on the first page, you’ll see Pure Rest there.
Here’s to a great night’s sleep tonight! Let me know if you try any of these methods and which ones work the best for you.
Day 14 already of the #40daysofgratitude challenge! Two weeks in!! How has your life changed during these past two weeks? Are you looking at things differently? Haven’t started yet? That’s ok! Join us at any time, simply post of photo of what you are grateful for today on Instagram or Facebook and use the hashtag #40daysofgratitude. I’ll find you and follow your challenge.