Sleep is such an important part of a healthy lifestyle. If you’re eating healthy, exercising, maintaining a balanced life and still have low energy, poor health, and are unhappy you may be lacking quality sleep or simply may not be getting enough sleep. This post is going to help. The issue with sleep is that there are two factors: amount of time and quality. You could be lacking one or both of these qualities. The symptoms will be relatively the same and neither are desirable. Check out the post below to see if you are lacking proper sleep and how to fix it.
Signs you aren’t sleeping enough or getting good quality sleeps:
- You’re tired first thing in the morning – Waking up groggy is everyone’s story. It doesn’t have to be. Usually it is the result of an unsettled sleep, too short of a sleep, or a light sleep.
- You tend to be cranky first thing in the morning – Being cranky can be a result of many different things such as hormones, diet, dehydration and/or exhaustion. Getting a great sleep is the first step to reducing your crankiness.
- You’re lethargic all day long – If you don’t have any natural bursts of energy throughout the day you could be suffering from lack of sleep.
- You rely on coffee for a wake up – Do you wake up thinking about coffee? Part of that craving is a desire to be more alert and attentive. A natural alternative – get a better sleep.
Notice that I’m not speaking about getting more sleep. Many of us don’t need a lot of sleep especially if we get a sound sleep. It is well known that as we age we need less sleep. Many adults only need 6-7 hours of sound sleep to feel energized and refreshed in the morning. I believe that setting ourselves up for a good sleep can show us exactly how much sleep we need. Follow these next few steps and note how long your body sleeps. Let yourself fall asleep naturally and when you wake up the first time note what time it is. If it has been longer than 6-7 hours, get up – you’ve found your appropriate time.
Ten Steps to a Great Sleep
1 – Darkness
Make sure there is no natural light coming into your bedroom. Our bodies love to sleep in the dark. Our natural melatonin release relies on darkness.
2 – Remove distractions if possible
Is there any one thing that wakes you up? Phone ringing, dogs barking, noisy family members, etc. I know that for parents this becomes difficult but for everyone else it is about finding ways to reduce the ability of certain factors to wake you up. Turn your cell off, move your dogs to a dark room and politely ask family members to be more quiet first thing in the morning.
3 – Stop watching tv 30 minutes before bed
I’ve been reading a ton of information lately about how falling asleep with the tv on/watching tv before bed interrupts your sleep. In a dark room it is strenuous on the eyes and stimulating to the mind. This stimulation can affect your ability to fall asleep, your quality of sleep, and even can be represented in your dreams. Keep your mind and body healthy by staying away from tv before bed.
4 – Natural air – cool room
Everyone has different sleeping temperature preferences but personally I like a cool room. It is important for me to have a cool flow of fresh air coming into my room during the evening. High temperature rooms can be difficult to sleep in and can promote ‘tossing and turning.’
5 – Reduce stress before bed
One of the main reasons for poor sleep is stress. This is a point that I’m sure everyone can agree with. It is really difficult to fall asleep/have a complete sound sleep when we are stressed. Focus on reducing your stress by doing what works for you. For me it’s talking it out with Amy, having fun, laughing, or becoming more organized. Sometimes making a simple list of things that are on my mind will ease it enough to let me sleep.
6 – Trouble falling asleep? Read something positive
I find reading a great way to help me fall asleep. Grab a positive, inspiring and/or motivating book and curl up in bed with it. When you start to relax your eyes will begin to shut. When this happens try reading two more pages – you won’t make it.
7 – Stop eating 2 hours before bed
Digestion is different when we sleep. It can keep you awake and/or reduce the quality of your sleep. If you can’t help it and need something to eat before bed it should be plain lean protein and a healthy fat. You don’t want fruit or carbs because you don’t want to spike your blood sugars. Sleep is a recovery period and protein and healthy fat will supply you with the nutrients you need to rebuild your tissues. Sometimes 1 tablespoon of peanut butter will satisfy my cravings before bed and it won’t disrupt my sleep. If you are looking for more info on how to satisfy late night cravings check out this post.
8 – No electronics in the bedroom
This is a weird one. Remove any computers, night lights, phones, iPads, or any of their cords from your room. You will notice the difference. I find it helps me relax and Amy says she can’t sleep if the computer cord is plugged in beside her head. She may be crazy (lol) or there may be something to it.
9 – Don’t exercise two hours before bed
Some may feel that a tiring workout in the evening will help them sleep. For those few people it may be true but for most a pre-bed workout is more stimulating than anything. Your heart rate does not automatically go back to resting immediately after a workout. It takes time. Workouts also stimulate us mentally. They can make our mind race and actually promote wakefulness when we are trying to relax. Whether it’s cardio, weights or sports try to finish your workout at least 2 hours before bed.
10 – Stick to your healthy lifestyle
The best thing you can do to improve your quality of sleep is eat healthy, exercise regularly and maintain a balanced life. DAMY Members – stick to your plan, eat every 2-3 hours, get your workouts in, and do everything you love doing to keep your stress at bay.
These 10 tips will help you get a better sleep. A better sleep means more energy, improved health, and a happier life. Sleep is also an important component in weight loss. We know that lack of sleep results in poor of weight loss results. Major recovery, muscle building and fat burning happen while you are sleeping. If you’re on a weight loss journey make sure to do any or all of these healthy options I’ve highlighted to get a great sleep. Try these and let me know how they helped you in the comments below.
David Duizer BSc, SSC, RMC