A good night’s sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet. Research shows that poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance, and brain function. It can also cause weight gain and increase disease risk in both adults and children.
If you want to optimize your health or lose weight, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do.
1. Sticking to a Sleep Schedule
One of the most common recommendations for improving your sleep cycle is to stick to a sleep schedule. Sleep schedule means having a fixed bedtime and wake up time. And I’m not talking only Monday to Friday! Yes, even on the weekends you need to go to bed and wake up at the same time.
Fixing Your Sleep Schedule
Let’s be real, you can never fully take up a sleep schedule. Many times life will just interfiere. However, with a few simple tweaks to your daily routines you can go to sleep and wake up at the same time. You just have to give enough time to your body for adjusting its internal clock
The best way to change your sleep schedule is to make tiny changes. If your goal is to go to bed at 9:00pm, rather than 11:00pm you can try this tactic: The first four or five nights, go to sleep at 10:45pm, and then go to sleep at 10:30pm for the next few days. You can continue making this 15-minute increments and you’ll see that your body won’t have to hard of a time adjusting.
Our bodies are sensitive to darkness and light.
You can be attempting a very interesting seminar, but if the room has low light there is a good chance that you’ll hear someone snoring next to you. Likewise, too much light before going to bed can signal your body that should be awake. That’s why, before bedtime make sure to dim the lights and avoid any electronic screens.
I know that it is very tempting to press snooze on your mobile so early in the morning and get a couple of extra sleep.
However, that extra sleep is not high quality. Set up your alarm a couple of minutes before the time you actually need to wake up, mostly because it may take a few minutes for your body to adjust to a new daytime rhythm.
2. Exercise Affects Sleep
Another great way to improve your sleep is through workout. As little as a 20 minute walk or cycling can significantly improve the quality of your nighttime sleep. This can be especially true if it’s practiced daily!
Additionally, exercise can reduce the risk for developing troublesome sleep disorders, such as restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea.
It’s not a surprise that physical activity increases sleep duration and sleep quality. Early morning exercise can also assist resetting the sleep wake cycle by slightly raising body temperature, then allowing it to drop and trigger sleepiness at night.
People used to believe that too much exercise before going to bed will over-stimulate the body. But it turns out that this is partially true, because it actually depends on the individual.
If you find that physical activity in the evening revs you up too much, you should exercise earlier in the day. But if you experience the opposite to be true, that when you come home exhausted you plop down on the bed and fall asleep instantly, then keep on doing what you’re doing.
3. Avoid cigarettes, heavy meals, and alcohol in the evening
Here are some tips regarding this topic coming from the National Sleep Foundation:
- Limit your daily caffeine consumption and totally avoid it at least 4 hours before going to sleep.
Not only will caffeine make it more difficult for you to fall asleep, but can also cause you to sleep more lightly.
- The last meal of the day should be at least 2 hours before going to sleep. However, a small bedtime snack is fine.
- It’s not recommended to consume alcohol at least 4 hours before going to bed.
- Cigarettes and nicotine make it difficult for the human body to go to sleep and to stay asleep.
When hunger pangs hit late in the evening it can be tough to know what to eat. One of the best ways to instantly have a warm meal is to have a cup of grass fed bone broth.
Many studies suggest that consuming gelatin before going to bed helps induce sleep, mainly because of the amino acid glycine. Glycine plays an important role in the neurotransmitters within the brain. This means that consuming bone broth will not only improve your sleep quality, but it will also help reduce daytime sleepiness and help improve your memory during walking hours.
4. Slow Down!
Your body almost always needs time to shift into sleep mode. This is why you must spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading. Remember what we talked about before? Do not use an electronic device such as a laptop or TV, since it can make it harder to sleep.
This is because the particular type of light emanating from the screens of these activities is activating to the brain. So if you experience trouble sleeping, avoid electronics before bed and use this precious time for reading.
5. Avoid Sleeping Tablets
Pills for sleeping won’t address the cause of your inability to sleep and will not be helpful in the long run. Sleeping pills should only be prescribed by a trusted doctor who fully understands the reasons why you might be struggling with insomnia.
A doctor will also keep a close eye on the sleeping pills usage, since they are addictive.
To Sum Up
These tips can be implemented by most people and will help many of you. But, for some it won’t solve e thing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re regularly having trouble getting to sleep or you wake up feeling unrefreshed and restless in bed. This will affect your health and overall mood, so it might be time to go and see your doctor.
If you enjoyed this blog post, you can also read our previous one, covering the topic of Intermittent Bone Broth Fasting for Beginners.