💤 7 Tips to Achieve Restorative Sleep
There are some many health benefits associated with sleep.
People that sleep well enjoy a stronger immune system, are able to make better decisions during the day and tend to eat less.
A good night sleep ensures that the hormones that control appetite and saciety are properly regulated (ghrelin and leptin). When we don't sleep well, we tend to eat more and be less disciplined about what we eat.
The following tips can help you better reach a full, restorative sleep at night:
1. Take sunshine as you wake up.
You will benefit from going out when the sun starts to rise and estimualte your eyes and skin with some sunshine. Sunlight stimulates sensors we have in our eyes and helps our body to be alert and to trigger the production of serotonin, a hormone that improves our mood and is a precursor of melatonin which is the hormone we product before going to sleep.
If you produce the right amount of serotonin then you will produce the right amount of melatonin at night and sleep better.
If the sun is rising, don't wear sunglasses so you get the full benefit. Don't stare at the sun directly either... this will damage your eyes.
2. Exercise early if possible.
If you add a jog or a swim when you go out early in the morning even better! Exercise will increase circulation to your brain and will improve your mental clarity through the day. A key to a good night sleep is getting our body to cool a few degrees. Exercise increases our body temperature. That is why some people have trouble sleeping when exercising in the evening.
3. Be smart about caffeine.
Your body generates cortisol just before you sleep. If you had a good night then you should not need a coffee first thing in the morning. It is best to enjoy your coffee 3 to 4 hours before you wake up. This will avoid the afternoon crash and will also be far away from your sleeping time so it is not disruptive.
4. Have your last meal 3 hours before bed.
Going to bed on an empty stomach is great. You will sleep better and you will be able to get the full health benefits of being on a fasting state while sleeping. If our body is not busy digesting, it will take care of eliminating metabolic waste and triggering processes that will elminate cells that are not in a good condition and need to be recycled. This process is called autophagy.
5. Get sunlight into your eyes close to sunset.
Guess what, you will get benefits in your sleep if you go out again and expose your eyes to light close to sunset. I thought this was incredible when I learned about it. How the sunlight can help me wake up in the morning and then help me to sleep better in the evening? Turns out the wavelenght of sunlight differs a little bit at sunset and there are some receptors in our eyes that notice that. This light will trigger the conversion of sertonin to melatonin starting your natural process to go to sleep.
6. Reduce your light exposure beyond 7 pm
Strong artificial light can really disrupt your sleep since your body won't notice it is getting dark. The fluorescent light in the supermarket is particularly damaging to our circadian rythm. If possible dim down the lights in your house and have just enough light to carry on your activities so your body can understand time to sleep is approaching. Candlelight is great... just don't burn your place please!
7. Opt for natural supplements before needing any medication.
Sometimes our lifestyle does not enable us to do all these things. That is why USANA has created a mood and relaxation line that could be really helpful for you.
The following supplements can aid in your sleep:
This is a melatonin supplement. The same exact molecule your body produces. Melatonin has powerful antioxidant properties and may help your immune system to work better.
There are multiple benefits Magnesium has for your body. It will help you relax at night but its benefits do not end there. Magnesium will also relax your blood vessels incresing their capacity and with potential benefits in your blood pressure.
Sometimes we can't sleep because our mind does not stop or because we are stressed about something. GABA, a substance included in Stress Relief can help with that.
We hope this is helpful!
Andrea, Certified Health Coach, HealthyU.