Eat well… Stress Less = More sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is sometimes like chasing a dream. As a core pillar of our well-being, though, it’s a good dream to keep up with. In fact, health professionals in many disciplines agree that these Core 4 pillars can be a big help in overall wellness:

  1. Getting a good night’s sleep (and reducing stress where possible)
  2. Eating more whole foods
  3. Staying hydrated
  4. Being physically active

So how can you catch those useful z’s?

Eat Well to Sleep Well

There’s a lot to chew on when it comes to diet, sleep, and how they support each other to help you feel your best.

Read my article on the different varieties of Fruits and Vegetables that can help you sleep. ==>

Here are 7 simple tips to improve your sleep.

  1. Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, Nicotine, and Other Chemicals that Interfere with Sleep. I just love coffee and we all know that it  is a stimulant that can keep you up. So try your best to avoid caffeine (found in coffee, tea, chocolate, cola, and some pain relievers) for four to six hours before bedtime. Similarly, smokers should refrain from using tobacco products too close to bedtime. Alcohol acts as a stimulant as well, even though it helps bring on sleep. After a few hours however, it increases the number of awakenings and generally decreasing the quality of sleep later in the night.
  2. Establish a Soothing Pre-Sleep Routine. Ease the transition from wake time to sleep time with a period of relaxing activities an hour or so before bed. Take a bath (the rise, then fall in body temperature promotes drowsiness), read a book, watch television, or practice relaxation exercises. Avoid stressful, stimulating activities—doing work, discussing emotional issues. Physically and psychologically stressful activities can cause the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol which is associated with increasing alertness. If you tend to take your problems to bed, try writing them down—and then putting them aside.
  3. Go to Sleep When You’re Truly Tired. Struggling to fall sleep just leads to frustration. If you’re not asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed, go to another room, and do something relaxing, like reading or listening to music until you are tired enough to sleep.
  4. Lighten Up on Evening Meals. Eating a pepperoni pizza at 10 p.m. may be a recipe for insomnia. Finish dinner several hours before bedtime and avoid foods that cause indigestion. If you get hungry at night, snack on foods that (in your experience) won’t disturb your sleep, perhaps dairy foods and carbohydrates.
  5. Balance Fluid Intake. Drink enough fluid at night to keep from waking up thirsty—but not so much and so close to bedtime that you will be awakened by the need for a trip to the bathroom.
  6. Exercise Early. Exercise can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly—as long as it’s done at the right time. Exercise stimulates the body to secrete the stress hormone cortisol, which helps activate the alerting mechanism in the brain. This is fine, unless you’re trying to fall asleep. Try to finish exercising at least three hours before bed or work out earlier in the day.
  7. Don’t Be a Nighttime Clock-Watcher. Staring at a clock in your bedroom, either when you are trying to fall asleep or when you wake in the middle of the night, can actually increase stress, making it harder to fall asleep. Turn your clock’s face away from you.
    And if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep in about 20 minutes, get up and engage in a quiet, restful activity such as reading or listening to music. And keep the lights dim; bright light can stimulate your internal clock. When your eyelids are drooping and you are ready to sleep, return to bed.

Stress Less, Sleep Better

It’s easy to stress out about not sleeping well. And, of course, it’s also totally counterproductive. Sigh. Give yourself a few minutes to relax with some of these quick tips for de-stressing to help yourself along the road to sleep.

Getting a good night’s sleep can greatly impact your outlook on life and, in turn, your health and wellness. Simple changes, such as getting a good night’s sleep or taking time for a relaxing hobby, are easy ways to help manage stress and improve your well-being in the long-term.

Here’s some other simple changes you can try to help manage stress:

  • Laugh out loud once a day.
  • Start a DIY project.
  • Add 5 minutes of quiet meditation to your daily routine.
  • Eat lunch away from your desk.
  • Turn off your phone before dinner.
  • Spend 20 minutes outside each day.
  • Go to sleep an hour earlier.
  • Wake up an hour later on Sunday.
  • Take time to focus on yourself and no-one else at least once a week.

Follow Through

Some of these tips will be easier to include in your daily and nightly routine than others. However, if you stick with them, your chances of achieving restful sleep will improve. That said, not all sleep problems are so easily treated and could signify the presence of a sleep disorder such as apnea, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy, or another clinical sleep problem. If your sleep difficulties don’t improve through good sleep hygiene, you may want to consult your physician or a sleep specialist.

What helps you and sleep keep your relationship strong? Tell us in the comments below!

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