Updated: May 27, 2020
I remember once seeing a meme that said something along the lines of "you know you're an adult when you brag about how much sleep you got the night before". At the time I read that, I was around 17 and was like...🤔 Now this makes so much sense to me 🤯
Sleep. is. awesome.
Unfortunately, up to 70 million Americans have sleep disorders. This means difficulty falling or staying asleep, waking up throughout the night, waking up feeling tired/groggy and suffering from insomnia. I remember I used to "have to" watch a movie every night before bed in order to fall asleep. I literally have seen Back to the Future at least 1200 times for that reason. (Seriously... try me on any BTTF trivia. I know that movie a little too well). But NOW I know that this was actually hindering my sleep and making it even HARDER to get some zzz's.
Because of this sleep, or lack of sleep, epidemic, it may be tempting to reach for melatonin for a "natural" sleep remedy. BUT as you know from my previous article on melatonin, this just makes the problem worse.
So then what do you do?! How do you get high quality sleep that makes you feel refreshed and energized the next day?!
Today I'm sharing 5 strategies that are MUCH better for achieving your ultimate goal of an amazing nights sleep.
1. Workout at the Right Time
Think a night time sweat sesh helps to wind you down for bed time? It actually can do the exact opposite. Exercise - especially HIIT (high intensity interval training) and cardio - causes your body to produce the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol blocks melatonin (your sleep hormone) from being produced. As a result, fitting your workout in at night can actually hinder your ability to fall or stay asleep.
Do this: Try swapping your night time workout for a morning or lunchtime workout. One study found that those who exercised in the morning vs. at night had much better sleep.
2. The Tech Time Rule
Our tech emits a blue light that causes a significant reduction in melatonin production. This makes sense - your body will reduce its sleep hormone if it thinks it's still day time. And by looking directly into a source of very bright light, your body is tricked into thinking it's daytime.
Do this: Okay... I know this tip may be a little difficult to implement for many people, but if you want awesome sleep - do this tonight. And then do it every night after that. Don't use your phone/laptop/TV/kindle/iPad at least 30-60 minutes before bed. Really, you shouldn't be using these items more than 60 minutes before bed, but we're working on baby steps here!
Learn more about melatonin and hormone imbalance HERE!
3. Nail Down Your Nutrient Timing
If you've been following me for a while, then you know ALL about the magic of nutrient timing. This is what I share with you in full detail in the 21 Day Intermittent Fasting Program and Level Up Program. One aspect of nutrient timing is properly administering your starchy carbohydrates.
Do this: The quality and the timing of your starchy carbs can be the difference between deep sleep and tossing and turning all night. Check out THIS article for how to get started.
4. Magical Magnesium
Most Americans are deficient in magnesium. It's a mineral that the body needs for nearly every enzymatic function. This includes muscle repair and deep sleep - both are crucial things to have when you're hitting the hay. Unlike melatonin, magnesium helps to aid in deep sleep without providing actual hormones that may lead to an imbalance and dependency issue. Magnesium helps to naturally increase melatonin while acting as a muscle relaxant to help you get some high quality shut eye.
Do this: Each person will be different, but generally you can take between 210-500mg of magnesium per day about 30 minutes before you go to bed. If you've had a lot of tech exposure that day, you may want to take on the higher side to help counter those effects.** I use THIS brand.*
5. Wind Down Well
Overall, in order to get great sleep, you need to create an environment that promotes rest and relaxation. Maybe for you this is making sure that your work computer is put away, your space is clean, your windows are open, etc. I love to use essential oils to help with that process.
Do this: Lavender is a great essential oil for promoting relaxation.* I put a drop on my wrists before bed. Holy Basil is also great for hormone balance. I use a drop of this on my temples.
These are strategies that I use for myself every night and let me tell you - I pride myself in how amazing my sleep is 😴