Ditch the phone
This is probably the single most effective change that you can make. The phone is typically the first thing we see when we wake up and the last thing we touch before we sleep. Cell phones release “blue light”, this jacks up our circadian rhythm. Not to mention the other stressful activities it provides as well (texts, stressful emails, addictive social media apps, and Netflix shows) – it’s just not conducive to sleep.
What about my alarm clock?!
Get one of those old school analog clocks. You can still find sexy analog clocks – like this ONE Having a phone-free bedroom is great first step to a better sleep.
Don’t want to lose the phone? Try adding apps and products that limit the amount of blue light at night time.
- Blue light blocking glasses
- Download F.LUX for your computer
- Turning your phone to night time mode
Wake up in the middle of the night? Check your blood sugar levels
Who’s been able to get to sleep but has difficulty staying asleep and you wake up at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. or even 4 a.m.
This can be from many underlying causes such as intense stress to sleep apnea. An common and often overlooked reason that I’ve seen is a dip in blood sugar. Our diet and lifestyle now is bombarded with sugars and refined carbohydrates.
If your blood sugar dips below a certain point while you’re sleeping, you will get a stress response in your body.
This can jolt you awake and even make you feel a little anxious, stressed, and wired.
To help with prevent this, you will want to eat a complete meal with healthy fats, quality proteins, and beneficial carbs. Diets or recipes in the “ Whole30 “ or “Paleo” style diet can help you transition away from those crashes and limit the amount of sugar and refined carbs.
This helps me if I feel like I haven’t eaten enough – GF oats, cinnamon, almond milk, blueberries, hemp hearts, and chia seeds…Shaken. Not stirred.
Coffee, Coffee, Coffee!
It’s still a thing, yes. Caffeine is slowly metabolized in the body, so even though you may have a couple small cups just after lunch, it can still be buzzing in your body when it’s time to sleep. This can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep, which would decrease the quality of your sleep.
Try to limit the coffee and other caffeine drinks to before 12pm.
Set a schedule - Try an earlier bedtime
We have may have lost a few friends suggesting you quite the coffee, we’re now going to dig a bigger hole. You can sleep better if you have a consistent bedtime and start to sleep earlier. The body likes routine and it syncs up with the rhythms of the sun and moon.
Earlier this was unavoidable because when the sun went down.. it was pretty dark. With electricity, Instagram to TV to light bulbs, it’s no wonder that plenty of us stay up late. Start to listen to your bodies tired signals, take it as a cue to brush your teeth, and get cozy in your bed.
The sweet spot is around 10pm
Lose the booze
It’s pretty common to have a little nightcap of whiskey or wine to calm some nerves and make sleep easier. Though it does make it easier to fall asleep, it decreases the overall quality of sleep. When you have the alcohol, you do get a slightly better sleep at the beginning but it has a boomerang effect for the second half.
As comforting as a nice drink can be, we wouldn’t suggest using it as a crutch to help you sleep.
Magnesium glycinate may be beneficial to help you sleep. It’s great for relaxing your mind and muscles, helping you fall into a deep sleep.
Magnesium-rich foods include:
- Dark leafy greens
- Seeds and nuts, including pumpkin, sunflower, sesame seeds, cashews and almonds
- Squash, broccoli, and other vegetables
- Raw cacao
Magnesium deficiency is common among adults.
It’s worth the consideration because this neurotransmitter has a profound impact on sleep. It comes in a supplement form but is also available in foods. It’s naturally found in varieties of green, black, and oolong teas. It’s in fermented foods which include kefir, yougurt, and tempeh. There are other foods that either contain GABA or may boost it’s production in the body – whole grains, fava, soy, lentils, nuts (walnut, almonds, sunflower), tomatoes, berries, spinach, broccoli, and cocoa to name a few.
There is evidence that GABA can improve sleep, but it’s also possible that it carries its effect in other ways, such as impacting the gut microbiome to increase your GABA naturally.
Regardless, GABA is worth considering at doses around 100-200mg for insomnia after a conversation with your doctor about potential interactions.