Currently, we are living in a time of unprecedented uncertainty and stress. Most of us have not experienced such a profound disruption to our daily life in our lifetime. One frequent topic of conversation with my clients has been sleep changes. Clients have been talking about feeling restless, waking in the night, difficulties falling asleep and racing brains. Because sleep is such a vital part of healthy living, we focus on correcting sleep struggles to improve client’s overall health. If you are experiencing sleep issues, try some of the following tips.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. During this time of the stay at home order, many of us have had the normal schedule of going to work ripped out from under us. It can seem difficult to motivate to go to sleep if you do not have to be in the office at a certain time the next day. However, research has shown that sticking to a nightly bedtime routine at roughly the same time every night will help signal to your body when it is time to go to sleep.
- Get outside every day. Exposing yourself to natural light, especially in the morning, is an important way to help set your sleep/wake cycles.
- Make sure your room is dark and quiet. Try to eliminate all sources of light in your room including clocks, cell phones or other electronic devices.
- Turn off screens. Avoid all screens for at least an hour before bed.
- Avoid caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that causes jitteriness and difficulty sleeping for many people. You must determine for yourself how close to bedtime you can have caffeine and still get to sleep. A good rule of thumb is to stop drinking caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime.
- Avoid alcohol. Consuming too much alcohol impacts your ability to stay asleep. As the calming effects of alcohol wear off in the night, it will increase the number of times you wake up.
- Drink tart cherry juice. Tart cherry juice is a good source of melatonin, an important sleep hormone.
- Eat tryptophan rich foods. Foods such as turkey, pumpkin seeds, edamame, and kidney beans contain the amino acid tryptophan, important in the production of melatonin.
Hopefully, you are already sleeping like a baby but if you have found yourself struggling with sleep, try some of these tips.
Photo from flickr.