Dr. Clayton Lawrence, CEO, shares his thoughts in a weekly column focused on overall wellness in an otherwise toxic world. (Always consult with your own physician before beginning any new diet/exercise routine).
It’s no secret that a good night’s rest can make or break the following day. Getting enough sleep can offer obvious benefits, like more energy and sharper thinking, but did you know that making sleep a priority can have unexpected positive effects on our bodies and minds?
To start, sleeping more – or at least finding the hours that are necessary for you to function at your best – can decrease depression and anxiety, boost the immune system and lower blood pressure. Poor sleep, on the contrary, can increase a person’s risk of developing mental health conditions, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Sleep is amazing! It allows the body to heal, restores our mental capacities and leads us to be more efficient and productive in all of our responsibilities.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to encourage better shut eye:
Develop an evening routine and stick to the same time each night for getting into bed.
Be sure to exercise each day to burn off extra chemicals.
Consume foods that are sources of naturally occurring melatonin like tart cherries, sweet corn and ginger.
Turn off all blue light-producing electronic devices an hour before it’s time to hit the sack.
Include meditation in the evening routine as a way to calm the mind and body.
Complete a to-do list each night for the following day so that 3 a.m. doesn’t find you with bouncing thoughts.
Allow your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle to gently guide you into sleep.
When lying awake at night, don’t stay in bed in frustration. Head to another room for a quiet activity, like reading a book, until you feel tired enough to try again.
Try not to watch TV in bed.
Consider adding a salt lamp to your bedroom. The warm glow is comforting and soothing.
Stop all food and beverage intake two hours before bedtime.
Get up at the same time each day (yes, Saturday and Sunday, too), to help the body find its natural rhythm.
Avoid naps, which can give you too much energy and discourage you from getting the proper amount of shut eye when the time comes.
Does your bedroom need a sleep makeover? Consider how the color of the walls, condition of the mattress and type of comforter and pillows may be affecting your ability to get your best night’s sleep.
Avoid alcohol and cigarettes in the evening, which can disrupt sleep.
Try a light snack before bed that will allow the body’s sugar levels to remain at a healthy level through the night.
Cut out and greatly decrease caffeine intake, especially in the evenings.