How to Improve Your Sleep Routine

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Daylight savings is here. Are y’all ready to set your clock back on Saturday night?
What do you plan to do with your extra hour on Sunday?
I’m from Arizona where we don’t subscribe to Daylight Savings. I’m not 100% on board with this phenom, but no one is asking my opinion on the manner (ha)! 
Nevertheless, I plan to get some extra ZZZZZZZ’s on Saturday night and I’m hoping our kids are on the same page {because #momlife}. 
I believe getting enough sleep is the most important contribution I can make for my mental and physical health. And that’s saying a lot, because I look to nutrition and exercise to improve most of my ailments! 

Sleep is When The Body Heals Itself. The Ultimate form of Self Care!

I can feel it! When I protect and honor my sleep routine I’m giving a gift to myself!
When I’m well rested almost every aspect of my life is better and leading experts agree! 
According to Dr. Nate Watson, a professor of neurology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, “We live in a society where the CDC considers sleep deprivation to be a public health epidemic. Easily a third of the population isn’t regularly getting the recommended 7+ hours of sleep, necessary for optimal health. So taking that into consideration, I would recommend that people use the extra hour to get additional sleep over daylight savings” (1)

 

How can we prioritize sleep and put this into practice? As we head into the weekend, here are some tips to optimize your sleep schedule. 

1. Protect Your Bedtime Routine

I bet for your children, bedtime is rock solid! Bath, brush teeth, story time, and lights out! For many parents, the adult version of bedtime looks more like this. Laptop open with tomorrow’s looming deadline, overhead lights on full blast, and a binge worthy TV show on in the background. All while cruising social media on your phone, and trying to catch up with your partner. Sounds relaxing, right?
Wrong! These activities all stimulate the brain, giving off what is known as Blue Light.
Blue light boosts alertness and tells our bodies it’s time to wake, even if it’s 10:00 PM!
“This artificial light activates photoreceptors called intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs), which suppresses Melatonin”. (2)

We need our body to produce, not suppress Melatonin at night. Melatonin is sort of like Mr. Sandman. It puts our body in a relaxed state, prompting sleep and hopefully sweet dreams naturally.

 

2. Put Down Your Phone

You know that beloved thing that has become an extension of your hand? It may be your BFF all day, but at night it’s associated with so many mental disruptions that may be robbing you of sleep. The very sight of it reminds you of work, bills, your calendar, social media & group texts. (AHHHH!!!) All of these task-centric distractions signaled at night give your body and brain a second wind. Spiking your cortisol, stimulating your brain and putting your body into “fight or flight” right before you plan to hit the pillow. Ever notice how you suddenly have the urge to organize the pantry at 9:00 PM, even though you were exhausted during your kids’ final story just an hour prior! Do yourself a favor and STOP using your tech devices at least two hours before bedtime. If you rely on your phone as your morning alarm clock. Buy a basic $10 alarm clock on your next Target run!

3. Take an Epsom Salt Bath

I love to grab my favorite book, light a candle and relish in a relaxing bath before bed time. It really sets the mood for a good night sleep! If you need help relaxing, try a meditation app like Calm. They offer a free trial if you aren’t ready to commit! 

4. Keep Your Home Dark & Cool At Night

Simulate darkness in the evening by using dim lights to set the stage for your sleep cycle. When artificial or sunlight gets into your brain, melatonin levels go down which can disrupt your natural sleep rhythm. Instead of turning on the light when you head to the restroom in the middle of the night. Navigate yourself there in the dark and head right back to bed!
As for temperature, 68 degrees has been shown to be the best temp for falling and staying asleep!

5. Invest in a Weighted Blanket 

Y’all I can’t tell you how much a weighted blanket has saved my sleep. I used to get up a couple times in the middle of the night and now I don’t! It has the same soothing effect we give our newborns when we swaddle them. I bought this one on Prime Day and it has been a total game changer! 

6. Get Some Vitamin D During the Daytime

Exposure to sunlight is most beneficial in the morning just after waking. Aim to spend between 30-45 minutes getting direct sunlight exposure when possible. It helps set your Circadian Rhythm which will be helpful as your body adjusts to the time change. 

After I sleep in on Sunday, I’m planning to head out for a run for a good dose of Vitamin D! The crisp fall weather this weekend is my favorite running weather! 

Hope this info helps you get a few more ZZZZ’s!

Happy Friday!!! XOXO

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Cortney

Oh hey there!

Welcome to Happy Dinner! I’m Cortney, a Holistic Health Coach, wellness entrepreneur, wife and Mama of two, here to make holistic health simple and engaging!

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