One in three Americans don’t get enough sleep – 7 to 9 hours is the recommendation, which many of us struggle to meet. Lack of sleep can impact healthy brain function, as well as our emotional wellness (National Institute of Health). We spoke with Parsley Health’s Dr. Nisha Chellam, MD and Amanda Perin MS, RDN on how to unlock better sleep, and in turn, a healthier life!
Here are 5 Easy Steps to a Better Night’s Sleep!
1. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
Try to keep a consistent sleep schedule on both weekdays and weekends. Staying up late and sleeping in on the weekends can disrupt your body’s sleep and wake rhythm.
2. Take your cues from the sun
How do we master our sleep routine? Our bodies produce melatonin which helps regulate our sleep cycle. Melatonin reacts to both light and darkness, signaling to the brain when it’s time to wake and sleep. Every morning, open curtains or blinds to let in some sunshine. At sunset, slowly begin to turn off the lights.
At around one hour before bedtime, turn off any blue light devices, or change them to night mode, emitting a yellow hue instead and helping limit the high-energy rays of blue light. Blue light can increase cortisol production and decrease melatonin. This directly affects your circadian rhythm. It can lead to you waking up in the middle of the night, or not feeling rested in the morning. When it’s time to tuck in, your room should be as dark as possible.
3. Get to the right temperature
Taking a hot bath or shower before bed helps the body prepare for sleep. Heating up your body then gradually allowing it to return to normal cools the inner core and helps melatonin rise, getting the body ready for sleep. The optimum sleeping temperature is between 60 and 67º F. Regulating both your body temperature, and the temperature of your home, will set you up for sleepy success each day.
4. Time to wind down
Use the hour before bed for quiet time and relaxation. Developing a healthy wind down routine is key to unlocking better sleep. Reading, meditation, or relaxing music are all great ways to wind down each day.
If you feel you can’t turn your brain off, consider adding journaling to your night routine. This type of journaling can include writing down what you need to get done the next day, or things that you need to get off your mind from that day. Writing these things down can allow your brain to feel it has processed it, and doesn’t have to hold on and ruminate on them.
5. Go with your gut
A good night’s sleep has as much to do with your diet as it does with your screen time. Switching to a plant-based diet that’s higher in fiber and lower in sugar can be beneficial to your neurotransmitters that work to regulate your sleep. Making sure your gut health and digestion is good will help with sleep and melatonin production.
Drinking caffeine too late in the day can disrupt your sleep pattern, preventing you from achieving deep restorative sleep. It can also increase stress responses within the body. If you are finding that you are having an energy dip in the afternoon, try to look at what you are having for lunch and ensure you are getting enough protein, fat, fiber, and vegetables/greens.
Ensuring you are considering your blood sugar throughout the day is also imperative to your sleep. When we aren’t getting enough via food throughout the day, or there are drops in our blood sugar, it can cause cortisol to be released. If you find you are waking up at the same time each night, consider adding a bedtime snack of something containing protein, fat, and fiber to help stabilize blood sugar through the night. Plant foods like oats, chickpeas, seeds, nuts, and spirulina contain melatonin-producing amino acids that help you catch more zzz’s!
More Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep
You’ll be more energized!
Say goodbye to sugary drinks and 2PM crashes. Getting enough sleep each night will limit your need for stimulants like caffeine and help sustain your energy throughout the day.
Skin that glows!
Lack of sleep can lower your PH levels, which can cause dry skin. Pro tip - stay hydrated by keeping a glass of water on your bedside table to sip before bed or if you wake up in the night.
When we’re sleeping, blood flow increases in our skin, which helps rebuild collagen and repair damage from UV exposure. This can reduce wrinkles and age spots! Hence why a nighttime skincare regimen is important for your daily wind down routine to achieve glowing, healthy skin.
The average person spends 26 years of their life sleeping, so we might as well get the most out of it! Using these steps to maintain a healthy sleep routine will help you wake refreshed and set yourself up for the day!
Questions? Learn more about the 21-Day Splendid Reset here, or email us at [email protected]. Be sure to follow along with our 21 days of content on Instagram @splendid.spoon! Interested in getting started? Sign up for a plan today to start reaching your goals!