Why sleep is so important…
We’ve all had far too many days with not enough sleep. It sucks. It not only sets us up for a day without energy, but research is showing that our brain health is affected as well. Sleep seems to allow our brains to clear out the junk that accumulates during the day as well as properly store all the information we gathered throughout the day. With a great sleep, we can wake up early in a good mood and enjoy some quality time around the house before sprinting out the door.
Here are 5 things I’ve been doing that have allowed me to no longer rely on sleeping pills and wake up early feeling rested (when I practice them)…
Your Great Sleep Starts Here…
1. Exercise during the day. In the morning is best, so we’re not wired from it right before bed. Good, hard exercise during that day makes us naturally tired at night, and that’s the first trick. So find a buddy, join a team or simply go for a walk, but whatever you do get some exercise.
2. Avoid poor food and drink choices at night: high fat, high sugar, high protein, simple carbs, anything with caffein or alcohol, or any big meals late at night will either spike your blood sugar (sugar high!), require your digestive system to go on overdrive (so much for rest) or make you acidic which can lead to heartburn.
3) Eat and drink these sleep aiding foods and drinks:
Bananas: contain magnesium and potassium which are natural muscle-relaxants and tryptophan which can be converted into melatonin (a natural sleep aid)
Nuts and Seeds: in particular sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, etc. which have an ideal tryptophan to protein ratio, allowing more tryptophan to actually enter your brain
Calming Teas: especially Chamomile (my favourite) and Valerian both of which do not contain caffein
4) Make Sleep a Ritual: Set a time to turn off electronics, dim the lights (this actually helps) and just relax with a book or have a chat. This tells your brain to start calming down and mentally prepares you for a great sleep
5) Make a Sleep Routine: Set a bed time for yourself (you thought you grew out of those, didn’t you?!?) and stick to it as often as possible. Set your alarm at the same time each morning and before long you’ll naturally get tired around that time and falling asleep will become much easier, as will waking up and bouncing out of bed
Quality sleep is essential for high performance, it’s necessary for a balanced and good mood and it has so many more benefits over both the short and long term.
Try even just 1 or 2 of these tips for 3 days in a row and leave a question or comment below. I’ll be reviewing them personally and answering any questions you share.
Thanks for reading and I hope this has been helpful!
Until next time, Sleep Well and Keep Inspiring!
1) Listen to a 4 min audio clip on this topic here
2) LIVESTRONG Sleep Article (ADHD & Sleep, what to eat/avoid, many more) found here
3) Best and Worst Foods for Sleep found here
4) Deep Dive into Sleep Healthy (Harvard style) found here