In last week's newsletter, I briefly mentioned one of my lifestyle goals in 2015 was to improve sleep -- sounds easy, right? I mean, how hard can it be to lay horizontal and get some shut-eye? For me, it can be tough to shut off the workday mind, and enter my sleep time mind.
And similarly, for the majority of my clients, the rhetoric is such that sleep is a luxury, not a requirement, and is afforded only to a select few. Yet, we all recognize that a lack of sleep hinders and disrupts our health and mental focus throughout the day.
With that said, I'm happy to report I've seen HUGE improvements in my sleep quantity and quality within the past two weeks. Here are my 6 before-bed rituals that are making a difference:
- Finish eating 2-3 hours before bedtime: Provide ample time for food to digest and move things along into the small intestine. This can reduce symptoms of GERD and general discomfort associated with laying down and trying to sleep while digesting food.
- Turn off electronics 1 hour before bed: This is difficult, but so worth it. No phone, no computer, no bluelight. Or, if you need to be on the computer at night, try installing f.lux; it adapts and adjusts the display screen light based on the time of day. Or, try these super-hip glasses to block the blue light spectrum -- the spectrum that suppresses production of melatonin.
- Sip some tea: There are many nighttime sleep tea blends. I like concoctions with valerian root, chamomile or passionflower. Right now Traditional Medicinals, Nighty Night Valerian is my favorite.
- Magnesium supplement: I take magnesium citrate Natural Calm -- it's readily available, inexpensive and a tasty before-bed drink. Start with 1/2 teaspoon and gradually increase the dose, or else beware the laxative effect. If you're willing to spend a bit more, magnesium glycinate is a chelated form of magnesium and seems to provide higher levels of absorption.
- Plan tomorrow today: I continuously and diligently place effort in turning off my workday mind. I've found reviewing my schedule for the next day, writing down any notes or to-dos that may keep me up at night and just feeling prepared helps put my mind at ease.
- Gratitude: It's a little hippy-dippy, but along the lines of gratitude journaling, I like to recall one or two moments, people or thoughts that made me really happy to be alive today. It's a nice way to end the day.
These changes are mostly habit modifications, which I find to be the most difficult changes to implement.
Habits are hard, supplements are easy. Along that line, I hesitate to recommend supplements outside of magnesium and herbal blends. If you do any Dr. Googling or literary research, there's much debate over the effectiveness of L-tryptophan, 5-HTP and/or melatonin supplementation. If you're wanting to explore these supplements, talk with your doctor.
Time to turn off the computer, take some magnesium and say nighty night!