In today’s time of endless business and never ending lists of things to do, getting enough sleep is a constant challenge for everyone. It is during sleep that your body heals and repairs itself, and lack of sleep is linked to an increased risk of numerous diseases including heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and getting a stroke.
In the practice of functional medicine, we believe that one cannot be truly healthy without getting enough sleep. Here are some simple bedtime hacks to getting a good night’s sleep.
1. Make your bedroom a place for sleep.
Avoid doing work, watching TV, or tinkering with your phone right before bed. Try to completely unplug from your devices. Try to keep your room as dark as possible or use low-blue lighting. If you can’t sleep, get out of bed.
2. Relax and create bedtime rituals.
Have a cup of tea or create a set of pre-bedtime rituals like brushing your teeth and turning down your bed in the same order every night. This helps relax you and gets your mind in the right space for sleep. Some start as early as 2 hours before bed.
3. Avoid caffeine after 2pm, big meals before bed, and strenuous workouts within 2 hours of sleeping.
This might be especially challenging for those who need an afternoon pick-me-up or those who are fond of big dinners out or working out at night to get tired enough for bed. Try switching to green tea as a less caffeinated alternative and avoid heavy carbs and excessive alcohol at dinnertime. As for workouts, relaxing or moderate workouts may in fact be good for helping you sleep more deeply, but try to avoid demanding workouts so as not to raise your body temperature, which may make it harder to doze off.
4. Ask your doctor about supplements (not sleeping pills!) that aid with better sleep quality.
There are completely natural ways to help you catch those zzz’s. Ask your doctor about melatonin, valerian, passion flower, and magnesium. Eating low-mercury fish, seafood at dinner, krill oil or 1 tablespoon of honey before bedtime have also been shown to help.
5. Track your sleep and adjust.
Download a sleep app or keep a sleep diary wherein you note the time you went to sleep and, once you wake up, the quality and length of sleep. This will help you determine what the best time is for you to hit the sack.
Have you been experiencing problems sleeping or poor sleep quality? Schedule an appointment with one of our doctors today by calling 828-LIFE or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.