restful sleep

Sleep is an often ignored but key factor in your overall well-being. Yet, so many of us struggle to get enough restful sleep each night. It may feel like your head hitting the pillow activates a switch in your brain to worry about the past, present, and future all at once. You may fall asleep nice and easy but wake up a few hours later to your mind chatting and can't go back to sleep... or you have slept all night and wake up in the morning not feeling refreshed.

If any of those are a familiar situation for you, read on to discover how to enjoy restful sleep each night.

The Importance Of Sleeping

Though it’s one of the most crucial elements to good health, sleep is unfortunately one of the most undervalued parts of modern schedules. Living in a busy world, we often sacrifice sleep for other pursuits like work, family responsibilities, and even technological distractions.

Sleep is not a passive time when your entire body rests, but rather a critical time of dynamic and important changes. Virtually all bodily systems are impacted by the amount of sleep you get. Some vital functions that occur during sleep include:
  • Cell renewal and healing
  • Tissue repair, skin regeneration, and wound healing
  • Immune cell replenishment and antibody creation
  • Memory consolidation
  • New brain pathways are formed, and brain metabolites are cleared
  • Metabolism and appetite regulation
  • Release of growth hormone to boost muscle mass
  • Mood regulation
  • Restoration of nervous, immune, and musculoskeletal systems function

how Eating well can help you sleep? 

Eating right doesn’t just improve your physical health, it also leads to healthy sleeping. The best foods for your total health are also good for restful sleep. Indeed, what you eat has a dramatic effect on how you sleep. Eating foods rich in fiber and low in saturated fats can help you fall asleep faster and increase the amount of deep sleep you get during the night. Too much sugar during the day may increase your middle of the night wakeups. Foods that contain high levels of B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and polyunsaturated fatty acids can help regulate melatonin—a hormone made by the pineal gland that plays a role in sleep—production.  You can even boost your melatonin levels by eating foods that naturally contain melatonin, like barley, rice, olive oil, walnuts, and tomatoes.

Foods with good levels of B vitamins: leafy greens, salmon, eggs, legumes, and sunflower seeds.
Foods with good levels of magnesium: dark chocolate, avocados, seeds, nuts, whole grains, and legumes.
Foods with good levels of zinc: Legumes, seeds, nuts, whole grains, sweet potatoes, kale, green beans, dark chocolate. 
Foods with good levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids: walnuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, fish.

Set a Schedule! 

Your body prefers to follow a consistent sleep pattern, so setting a bedtime schedule is key to restful sleep.
Your hypothalamus regulates your sleep wake cycle and internal body clock to control your progression from wakefulness to sleepiness. While functioning optimally, the hypothalamus establishes a rhythm that causes you to get sleepy around the same time each evening and wake up in the morning about the same time each day. This rhythm is influenced by both internal (hormones, neurotransmitters, and genes) and external (sunlight, bright screens, meal timing, stimulant use) factors.

To avoid disrupting your sleep wake rhythm, you should establish a consistent routine and schedule each day.
  • Go to sleep and get up at the same time each day, even on weekends.
  • Avoid exposure to light (natural and from screens) about two hours before bedtime.
  • Finish meals a couple of hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid exercise within two hours of bedtime.
  • Do not nap during the day.
  • Sleep on a comfortable pillow and mattress.
  • Create a relaxing bedtime environment: diffuse calming oils—Serenity, Adaptiv, and Lavender are good options, take a warm bath with Epsom salts and Eucalyptus, massage your feet with Vetiver and Wild Orange, listen to relaxing music, and make the room temperature comfortable.

I hope I've addressed some of your questions about sleep. If you want me to help you take charge of your bedtime routine and create an individualized plan for you, click here to set up a time for a consultation.