They say it takes 40 days to start healthy habits, but we have to do the work to sustain them. We become healthier once we live healthier lifestyles. That means incorporating little tidbits to improve and evolve daily: cooking and meal prepping instead of solely relying on Uber Eats, getting some Vitamin D within an hour of rising, and starting and ending the day with a good book instead of aimlessly scrolling through social media. We could all use a health boost, so here are some helpful tips for when you need to reset your sleep routine.
1. Wake Up and Sleep at the Same Time Daily
Like proper nutrition, sleep is also one of nature’s best gifts — one we often take for granted. Getting adequate sleep — anywhere between 7-9 hours a night — is the foundation for our overall health. Sleep affects the way we function — physically, mentally, and emotionally — and sets the tone for how our day will commence. Think about it: the more well-rested you are, the better you will feel and function.
The best thing you can do to improve your sleep habits is by waking up and sleeping at the same time daily, weekends included. Again, it takes 40 days to start healthy habits, so go about this one gradually.
Map out your daily or weekly schedule to see what it’s like and base your wake-up and sleep call time off of that. You will ideally want to get up at least one to two hours before going about your day, so you have time to accomplish things before work or class. Set your alarm for 6:50 or 7 to start and gradually decrease to increments of 10. Come nighttime? Pass out anywhere between 10-11 to ensure you get a good night’s sleep.
When I have trouble feeling “tired” I like to take 2 of our 3000mg CBD Deep Sleep Capsules which give me that eyes heavy ready for bed feeling.
Get Some Sun and Fix Your Body Clock
Have you ever heard the term “Circadian Rhythm” before? It essentially refers to the body’s sleep-wake cycle or inner clock, and works with the brain to regulate bodily functions like your temperature, hormones, appetite, and metabolism, and helps lower stress levels when we feel moody and off-balance.
Contrary to popular belief, the sun isn't the enemy. Similar to food and drinks, having it in excess isn’t good whatsoever. However, when properly utilized, there’s so much it can offer health-wise.
Early morning sun exposure - at least 5-30 minutes upon waking up - is the recommended time frame to ensure you are resetting your body without worrying about the possible damage. The body absorbs the UV Rays. This, in turn, produces Vitamin D, which affects your bones, immune system, and mineral intake. It’s especially beneficial for those who are Vitamin D deficient.
More importantly, the sun’s light sets the body’s internal clock, which affects sleep. Spending time outdoors and getting much-needed Vitamin D aids in the production of serotonin, which later converts to melatonin. Think twice before you plan on spending the entire indoors and get outside instead. Your mind and body will thank you later!
3. Eat Smaller Meals
Food is fuel. The body converts it to energy, which helps fuel your daily activities and recovery period. What we put in our bodies affects our overall well-being. The healthier you eat, the better you feel. However, it’s just as important to consider the “how much” and “how often” factors as well.
We were encouraged to eat three to four meals — breakfast, lunch, a snack, and dinner — daily. But, some say breaking those meals to five or six might be better. Eating frequent meals in smaller portions helps boost the metabolism and curb hunger pangs. It prevents you from overindulging and promotes weight loss, too. Moreover, those factors aside, you’ll notice an increase in energy levels and experience fewer mood swings.
4. Eat Less Come Nighttime
“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” Again, food is fuel. It’s important to strategize your meal consumption for more optimal sleep. A hormone called insulin is released upon eating, and the body converts it to energy. It, in turn, affects the circadian rhythm, the body’s sleep-wake cycle, because it alerts the brain when to wake up and fall asleep.
Eating heavier during the day is better because we are up and about. However, some people do the opposite: eating light during the day and their heaviest meal at night. Excessive eating when you’re least active leads to a spike in blood sugar, and the additional calories may turn into stored fat. It contributes to weight gain, ￼and the cycle will continue until habits start changing.
Word to the wise next time you have trouble falling asleep at night? Consume more food earlier in the day and less at night.
5. Avoid Caffeinated Food and Drinks Past Noon
Did you know that coffee isn’t the only beverage that contains caffeine? You heard that right! Popular household snacks and drinks like cacao nibs, chocolate bars, (occasionally) ice cream, soda, and brewed and hot tea contain caffeine. No one knows how much caffeine is in store-bought food and drinks. It can be anywhere between five to close to a thousand milligrams, depending on personal consumption. Your body quickly absorbs the caffeine, which takes effect within thirty minutes to an hour. It affects adenosine, a substance that plays a vital role in sleep regulation.
Not to be confused with melatonin, this sleep-promoting substance builds up the longer we’re awake and makes us sleepier come nighttime. When excessively consumed, caffeine prevents us from sleeping when we should, thus affecting the body’s circadian rhythm: its internal clock.
Another thing to keep in mind before reaching for more? Half of it stays in your body after six hours. Let’s say you have your first cup at 11 am. The caffeine then remains in your system until 5 pm. Interesting, right? Word to the wise, (gradually) limit your caffeine intake and never have it in the afternoon.
6. Get Moving
Exercise, whether it’s in the form of a morning jog or mid-afternoon pick-up game of basketball, tires you out. The more exhausted you are, the easier it is to fall asleep at night. The more rested you are, the more energized you’ll feel the following morning.
Exercise is the safest way to help you fall asleep at night, and you can easily reap its benefits. Try switching up your routine and go for a morning run instead of doing Zumba. Sunlight activates the circadian rhythm, the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
Another benefit? It tremendously helps when your mental health isn’t at its best. The body releases endorphins and dopamine, which boost happiness and help combat stress and anxiety. In addition to that, your memory retention increases, and you’ll perform better at work and school.
With a new year, comes a new set of challenges. Let 2022 be the year you prioritize your health and start sleeping better!