There is a reason sleep deprivation is a form of torture! Sleep is paramount to overall health and wellness. The body and mind can’t function without it. But for many people, sleep can be elusive and problematic. Before you pop a pill, some simple adjustments may make all the difference.
Melatonin is a sleep-inducing hormone naturally produced by the body as the day fades into night. There are ways to increase your melatonin naturally. According to an article for Johns Hopkins Medicine, keeping lights low at night, getting bright light or sun exposure during the day, and avoiding blue light from screens such as smart phones and TVs at night help signal the body to produce melatonin naturally. Blue light interferes with the body’s ability to produce melatonin, so definitely monitor TV and phone use before bed. Melatonin supplements are another simple way to get a boost of the hormone before bed.
A study published in Nutrients reviewed research on vitamin D’s effect on sleep, finding that a vitamin D deficiency was linked to unhealthy sleep and sleep disorders. Vitamin D is relatively easy to get if you live in warmer climates. Just spend time outdoors. The body naturally produces vitamin D with sun exposure. If you live in a cold climate, a supplement can provide necessary vitamin D. Here are some great tips on how to get your daily dose of vitamin D for strength and sleep!
Food and Drink
There are quite a few food and drink rules for optimum sleep according to the Healthline. Don’t eat late at night; it negatively impacts melatonin production. Don’t drink alcohol before bed, because it also alters melatonin production in the body. Don’t drink caffeine late in the day (for obvious reasons). Add foods that help produce melatonin and promote sleep. Research published in Nutrients found melatonin levels were high in eggs, fish, milk, grapes, cherries, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, and pistachios, to name a few. Consider adding these foods to your diet to increase melatonin levels in the body naturally. You can find more great tips in TurboCharged: The SilverDisobedience Edition.
Is there anything exercise doesn’t help with?! From mental health, to weight management, heart health, and longevity, exercise is one prescription we should all be taking daily. Exercise is also essential for good sleep. The National Sleep Foundation states that regular exercise, especially in the morning or afternoon, is extremely beneficial for restful nighttime sleep. Exercise raises the body temperature so that when the body temperature drops down in the evening, it signals to the body that it’s time to sleep. However, exercising in the evening can have an adverse effect because the body doesn’t have time to down-regulate the temperature, signaling sleep. An article published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine even states that exercise is an “attractive nonpharmacologic treatment option for disturbed sleep.”
Relax before bed. Take a bath. Unplug. Read a book. Turn off the TV, and dim the lights. Make sure your bed is comfortable. If your mind is spinning on stress, try meditating to clear your head before you close your eyes for sleep. The National Sleep Foundation suggests journaling to get out all the things that are causing stress, working through your thoughts to free your mind for sleep. Do whatever gives you a sense of peace before you shut your eyes.
Read a Book
Lastly, turn off your computer. Remove it from your room. Get back to basics with a book! Consider reading something soothing and comforting like: The Silver Disobedience Playbook.
Make these simple adjustments and you could be on your way to a better night’s sleep!