I hear this every day from patients in the office so I have decided to write a quick and easy list of tips to help you get the quality of sleep you need each night. If you don’t realize all the risk associated with sleep deprivation, check out my other article on the effects here.
“Sleep is extremely important to me – I need to rest and recover in order for the training I do to be absorbed by my body” –Usain Bolt
Dietary choices and sleep are the key to good health
- Increase the amount of healthy fats in your diet, especially at dinner to feed every cell in your body (including your brain) while you heal during sleep. Omega-3 from fish oil, aids in serotonin release which will help you get better sleep.
- Cut out caffeine in the afternoon and evening.
- Try 1 tsp of raw honey (not conventional honey which has had the bee pollen filtered out) combined with 1 tsp of MCT oil (better option) or coconut oil. I’ve received great feedback from the use of this combination.
- Ensure adequate vitamin D levels through sleep and supplementation – I recommend getting regular blood work done to test your levels.
- If you supplement with vitamin D, take in the morning only as it interacts with melatonin negatively.
- Track your sleep for a week using a sleep app; I use Sleep Cycle.
Start following some of the dietary tips listed above, and see how you feel. Note the difference objectively in the quality of sleep.
Some other tips to improve the quality of your sleep
- To encourage a normal sleep and wake cycle, and proper bodily response to melatonin. Try watching the sunrise for maximal morning alertness, and watching the sunset for maximal evening drowsiness.
- Try to go to bed before 11pm to avoid ‘second-wind’ associated with cortisol surge.
- Get blackout curtains for every room.
- Cover your alarm clock to minimize blue light
- Download program f.lux if you are on your electronic device or computer at night. Blue light from any device will affect your sleep and wake cycle.
- You could wear amber lenses at home to minimize blue light in the evening until going to bed.
- Add amber or low blue lights for night lights for children looking for washroom or for mom when nursing so sleep is not disrupted with conventional light bulbs.
- Minimize stress with box breathing and transcendental meditation which have been shown to decrease the amount of sleep needed, and restorative yoga.
- Avoid vigorous exercise two hours prior to sleep.
- Walk barefoot on grass when possible.
- Consider a sleep induction mat.
- Review my other article for proper sleep positioning to avoid aches and pain.