How to rekindle your love affair with sleep
- Mel’s weekly product picks:
6 Natural sleep aids
- Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
Sleep Tight Tonic
Most everyone knows they should be getting more sleep—that’s a no-brainer. But knowing doesn’t necessarily translate into doing.
Getting adequate sleep is the most important thing you can do for your health—even more important than proper nutrition and exercise.
When it comes to being sleep deprived, you don’t know what you don’t know. What I mean by that is, just because you feel perfectly fine on four, five or six hours of sleep, doesn’t mean it’s OK. In fact, I guarantee that if you committed to getting at least seven hours of sleep each night for one week, you would never again settle for less. Why? Because you’d feel like a rock star! Everything in your life gets better when your body is properly rested.
For the record, due to a genetic mutation, only one percent (that’s 1%) of the population can get by on less than seven hours of sleep. Hint…it’s probably not you!
Chances are, if you aren’t getting a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night, one of three reasons is to blame:
- You haven’t made sleep a priority.
- You find it difficult to fall asleep.
- You fall asleep with ease, but have trouble staying asleep.
Whatever the reason you’re cheating on your relationship with sleep, here are six tips to help you rekindle your love affair with a peaceful night’s rest.
Tip #1: Turn down the lights
This may seem like an obvious one, but did you know that light suppresses the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep and wake cycles? Before climbing into bed, take steps to turn down the lights and make your bedroom a calm, quiet and dark space. This includes not exposing yourself to bright lights from the TV, e-readers and your cell phone at least thirty minutes prior to getting into bed.
Tip #2: Turn down the heat
A cool bedroom is key to getting a good night’s sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 65 degrees and says that sleep is actually disrupted when temperatures rise above 75 degrees or fall below 54 degrees.
Tip #3: Prioritize sleep like you prioritize hygiene
You wouldn’t think of leaving the house without brushing your teeth, would you? It’s time to recommit to sleep by rearranging your schedule to get just thirty minutes more shut-eye each night. Then gradually bump it up in 30-minute intervals until you reach 7-8 hours. This may mean you turn off the TV a little sooner or save the laundry until tomorrow. Treat sleep as if your life depends on it…because it does!
Tip #4: Be cautious of caffeine
A caffeine jolt in the late afternoon or early evening can seriously disrupt your sleep. Vow to avoid caffeinated beverages and foods after 3 pm. These include chocolate, coffee (including decaf), non-herbal teas (green, black, and white teas), energy drinks and waters, soda and mocha, coffee or chocolate-flavored ice creams. If you are especially sensitive to caffeine, you may want to consider an earlier quit time.
Tip #5: Wind down your mind
To help calm your mind, try meditating, listening to soothing music, or reading a non-work related book, like poetry, a biography, a novel or spiritual text. Here’s what I’m currently reading! You’ll be more likely to settle into a restful sleep if you do these activities at least 30 minutes before bed. Note: Blue light from computers and e-readers suppresses melatonin, which is especially bad for sleep. Choose only physical books to read before bed.
Tip #6: Consider natural sleep aids
Instead of reaching for sleeping pills—which can leave you feeling groggy and out-of-sorts the next day—try a natural sleep aid. I don’t let an evening go by without taking my magnesium supplement. Another favorite bedtime ritual of mine is sipping on a cup of Nighty Night tea. Any one of the natural sleep aids featured in this week’s product picks can help you in your quest for more rest. Also, check out this week’s recipe pick for a natural and effective sleep tonic made with three simple ingredients.
Mel’s weekly product picks:
6 Natural sleep aids
- Magnesium: Known as the “relaxation” mineral.
- Holy Basil: An herbal supplement that creates a sense of calm by lowering anxiety.
- Valerian Root: A popular herbal solution to improve sleep quality and relieve insomnia.
- L-Theanine: A relaxing amino acid found in matcha tea and available as a supplement. Clinical studies have shown L-Theanine to induce a sense of calm in patients with anxiety. At typical dosages (i.e. 100-200 mg), L-Theanine does not act as a sedative, but it does significantly improve sleep quality.
- Sleep-Promoting Herbal Teas: Traditional Medicinals Nighty Night Tea; Traditional Medicinals Chamomile with Lavender Tea; Traditional Medicinals Cup of Calm Tea; Yogi Bedtime Tea; Yogi Calming Tea
- Lavender: Smelling this calming herb can help you relax by slowing your heart rate, decreasing blood pressure and lowering skin temperature. Put a few drops in a diffuser and get ready to drift off into a blissful, deep sleep.
Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
Sleep Tight Tonic
There’s something about the combination of apple cider vinegar and honey that creates a sedative effect in the body. Here’s how it works:
Apple cider vinegar (I like Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar) releases tryptophan in the body, which is an essential amino acid that can be converted into serotonin. Serotonin— known as the “happy chemical”— is an important neurotransmitter that regulates mood and sleep.
Honey releases serotonin, which the body converts into melatonin, a chemical compound that regulates the length and quality of sleep. Use raw honey when possible, as it contains more vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phytonutrients than processed honey.
The combination of the two, mixed in a hot cup of water, makes for a perfect relaxing evening tonic. Drink it as part of your nightly bedtime ritual and soon you will be sound asleep.