How To Sleep Better [3 Simple Steps to Wake Up Feeling Rested]
How To Sleep Better [3 Simple Steps]
When it comes to quality sleep, I’m sure most people agree they want to sleep better in one way or another. I recently did a poll on Instagram and 73% of our followers said they do fall asleep easily, 55% said they stay asleep the whole night and 89% said they do not wake up feeling rested. That tells us something and I’m here to share some important steps that can help you get a more restful sleep. Although more than half of people voted they stay asleep the whole night, the majority do not wake feel rested.
Personally, I have never had trouble with my sleep until I became a mom in 2018. Of course the newborn stage and sleep do not go hand in hand! Aside from that stage, there are other anxieties that surround being a new parent, “is my baby okay? is my baby sleeping on their stomach? is it too hot or too cold in their room?” But whether you are a new parent or not, stressors can significantly impact the quality of your sleep. These stressors do not allow you to get into a deep sleep cycle.
Why You Do Not Fall Asleep Easily
I’m sure most people will agree and say that the cause of them not falling asleep easily is that their “mind is not able to turn off.” Aside from recognizing this, how a person handles their stress is very important. If this is you, identify what your nighttime routine consists of and ask yourself these questions:
- How much time do I allocate to winding down?
- What do I do to wind down?
- How do I help my mind to wind down?
- Do I have caffeine in the afternoon that causes me to struggle falling asleep or staying asleep?
What you can do to fall asleep more smoothly:
- Put away your phone and stop online/social communication (emails, social media, texting) at least 30 minutes before bed (more ideally). Not only does the brightness from the screen impact your melatonin production, it also continues to stimulate your mind.
- Stop drinking caffeinated beverages by lunch noon. Caffeine, as a nervous system stimulant, can have a long-lasting effect for some people more than others. It also affects your circadian rhythm by activating your central nervous system and increasing alertness. Part of improving your sleeping pattern is also re-establishing your circadian rhythm (we will talk more about this).
- Fix your disrupted circadian rhythm. High stress lifestyles or doing things before bed that can cause acute stress increase cortisol levels in the body and increase your alertness. A natural circadian rhythm should have low levels of cortisol in the blood by bedtime to help promote sleep (essentially your adrenal glands are not over-stimulated and give the “ok” for your body to rest).
Why You Do Not Stay Asleep
There are a few different methods that can help you pinpoint why you wake up at night in the first place. I like to follow both the traditional Chinese organ clock as well as referencing your circadian rhythm.
Firstly, identify your sleeping patterns:
- Do you wake up at the same time each night?
- Do you wake up to use the bathroom? Is this a reoccurring habit or can you prevent this?
- Do you wake up and fall back asleep?
- Do you wake up and notice your mind is stimulated? Do you have a hard time falling back asleep?
It is important to identify which of the above questions you resonate most with.
The Chinese organ clock helps pinpoint which organ naturally detoxifies during a particular time in the night. For example:
- The liver primarily detoxifies roughly between 1am – 3am. If you wake up between these hours regularly, your liver is struggling to detoxify.
- Or, if you wake up between the hours of 11pm – 1am, the gallbladder is working hard and can be impacted. In Chinese medicine, the organ detoxifying also symbolizes an emotional state. For example, if you wake up between 1-3am when your liver naturally detoxifies, you may be experiencing suppressed anger or unusually high levels of stress.
- The lungs detoxify around 3-5am. The emotions connected to the lungs are sadness and grief.
Eat Well, Fall Asleep Quickly and Still Wake Up Tired?
Chronic fatigue and sleeping disorders can be rooted in other issues. Cortisol levels, your thyroid and other chronic health issues can influence this. If you feel like you’ve tried everything, are able to sleep throughout the night, eat well and still manage to wake up feeling unrested, try getting your thyroid and cortisol levels tested and go from there.
We highly recommend also honing in on your digestion. Poor digestion does not allow vital nutrients to be properly absorbed. The problem then, is that deficiencies arise and nutrients needed to support proper sleep are disturbed. Poor digestion and poor dietary choices (including eating too much in the evening) can cause digestive stress. When this happens, your body spends much of the night trying to digest your food as opposed to resting. Many people will notice a profound difference when they eat lighter dinners.
3 Simple Steps To Get A Better Sleep
Before adding in supplementation, try making these changes set out below. I also recommend identifying what time you wake up regularly (if this applies to you) and see the Chinese organ clock above. You can also book a free consultation to discuss your needs with a licensed practitioner.
- Eat your carbs. Complex, unrefined carbohydrates are helpful for the amino acid tryptophan to reach the brain. This is important because tryptophan is converted into serotonin and eventually melatonin.
- Bed-time routine. Do you have one? Try putting away your phone or technology; and save the emails. A proper bed time routine can help improve your circadian rhythm and promote a more restful sleep.
- Eating window. Try not to eat at least 2 hours before bed. Aside from food giving you energy which can be another factor, your GI tract will be busy digesting food which can impact your quality of sleep.
Dietary Needs + Supplements That Can Support A Restful Sleep + More Energy Throughout The Day
- Magnesium – Magnesium is a great muscle relaxer. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system that can promote and encourage a more restful sleep. Magnesium is also great to help with bowel regulation by relaxing the GI tract and intestinal system. This supplement is best taken at night for optimal results.
- Vitamin D3 (For energy during the day).