We have a unique relationship to say the least. Ever since I was kid I’ve been a really ‘great’ sleeper. I am a DEEP sleeper and nothing (I mean NOTHING) wakes me up in the middle of the night. I mean in regards to loud noises, accidents outside my window, police sirens, or Ella barking at random things. During the hours I am sleeping…I am OUT.
With that said, I DO wake up a lot during the night. I noticed this even more so when I started to wear my Fitbit to bed and was able to track my awake vs. restless periods during the night. Unfortunately, these are a lot more frequent than I would like and I can definitely feel them affecting how rested I feel the next day. I have a feeling my racing mind and anxiety issues have something to do with it. I definitely have trouble ‘turning off’ my brain, if you know what I mean.
Recently I’ve been feeling a little more tired and fatigued during the day (maybe the business of school and work are catching up with me!), so I decided to look into how I could set myself up for a better night sleep. Through my research I found some great tips for getting my BEST NIGHT OF SLEEP EVER! I’ve tried all the traditional stuff so I was happy to see some alternative methods for getting a good night’s rest. You can only try warm milk and sleepy time tea so many times, ya know?
I figured I am not the only one who struggles with getting a quality night of sleep sometimes, so I thought it would be idea to share the five best tips I found with all of you!
Create the Right Environment
Despite my love of being nice and toasty at night (especially in the winter!), I’ve learned that it’s best to sleep in a nice COLD environment. This means I had to (reluctantly) say goodbye to my heated blanket and embrace the crisp, coolness of my sheets and pillows. Thermoregulation, essentially our body’s heat distribution system, has a lot to do with our sleep cycle. At night our core temperature drops to its lowest level, so by keeping your room cold you’re mimicking that natural temperature decrease. Studies show the optimal temperature to sleep in is between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Eat to Sleep
I can get on board with this! As you know, I eat a HUGE snack before I go to bed at night. I love going to bed with a full stomach and I often feel like I’m lulled to sleep easier once I’ve had my snack. When you eat a meal or snack, the hormone leptin signals the body that it’s satisfied, while ghrelin let’s us know when we’re hungry. Science shows that if we have enough leptin in our system we are better able to sleep through the night and not be awoken with hunger or low blood sugar. I can’t tell you the last time I’ve woken up in the middle of the night with hunger pangs! Choosing certain types of foods can help also. Carbohydrate rich snacks are best because they increase the body’s production of tryptophan which can aid sleep. Protein is harder to digest on the other hand so you don’t want to load up on that. YAY carbs!
Don’t Stay in Bed
This was a totally new idea for me! Usually when I wake up in the middle of the night, I just try to lay there as still as possible, clear my mind, and try not to get distracted. I try to FOCUS on falling back asleep. Actually, this is the opposite of what you should be doing! Lying in bed and actively trying to fall asleep makes it harder and creates anxiety. Instead, sit up, change your position or the room you’re in, try listening to peaceful music or reading, and then try falling back asleep. Best case scenario, you’ll naturally fall asleep during whatever activity you’ve decided to try.
Stretch Before Slumber
Some stretching or light yoga can help you calm your nervous system AND relax your muscles before crawling into bed. At the end of the day your body is tight and tense from a long day of use. Stretching slows down your mind and your body naturally. It will help you slip into an easy rate of breathing and prepare your body for rest. Check out these suggested stretches before you go to bed tonight!
Wake Up Calmly
I’ve use my phone to wake me up and have always chosen a BLARING ALARM noise. It jolts me awake in the morning and ensures I get up…or so I thought. In reality, it’s actually bad for your body, physically, mentally, and neurologically, to be startled awake in the morning. It starts your day in a stressful state and sets you up for a day of tension and unease. If you’re getting enough quality sleep at night, you may not even require an alarm clock! I am still using an alarm to wake up in the morning, but I’ve chosen a softer, more gentle noise that progressively gets a bit louder if I don’t wake up right away. Much better.
By implementing these few simple tips and tricks, I can honestly say I’ve felt a difference in my sleep cycle and restfullness! In addition to that, I have some quantitative data from my Fitbit that has indicated less times a awake and less restfulness. So that’s pretty exciting! It’s good to see new healthy habits actually resulting in positive benefits.
Another thing I’ve tried besides these helpful tips? This new-to-me product called Dormiva from Difass USA! I’ve never been someone to reach for a sleeping medication, but this all natural sleeping supplement is formulated with sleep supportive ingredients from an Italian recipe and doesn’t have any of the potential side effects that a medicated product has (you’ve heard the horror stories!).Dormiva is a unique combination of L-tryptophan & melatonin (which help you fall asleep fast) as well as Sensoril® (a combination of ashwagandha root and leaf extract) & hops extract for calming effects that last the whole night. I wake up refreshed and energized after taking this….not sluggish and certainly well rested.I also like the fact that Vitamin B6, magnesium, and zinc are incorporated into the formula. These are essential nutrients of course…but did you know they also support restful sleep? So bravo to Difass for including them. Also, Dormiva doesn’t take anytime to build up in your system (worked on the first night for me!) and it’s non-habit forming, so no need to worry!From my personal experience, I definitely recommend this product by Difass. If you’re interested in their other products (they have ones for stress and memory as well!) or the research behind them, definitely check out their site! Lots of good info there. 🙂
Are you a light or heavy sleeper?
Do you have any special tricks for falling back asleep if you wake up?
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