8 Ways to Improve your Evening Routine for Better Sleep

8 Ways to Improve your Evening Routine for Better Sleep

Sleep

Spending too much time at night staring at the clock and counting sheep? Maybe you keep calculating how much time you’ll have to sleep as you watch the minutes slip away; 7 hours… 6 hours… Making yourself more stressed out and less likely to fall asleep!

Ensuring you get enough sleep is vital to helping your body recover from the stressors of the day and build your resilience against whatever may come. Unfortunately for many of us, we just aren’t logging the hours we need, and nothing is more frustrating than getting into bed, tossing and turning, and feeling like we’re wasting time staring into the darkness as sleep alludes us.

An evening routine and ritual can seriously help your system slow down and get ready to drift off to sleep. Our body needs this time to transition especially after we’ve been on the go all day. As a child, or with your own children, you probably had a nightly ritual that you went through before bed. So why do we tend to cut these routines out as we get older and just try to suddenly change from one activity to the next?

Your evening routine should be unique to you, and you should do the things you need to help yourself unwind. To help you get some ideas, check out my latest YouTube video with 8 different ways you can up-level your evening routine and help yourself fall asleep faster. Every minute counts!

Drop a comment below with which tip you’re going to try out tonight!

Tips to take to Bed for Better Sleep

Tips to take to Bed for Better Sleep

Sleep

In addition to nutrition, sleep is one of the most impactful things we can work on when it comes to our health.

It’s the time our body gets each day to rest and recover from all the stressors we face, and not only will it allow us to rejuvenate but it will also make us more resilient against that day-to-day stress.

Unfortunately so many of us don’t get in those 7- 9 recommended hours!

So if you’re unable to log the time that you need, let’s try and make the hours you do get as effective as possible.

5 Tips to Take to Bed for Better Sleep: 

1. The bed is for sleeping!

Your bed should be only for sleeping. If you’re doing other things, like binging Netflix, or answering those work emails from your bed, your body can start associating those activities with being there. Rather than falling asleep, your system might be getting stimulated to stay awake instead.  

I’m a big proponent of not having a TV in the bedroom, and if you charge your devices in another room and use instead a basic alarm clock, you can even keep the temptation out of the room to scroll and get absorbed in something other than sleep. 

If you have a hard time turning off a spinning mind at night and falling asleep, this is definitely something you should be looking into. It might take some time to break the negative connection your body has with the bed, but over time you should notice your sleep coming a bit easier! 

2. Have warm feet 

A study back in 1990 from the University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland, actually showed that people with warm feet were able to fall asleep around 15 minutes faster than those with cold feet. If you’re getting less than 7 hours in bed each night an extra 15 minutes can be a serious game changer!  

You can do this is a few different ways. The easiest is to just pull on a pair of warm cozy socks (maybe warmed on a heater beforehand?). But if that isn’t enough, you could use a hot water bottle under the covers at your feet. Or try a warm foot bath, maybe even add in some epsom salts and essential oils for ultimate relaxation!

3. Keep the room cool 

While it might seem a bit counter to tip #2, our body actually prefers a cooler ambient temperature during sleep. Having a lower temperature in your bedroom will help promote deeper sleep, so try and keep your room below 20C / 67F.

This doesn’t mean you have to be cold while you’re sleeping! You can still cozy up with all the blankets or the fuzziest PJs, but having the air temperature on the cooler side will just help your body with it’s own natural transition.

4. Get some blackout blinds

Light is what triggers our body to start producing cortisol in the morning to wake us up, so we don’t want to be getting triggered by it in the middle of the night! Most of us don’t live in the middle of nowhere, so street lights, car lights, or maybe your neighbours motion detector lights (this one is me!) can shine right into your room. 

Especially if you’re finding that the overall quality of your sleep isn’t great, then this one is for you. Extra light coming into the room could be the cause of your not falling into a deeper level of sleep. So get those blackout blinds to keep any pesky extra light out!

5. Use a white noise machine

A white noise machine is a sound machine that will create a consistent ambient noise. It’s made so that the noise will be unobtrusive to hear and after a few minutes will be barely noticable.

If you find yourself sensitive to noise, or maybe have some family members on different schedules than you, you can use a white noise machine to keep those sounds away from you while sleeping. Even if you don’t fully wake up from these noises during the night they could be pulling you out of deeper levels of sleep.

 

And there you have it! 5 tips to take to bed for better sleep. 

Which tip are you most excited to try out? Drop me a comment and let me know!

My Five Foundations for Healthy Living

My Five Foundations for Healthy Living

While I practice nutrition by training, I’m all about a holistic approach. That means I like to look at all aspects of life and how they come to together to create optimal health!

To keep things as simple as possible I’ve broken it down into the 5 key foundations of health, split into nutrition – the layer that everything is supported by – and lifestyle. 

While we’re looking at each aspect separately, it’s really how they all come together that determines how good (or not) we feel. 

Foundation One – Nutrition

While there are so many different ways we can categorize nutrition, I’ve split this up almost along the macronutrient lines. Carbs, fat, protein, and water are our macronutrients (and if you click on any of those labels you’ll go straight to a blog article going into each more in depth!). 

But I just had to split out veggies and give it its own spotlight because they are so. darn. important! They are packed with vital vitamins, minerals, and often antioxidants, and because of this I also consider them our best source of fiber. 

Nutrition really underpins our health which is why I have it as the bottom layer of the pyramid. The majority of our immune system is in our gut and a lot of the neurotransmitter serotonin is also produced there (the happy chemical for our brains!). What we eat affects our energy levels and allows our body to build and maintain healthy tissues. 

Honestly, I could go on and on about how important nutrition is! But I’m hoping since you’re here with me you already recognize this. 😉 For me, food is about nutrient density – eating the things that are packed full of the most nutrition possible. This comes before food for fuel or calorie counting. 

  Photo by    Lauren Kay    on    Unsplash

Photo by Lauren Kay on Unsplash

Foundation Two – Sleep

Sleep is absolutely vital to ensuring our body is able to rest and recover from the activities of our day. Lack of sleep has been linked to overeating as well as increasing our likelihood of making poor food choices (since you’re so tired and just craving easy energy!). Sleep loss can increase your risk of insulin resistance and can wreak havoc on your hormone levels. It’s fundamental for the health of our brain and immune system. 

Sleep loss does accumulate night after night, and if you aren’t sleeping enough during the week it’s highly likely that having a lie-in on weekends isn’t completely getting you out of the red. Plus just one night of poor sleep can already profoundly affect our energy levels and needs the next day. 

Remember that adults tend to need 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Sleeping less than 6 hours a night increases your risk of all-cause mortality by 12%. To find out what your body needs try to head to bed at the same time every night for at least a week and wake without an alarm clock. After a few days (once you’ve recovered from any deficit you may have been in) you should naturally find your body’s set point.

  Photo by    Sylwia Bartyzel    on    Unsplash

Photo by Sylwia Bartyzel on Unsplash

Foundation Three – Connection

It made headlines in 2018 when the UK created the position of “minister of loneliness”. She’s been tasked with working on bringing down the rates of loneliness across all generations, and a lot of other countries have taken note. 

The permeation of the internet and social media into our lives has on one hand brought an increase in social connections – for example I can now easy stay up-to-date with my family back in Canada! But on the other hand, it can result in us becoming even more isolated. Sometimes social media can feel social – but often we aren’t making genuine connections and most of us are taking on the role of observer. 

Even for this introvert it can sometimes feel easier to hole up alone and avoid “peopling”! But even introverts shouldn’t forget how important these interactions are. While they may cost energy, they fill you up in a different way!

Having genuine connections with others is a key component for our mental health which is more connected to our physical health than we often think. And this can come in a variety of ways – for example, family, friends, pets, colleagues, or community groups. Connection can also include a closeness with nature – getting outside, breathing fresh air, and surrounding ourselves at least occasionally with greenery. 

  Photo by    Roberto Nickson    on    Unsplash

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

Foundation Four – Self-Care

Self-care or stress management tends to be an area we easily overlook. It doesn’t need to be yoga, journaling, or a rose petal filled bath, but just something that allows you to relax, breathe, and recharge yourself. This could be a walk out in nature, a movie night with your partner, even a solo trip to the grocery store!

Stress can manifest in so many different ways, that taking care to try and reduce or recover from this is incredibly important. Stress can affect our digestion, our hormones, our sleep, our relationships! You can be doing everything else right, but if your stress levels are too high you could be undoing all the positive work.

“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

  Photo by    bruce mars    on    Unsplash

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Foundation Five – Movement

There has definitely never been another era in human existence where we have been so sedentary! I don’t think you can confute that movement is necessary for our health. 

However, I have called this foundation movement rather than exercise. This is partly a mental word play, since we tend to have negative associations with the word exercise – like some we have to do that we’d rather not! Movement sounds more joyful – keeping your body active in a way that feels good and creates a sustainable, healthy habit. 

Movement improves our health through a multitude of ways, such as boosting our immune system, improving our resistance to stress, and helping to regulate our circadian rhythm (our sleep-awake cycle).

Do these five foundations ring true for you? Perhaps there is one or more you feel you are struggling with? That’s totally normal and is a balancing act that we are all working on.

If you’re looking for more support on any of the five foundations, head over here to learn more about working with me one-on-one!

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