A good night’s sleep is essential for our health in more ways than one. It affects our energy levels, mood, concentration, productivity, and even eating patterns, among other things. In fact, If you’re getting poor quality and insufficient sleep consistently, you might be putting your health at long term risk.
Poor sleep has as many long term health implications as it has immediate ones. American physician and New York Times bestselling author, Mark Hyman, recently shared one of the many impacts of poor sleep on our eating patterns. He took to Instagram and asked, “Ever noticed you’re hungrier for something sweet after a terrible night’s sleep? Studies show that lack of sleep can increase your cravings for sugary foods.”
He elucidated on the same in the caption, sharing a few ways one can effectively improve their quality of sleep. Following are his advice:
Get on a regular schedule
Going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day creates a rhythm for your body. Only use your bed for sleep or romance. Don’t keep a television in your bedroom: Studies show artificial, bright light can disrupt brain activity and alter sleep hormones like melatonin. Your bedroom should be a quiet, peaceful haven.
Get natural sunlight
Aim for at least 20 minutes of sunshine every day, preferably in the morning, which triggers your brain to release chemicals that regulate sleep cycles. Avoid computers, smart phones, tablets and television one or two hours before bed. You might also try low blue light exposure for about three hours before bed. Low blue spectrum light helps your brain reset for sleep and increase melatonin.
Use an acupressure mat
This helps stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system and create deep relaxation. Lay on it for about 30 or more minutes before bed.
At times, electromagnetic frequencies can impair sleep. I recommend turning off WiFi and keeping all of your electronic devices away from your bed. Create a common area charging station in your home and encourage all your family members to “check in” their devices before bed.
Clear your mind
Everyone knows how something resonating in your mind can hinder sleep. Turning your mind off can become a challenge. Keep a journal or notebook by your bed and write down your to-do list or ruminations before you go to sleep so you can close your eyes and make it less likely for your mind to spin.
Perform light stretching or yoga before bed
This relaxes your mind and body. Research shows daily yoga can improve sleep significantly.
Use relaxation practices
Guided imagery, meditation or deep breathing calm your mind and help you drift into sleep. Try calming essential oils such as lavender, Roman chamomile or ylang ylang.