Lack of sleep or even just poor quality sleep can throw your hormones out of balance and accelerate aging. Here are some tips for a healthier sleep.
1. Cut the Alcohol. While that nice glass of red or cold beer may initially help you relax and wind down after a hectic day, it will later become a stimulant and disturb your sleep in the second half of the night.
2. Cut Caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant so avoid any caffeine containing drinks or foods for 5-6 hours before bedtime. If necessary, cut out caffeine all together.
3. Avoid large meals at night and avoid eating less than 3 hours before bed time. Going to be with a really full stomach can lead to reflux and indigestion. Also, digestion is highly energy dependant. You need to be as relaxed as possible for good sleep.
4. Spend as much time as possible outside during daylight and get as much light into your home or workspace as possible. Take your work breaks outside in the sunlight, exercise outside or walk your dog in the morning instead of the evening or at night.
5. Cut screen time for at least 1 hour before bed time. Turn off that computer, iPad and TV well before sleep time. Not only does the light suppress melatonin (your sleep hormone) production, but television can actually stimulate the mind, rather than relaxing it. The bright screens fool the Pineal gland (that regulates sleep and circadian rhythms) into thinking it is day time, to be awake and alert.
6. Create a “wind down” bed time routine with lowered lights, no noise or quiet music, a warm bath or shower. Try a few drops of Lavender oil in your bath or on your pillow. Keep your lights in the bedroom low. The lower light will tell your Pineal gland that it is night and time to sleep.
7. Make your bed really comfortable. You should have enough room to stretch and turn comfortably. If you regularly wake with a sore back or neck you may need to look at a new mattress or pillow. Having a comfortable bed and luscious bedding will make you feel pampered and relaxed.
8. Keep the temperature just right. A cooler room can make for a better sleep. Research suggests that over 24°C (75°F) or below 12°C (54°F) can disrupt sleep and that women in particular sleep best with a room around 18C (64°F).
9. Keep the bedroom just for sleep and sex. Get rid of the TV and all hints of work from the bedroom so to strengthen the connection between your bed, sleep and playtime with your partner.
10. Keep a routine. The more regular you make your sleep and wake time the more you strengthen your circadian rhythm which in turn helps you sleep better at night. Make a point of going to bed at the same time every night and try to maintain your regular wake time, even on weekends