Sleep is THE best medicine, and uninterrupted + high quality sleep is essential for your body to repair, rest + detoxify the gut, adrenals, and the brain.
Having good sleep hygiene routine can help promote more regular + better sleep, more energy, and less drag for the next day.
Here are 10 tips to improve your sleep and create a routine.
1. Set a bedtime based on what time you need to wake up.
Even adults need a bed time.
7.5-9 hours is the magic range to give the adrenals time to rest + repair.
A lot of people get a second wind around 11:00 PM. Being ready for bed by 10:30 PM to can help avoid that second wind that keeps you up until crashing 1:00 or 2:00 AM. While you might not feel tired during your second winds (aka adrenal overdrive), it seriously sets you up to fail for the next day and thus the vicious cycle continues.
2. Make your set bedtime non-negotiable.
Be consistent and stick with it. Sure it’d be easy to let Netflix autoplay the next episode (so tempting!), but I promise, it will be there tomorrow.
3. Turn screens off 1-2 hours before bed.
Blue light from screens (computer, phone, TV, etc.) interferes with your circadian rhythm and keeps your mind going. Turning screens off 1-2 hours before bed can help reduce stimulation so that when you go to bed, you actually fall asleep.
A lot of people like to watch the news, reality TV, or play video games before bed. While watching TV/playing video games are passive activities and do require a lot of energy, that do not lower stress like most people believe.
Stimulation from TV shows can actually chemically trigger a cortisol response and effect your quality of sleep, especially if you watch TV (like the news, reality TV, dramas, etc.) in the evening before bed.
Limiting light exposure while sleeping can also reduce stimulation and help you stay asleep for longer.
4. Decrease your fluid intake before bed.
If you get up to use the bathroom a lot during the night, be mindful of how much you are drinking at night.
Drink when you’re thirsty and try not to chug.
Need to know how much water you should be drinking? Read more here.
5. Avoid large meals before bed.
Large meals may make it easy to pass out, but it spikes your insulin level which will increase your need to urinate at night.
So even if you’re monitoring the amount of water you’re drinking before bed, blood sugar dysregulation can cause you to wake up during the night to use the bathroom.
Late large meals can also contribute to digestive issues like heartburn.
6. No alcohol 3 hours before bed.
Sorry to burst your bubble of adult fun, but that nightcap will not help you sleep.
Like a large meal, it may seem like alcohol helps you sleep, but drinking alcohol less than 3 hours before bed leads to early awakening with the inability to fall back asleep due to blood sugar dysregulation/hypoglycemia causing poor sleep quality, dehydration, increased adrenal fatigue + daytime sleepiness (aka more stress for you + your body).
This creates a vicious cycle that leads to the tendency to drink more. It’s an illusion.
Alcohol also shortens your REM cycle where all the good stuff happens.
Consider a high quality organic CBD oil for its cortisol/stress/anxiety lowering effects. It can also improve sleep without the side effects of alcohol or its THC counterpart.
7. Avoid caffeine 10 hours before bed.
After its buzz has worn off, caffeine continues to stimulate you even if you don’t feel its effects (up to 10 hours–and not noticing a buzz at all is a sign of tolerance and/or altered liver metabolism).
Caffeine is also puts stress on your adrenals leading to more fatigue.
And since caffeine is a diuretic, which increases urination, it can causes dehydration if your fluids + minerals lost are not replaced. This is a huge stress to the kidneys. Read more about how much water you need in a day here.
Reduce your caffeine intake first. Then start to increase the time between your last cup and bedtime.
8. Dump your brain out.
A brain dump? It’s exactly how it sounds. We can store a lot in our brains, but allowing ourselves to brain dump before bed gives us an opportunity to put pins in all the little things we still need to do that would otherwise nag about in the back of our brains distracting us from sleep.
All you need is a pen and paper or ever the Reminder/Notes app on your phone.
Start with giving yourself at least 15 minutes (you deserve to give yourself at least that much!). This is also great time for self-care, skin care, meditation, gratitude, journaling, etc.
Do it every day even if it’s just for 1 or 2 minutes. As it becomes a habit, you will naturally add more time to develop a unique routine that nourishes + serves you.
9. Try reading a book for 30 minutes to 1 hour before bed.
That old math textbook should do the trick–at least it did while I was in school. Just kidding. The point of reading a book before bed is to help switch our analytical brain off (you know the one that’s always going–it’s the left side).
Reading fiction, specifically, can stimulate the right side of the brain giving the left side a chance to slow down.
10. Deep breathe to slow your mind while lying in bed.
This is extremely effective when given the proper time, practice, + patience.
When you deep breathe before bed, you stimulate the vagus nerve which slow your heart rate, which slows the blood to your brain, which slows your mind, which allows you to fall asleep.
But what if you’ve all of these + more and still feel unrested when you wake up + during the day?
These are great questions. I’d still encourage you to work on your sleep hygiene as all of these tips will benefit you immensely.
Some things to consider are sleep apnea and adrenal fatigue.
Now before you prematurely exclude yourself from the possibility of sleep apnea or underestimate the impact of adrenal fatigue, hear me out.
Basically, sleep apnea is when the “airway collapses” on itself while you sleep. This causes a lack of oxygen to your brain which can lead to heart risks, blood pressure problems, increased urination, inability to sleep through the night + more.
The medical community believes that sleep apnea only affects “obese people” or “neurologically rare” people, but it’s more common than you think.
Being 5’3″ and 120 lbs, I can tell you that I do not fit the typical profile, yet I have had apneic episodes that disrupt my sleep.
These episodes of apnea interrupt sleep which keeps you in a sympathetic survival stress state that affects the adrenals ability to repair + heal itself like it’s suppose to do. It just keeps that cortisol a’ comin’!
Kind of a big deal in terms of health. So it would be unwise to exclude sleep apnea and its relationship with adrenal fatigue on sleep.
Check out my post about sleep apnea here to learn more.
Okay, so there you have it, my 10 tips for better sleep!
Let me know your fail-safe tips that you use at home that helps you get quality sleep.
- The Perfect Day Formula by Craig Ballantyne
- Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by Dr. James Wilson
Want to make better food choices?
Hi, I’m Melissa!
I’m a holistic nutritionist dedicated to helping people make better food choices easy so they can find + meet the right health goals for their bodies and feel like themselves again.