Have you said “bye bye” to sleeping through the night?

Are you feeling exhausted or “running on stress hormones” all day?

Do not fear, I have some great tips (and an amazing recipe) for you!

The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing.

Sleep is this daily thing that we all do and yet we’re just beginning to understand all of the ways it helps us and all of the factors that can affect it.

Lack of sleep affects just about everything in your body and mind. People who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for so many health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer; not to mention effects like slower metabolism, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and inflammation.  And don’t forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making skills.

Do you know that lack of sleep may even negate the health benefits of your exercise program? (Gasp!)

OMG – What aspect of health does sleep not affect???

Knowing this it’s easy to see the three main purposes of sleep:

  1. To restore our body and mind. Our bodies repair, grow and even “detoxify” our brains while we sleep.
  2. To improve our brain’s ability to learn and remember things, technically known as “synaptic plasticity”.
  3. To conserve some energy so we’re not just actively “out and about” 24-hours a day, every day.

Do you know how much sleep adults need?  It’s less than your growing kids need but you may be surprised that it’s recommended that all adults get 7 – 9 hours a night.  For real!

Try not to skimp!

(Don’t worry, I have you covered with a bunch of actionable tips below.)

Tips for better sleep

  • The biggest tip is definitely to try to get yourself into a consistent sleep schedule. Make it a priority and you’re more likely to achieve it.  This means turning off your lights 8 hours before your alarm goes off.  Days. A. Week.  I know weekends can easily throw this off but by making sleep a priority for a few weeks your body and mind will adjust and thank you for it.
  • Balance your blood sugar throughout the day. You know, eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fiber).  Choose the whole orange instead of the juice (or orange-flavoured snack).  Make sure you’re getting some protein every time you eat.
  • During the day get some sunshine and exercise. These things tell your body it’s daytime; time for being productive, active and alert.  By doing this during the day it will help you wind down more easily in the evening.
  • Cut off your caffeine and added sugar intake after 12pm.  Whole foods like fruits and veggies are fine, it’s the “added” sugar we’re minimizing.  Yes, this includes your beloved chai latte.  Both caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a bit more active than you want it to be come evening. (HINT: I have a great caffeine-free chai latte recipe for you below!).
  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time (that is 8 – 10 hours before your alarm is set to go off). This would include dimming your artificial lights, nixing screen time and perhaps reading an (actual, not “e”) book or having a bath.
  • Turn off your phone. I know we’re all addicted to our technology these days, but there’s a few reasons why reaching for your phone or iPad if you’re having trouble sleeping is a bad idea.  First is the light emitted from these diveces that messes with your sleep, and second is the dopamine hit you get from scrolling through your Facebook feed that keeps you alert.  The Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from your devices also negatively impacts the quality of your sleep.  So if don’t want to stop sleeping with your phone on your bedside table, do yourself a favour and put it in Airplane mode.
  • Total Darkness. Keep your room completely dark, including all those little lights from devices, clocks and nightlights.
  • Magnesium is a great supplement to help you relax and get a good night sleep. You can take a magnesium supplement before bed, or Natural Calm is one of my favourites. It’s a magnesium powder that you mix in a bit of hot water before bed that is amazing for helping with sleep!
  • Lavender is one of my favourtire esential oils that has so many purposes that it deserves a whole separate blog post, but it’s great to promote a feeling of relaxation and help with sleep.  Here are just a few ways to use lavender essential oil for sleep.  Diffuse it, add a few drops to water in a small spray bottle and spray it on your pillow, or put a couple drops on a cotton ball and tuck it inside your pillow case!

So how many of these tips can you start implementing today?

Recipe (Caffeine-free latte for your afternoon “coffee break”): Caffeine-Free Chai Latte

Serves 1-2

  • 1 bag of rooibos chai tea (rooibos is naturally caffeine-free)
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter (creamy is preferred)
  • 2 dates (optional)

Cover the teabag and dates (if using) with 2 cups of boiling water and steep for a few minutes.

Discard the tea bag & place tea, soaked dates, tahini & almond butter into a blender.

Blend until creamy.

Serve and Enjoy!

Tip:  You can try this with other nut or seed butters to see which flavour combination you like the best.  Cashew butter anyone?

References:

http://www.thepaleomom.com/gotobed/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/hacking-sleep

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About Leanne Weaver

About Leanne Weaver

Holistic Nutritionist & Founder of Radiant Botanics

Leanne is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Iridologist, Reiki Level 2 practitioner and wellness speaker and writer.  She has spent 20 years in the corporate world as an engineer and project manager while pursuing her true passion—holistic wellness. What started as an interest in green smoothies and wellness turned into a dedicated, life-changing journey.

She is a First Class Honours graduate of the Toronto Institute of Holistic Nutrition and founder of Radiant Botanics,  a line of chakra-based spiritual skincare that combines natural ingredients with intentional affirmations.

She desires to help people feel radically, radiantly healthier and happier. 

Leanne resides in Mississauga, Ontario with her dog Bailey. They enjoy hiking on the weekends, kayaking, stand up paddling, and remaining present.

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