Do you struggle to wake up in the mornings? Struggle to fall asleep at night because your mind is racing? Struggle to stay asleep? Or maybe you feel like you have no energy during the day?
This used to be me! All through my childhood and teenage years I struggled with sleep- I had terrible anxiety in the evenings preventing me from falling asleep, I woke up frequently throughout the night, and I struggled to wake up in the morning due to the lack of quality sleep. I also got that "2:30 feeling" since my sleep was all out of whack, making me crave sugary foods all afternoon.
Flash forward to now, and if you ask anyone who knows me, I am a big advocate for sleep and I let nothing get in the way of my 8+ hours of beauty sleep each night! Sleep is so important to our health, fitness, and overall physical and mental well-being, but I feel like it often gets overlooked. I personally have seen a lot of my own health concerns resolved once I focused on getting better quality sleep each night.
So, how do you improve the quality of your sleep? There's SO many factors that dictate the quality of your sleep, but I'm all about simplicity, so I'm going to break it down into a few simple steps that I do each night to make sure I get the most Z's, and wake up the best possible version of me! The most important thing is consistency- humans are creatures of habit, and by implementing a daily ROUTINE you will set yourself up for successful sleep every night.
1. Toss the Tech
This is probably the hardest one, especially for us millennials- heaven forbid we go more than 15 minutes without phone in hand! Our bodies are made to be in sync with the natural rise and set of the sun, but technology can mess that up significantly. Your tech devices give off blue lights that suppress melatonin, the hormone that signals to your body that it's time to go to sleep. This is keeping you awake longer. If you're sitting in the dark on your phone or watching TV right before bed, your brain doesn't know it's time to go to sleep! Plus, scrolling through Instagram or Facebook can create a lot of anxiety right before bed. I try to put my phone away around 9-9:30pm, but my iPhone is set to go on "Do Not Disturb" automatically at 9pm so I don't get distracted by texts from friends or other notifications.
2. Stretch and Breathe
I find that doing some gentle stretches/yoga poses before bed really helps to calm my mind and get me ready for sleep. I start with some arm stretches, then maybe runner's lunges and quad stretches. Hip openers are also great because we store a lot of tension in our hips. Try laying on your bed or on the floor with your feet on the ground and knees bent. Place your right foot over the left knee with your feet flexed, grab behind the left knee and pull towards you. Take really slow, deep breaths and focus on the rise and fall of your belly as you breath. Do the same on the opposite side.