Bellevue Personal Training | Tips for Better Sleep

We all know we need to get more sleep, but we just need to do ONE more thing! Most of us are also only too aware that lack of sleep can lead to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, accidents (!!), poor performance, autoimmune disease, and poor athletic performance. Below are the latest tips that really work!

Make sleeping a top priority: This may sound crazy, but it’s pretty low on the totem pole for many. Set a time that you are willing to go to bed, sticking to the same time every night, and work towards gearing down the hour before. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and the Sleep Research Society, adults 18 – 64 need 7 – 9 hours of sleep each night, on a regular basis.

Find time to get outside every day: Getting outside daily (or using a light therapy box) helps release melatonin in the evening, which regulates our circadian rhythms. This tells your body to be energized during the day and sleep at night!

Keep inside lights dim and red in the eve: Because regular indoor lighting suppresses melatonin, use red light bulbs or wear amber tinted glasses the last 2 – 3 hrs of your day.

Manage your stress levels: If you’re constantly stressed out and producing tons of cortisol your melatonin levels will be adversely affected.

Regulate your insulin levels: If you are a sugar junkie beware, as insulin spikes will negatively impact your sleep quality.

Be active during the day (opposed to at night): Getting activity of any sort during the day helps night time melatonin production.

Eat some starchy carbs with your evening meal: Eating complex carbs such as sweet potato with dinner improves sleep quality.

Load up on fiber: Plain and simple, a high fiber diet improves not only sleep, but the vitamin C in a high veggie diet improves the restorative quality of sleep. We all know how wonderful it is to wake up and think ‘I feel SO good’!

Eat seafood and organ meat: Organ meats and seafood are high in tryptophan, which in turn produces serotonin, which creates melatonin!

Avoid a high saturated fat diet: High saturated fat diets reduce the amount of deep, restorative sleep you’ll receive. For best sleep stick to 10 – 15% of your total calories.

Limit caffeine intake to a.m. only: Caffeine makes us feel more alert and energetic, but will also inhibit sleep if drunk in the afternoon and evening. For some folks (myself included) an earlier quitting time, such as 10 a.m., is best.

Don’t eat close to bedtime: Make sure your last meal is at least 2 hour before bed. If 4 or 5, even better! Eating too close to bedtime just revs up the metabolism, which will decrease sleep quality.

Make your bedroom dark, cool and quiet: Part of something called ‘sleep hygiene’, we can train our brain to sleep at night by eliminating disruptive stimuli and sending it the message that we truly ARE ready to sleep!!

Your bed is for two activities alone! That’s right folks ~ sleep and making love to your partner. Everything else people like to do in bed: watching TV, surfing the web, talking on the phone, eating, etc. all tell the brain that we aren’t really ready to sleep. Just this one change can often make a BIG difference for people.

Cycle your home temp to fit day or night: This simply means that we should keep our homes warm during the day, and turn the temps down at night as a cue to our circadian rhythms and better sleep.

*Adapted from Paleo magazine, June/July 2018

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