Many sleep experts believe that a lack of sleep is causing a health crisis in the United States. While that sounds alarming, the potential impacts of not getting proper rest can’t be overstated.
Studies have shown repeatedly that proper sleep is essential to good health. For starters, sleep allows the body to repair and regenerate, enabling the immune system to function correctly. Lack of sleep can weaken the immune system, making people more susceptible to infections and illnesses. Sleep also is necessary for the brain to process information and consolidate memories, which can affect learning, memory, and cognitive performance. Sleep deprivation can lead to mood swings, irritability, and mental fatigue.
Proper sleep is also crucial for regulating hormones, including those that control appetite and metabolism. People who do not get enough sleep are more likely to develop weight problems, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Lastly, sleep is necessary for maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm, which regulates many physiological processes such as temperature, hormone production, and blood pressure.
It is recommended that adults get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night, while children and teenagers need more. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, the first step toward better sleep is to take an inventory of your current habits. Here are our top 7 tips for better sleep hygiene:
#1 - Keep A Sleep Diary
Keeping a daily sleep journal to help identify patterns and problems. How many hours did you sleep? Did you sleep through the night or was your sleep disrupted? Did you nap during the day and if so, when and for how long?
Take the time to dig deeper into your day and how it might impact your sleep. How was your day? Your mood or your emotions? What didn’t go well and what might you do differently tomorrow? If your sleep was disrupted, by what (bathroom, thirsty, animals in the room, partner snoring or other)?
Have you set a pre-sleep checklist? Include that in your diary to see how consistent you are in preparing for rest: salt & soda bath, washed your face, brushed your teeth, took your nighttime supplements, read a book or meditation – no screen time, loose pajamas, cool air, air purifier or an essential oils diffuser. Your journal entries will help you identify a routine that helps ensure quality rest and recovery.
And if you determine that you’re not getting enough sleep, or if your sleep is not quality, then you can begin to implement solutions.
#2 - Eat More Fiber
Fiber is a carbohydrate that helps you feel full, so you eat less. It also helps your body digest food better and lowers cholesterol levels. Fiber used to be the go-to for constipation, and is now the centerpiece for weight loss programs, reducing inflammation, prevention of chronic health issues…and is also recommended for improving sleep. Researchers at the University of Colorado recently found that increasing your prebiotic fiber usage can improve sleep quality. Some fiber-rich prebiotic foods you might enjoy including in your diet are walnuts, bananas, beans, onions, garlic, and asparagus. You may also want to try our Ultra GI Support formula to help your digestive system remain consistent while helping your overall gut health.
#3 – Get Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that plays a role in many processes in the body, including regulation of sleep-wake cycles. Vitamin D helps the body produce melatonin, the hormone that supports sleep. Getting enough Vitamin D may be crucial for getting good sleep quality. It's also vital for bone health and immune function.
Vitamin D can be found naturally in foods such as fatty fish (like salmon) or egg yolks. However, most people need to get their daily dose from sunlight exposure or supplements because they don't eat enough of these foods every day. The National Institutes of Health recommend 600 IU (international units) per day for ages 9 to 70 years old; pregnant/breastfeeding women should aim for 800 IU per day while older adults should aim for 800-1,000 IU per day. We recommend speaking with your doctor about your Vitamin D needs before starting any new supplement regimen. A good rule of thumb is to take enough to support a 50-80 score on your vitamin D test. If you and your doctor determine that Vitamin D is lacking in your diet, you may want to try our convenient, therapeutic-grade Ultra Vitamin D3 liquid drops.
#4 - Cut Back On Caffeine
There is plenty of research showing caffeine is a stimulant and can keep you awake, even when it's not the time for your body to be active. It also increases anxiety and stress levels, which may cause you to have trouble sleeping. If that wasn’t enough, caffeine can cause a reduction in your body’s product of melatonin. If you rely on coffee or soda as part of your daily routine and find yourself unable to regularly get enough quality sleep, try cutting back slowly until it no longer affects how well you rest each night.
#5 - Add Magnesium To Your Diet
Magnesium is a mineral that helps your body relax and sleep better. It's needed for muscle function, nerve function, bone health and much more. In fact, it's one of the most important nutrients we can get from food because it helps regulate so many aspects of health, including blood pressure and heart function.
Magnesium supports deep, restorative sleep by maintaining healthy GABA levels - GABA being the neurotransmitter in your brain that promotes better sleep. A great supplement pairing for better sleep would be a combo of Pure Essentials’ Ultra Magnesium with our Pure Zen.
#6 - Use Essential Oils
Essential oils offer a wide range of potential benefits related to sleep quality. For example, lavender essential oil is often used to help people sleep better and reduce stress. It's also helpful in reducing pain and anxiety levels, as well as some types of depression.
If you want to explore essential oils for sleep, we recommend trying a diffuser. This allows the fragrance to fill up your room with its lovely scent – there is no need to put it on your skin or breathe it directly from the bottle. You may enjoy putting the oil on cotton balls and placing them around your house for added aroma presence.
Experiment with different blends until you find what works for you personally. Everybody is different and responds differently depending on your needs at any given time. So keep trying until something sticks!
#7 - Try Salt & Soda Baths
So simple, yet so effective. Try adding 1 cup Epsom salt and 1 cup of baking soda to your bath water. Soak for 20 minutes while the magnesium penetrates the skin, relaxing the pores as the baking soda helps to detoxify. As we learned earlier, the magnesium you absorb while enjoying a relaxing bath can help calm you and aid your ability to get a good, healthy night’s sleep.