Raise your hand if you have trouble falling asleep or sleeping through the night. Well if you are staring at your phone or computer screen with your hand up, you fall in the same category as about 30 million other Americans according to WebMD.(1) I’m sure we have all been there, tossing and turning, staring at the ceiling, or countlessly checking the time on our phones one time or another.
Adequate sleep is one of the most important aspects of living a healthy life. It helps us with many things including repairing and building muscle after exercise, improving memory and retaining things we have learned, curbing inflammation throughout the body, fighting off oncoming illness, regulating body weight and helping keep us from putting on body fat, the list goes on!
So, that poses the question, what can we do to get a better night sleep?
Power Down: The soft blue glow from a cell phone, tablet, or digital clock on your bedside table may hurt your sleep. Turn off TVs, computers, and other blue-light sources an hour before you go to bed.
The Darker the Better: That comes off a little eerie I know. But it is true. Cover any windows or close doors that may be letting light in. Black out shades work really well. There is no such thing as the boogie-man... I think. ;)
Cut back on PM Caffeine Intake: Caffeine consumed 0, 3, and 6 hours before bedtime significantly reduces total sleep time. Even caffeine consumed 6 hours before bed reduced total nightly sleep amounts by more than 1 hour.(2) If this is you, try cutting it out and find out what a good night's sleep really is!
Magnesium: Magnesium has been proven to be a great sleep aid. It helps relax muscles and has been shown to also lower cortisol, our stress hormone.
Vitamin D: Living in Wisconsin, I’d bet most of us are deficient in Vitamin D to begin with, especially in the winter months. Low levels of vitamin D have been shown to cause sleep disorders, insomnia, light sleeping, etc.(3) Further, vitamin D deficiency has been shown to cause a host of health issues outside of sleep, we should all be supplementing with Vitamin D as people who do not get adequate sun at least five months out of the year.
I hope this helps give you an insight on a few simple yet effective steps you can take toward getting a better night's sleep. I follow all of them myself so when I say the little things make a difference, trust me, the 6:30 am class at CrossFit Lōzen can back me up on that one. If you or someone you know suffers from poor sleep try one of these methods out and see how much it helps!
Remember, it's not about being better than someone else, it's about being better than you were the day before.
Make today great,