Are you getting enough quality sleep for optimal health?
Waking up refreshed and eager to start the day after a night of deep, restful sleep is one of the most important things we can do for our bodies. Our cells repair and regenerate during sleep, and restful sleep is crucial for hormone regulation and immune function.
Getting plenty of quality sleep is one of the core foundational health habits that lead to improved vitality and anti-aging, along with eating Micronized Purple Rice (MPR), drinking plenty of pure water, and eating a clean diet.
Sleep helps our brains work properly, which means improved mood, clearer thinking, and better concentration.
Improved brain health in turn helps us to get even better sleep, and MPR is a huge help with that. (Did you know it’s milled so finely that it can actually cross the blood-brain barrier? It permeates our cell membranes and helps with absorption of nutrients. And it helps increase ATP in our mitochondria, which helps with cellular repair.)
Sleep plays a vital role in heart health, too, since it is involved in the healing and repair of our blood vessels.
Not getting enough sleep, on the other hand, can result in consequences ranging from poor work performance, to obesity, to car accidents caused by drowsiness.
With that in mind, here are some ideas for helping you improve your sleep.
Lifestyle Habits for Better Sleep
1. Eat a balanced, sleep-enhancing diet.
A Mediterranean style diet is a good, balanced choice. Basically, you want a clean diet with high-quality protein, good fats such as olive oil and coconut oil, and plenty of organic vegetables and fruit. Avoid large meals in the evening. It’s a good idea to make lunch your biggest meal, and eat dinner at least three hours before bed.
2. Eat Micronized Purple Rice.
Lots of people in my Facebook group (Kare’s Purple Rice Eaters) report improved sleep from eating MPR.
Not only does it make you feel calmer and more focused during the day, but many people say their sleep is deeper, with fewer or no trips to the bathroom!
3. Exercise — but not in the evening.
Studies have shown that a brisk walk for 20 to 30 minutes, preferably in the morning, helps with sleep, especially for post-menopausal women.
Swimming is another great option. Basically, do whatever feels good and gets your blood flowing. Just don’t exercise within 4 hours or so before bed, because that can have a stimulating effect.
4. Get to bed early.
Your body does much of its recharging between the hours of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m., so it’s a good idea to be asleep well before then.
5. No caffeine after 2 p.m.
Caffeine is a stimulant and can interfere with sleep. Even green tea has some caffeine in it. It’s best to avoid caffeinated beverages after 2 p.m. — or noon, if you’re extra sensitive.
6. Don’t smoke, or drink alcohol, in the evening.
In fact, don’t smoke at all, if you’re interested in being healthy. As for drinking alcohol, a glass or two of beer or wine is fine; just don’t have it within three hours or so of going to bed, and preferably have it with dinner.
7. Get enough light.
Bright sunlight first thing in the morning will help you wake up, and getting sunlight during the day helps with melatonin levels and vitamin D production. If you live in an area with little sunlight, consider taking extra vitamin D.
Steps to Prepare for Sleep
8. Download your “to do” list from your brain to paper.
It’s a good idea to plan your day the night before, so you’re less inclined to lie in bed awake thinking of all the things you need to do the next day.
9. Develop a sleep routine.
Go to bed the same time every night, and have a wind-down routine before bed. This might include some gentle stretching, a hot bath or shower, a cup of herbal tea, or some deep breathing or meditation.
10. Have a serene sleeping space.
A beautiful, serene bedroom will help you feel relaxed, especially if it’s clean, well-organized, and decorated in soft, muted colors. It’s a good idea to have your home feng shui-ed, because things like having the bedroom door where you can’t see it from your bed will interfere with sleep.
11. Don’t use electronics for an hour before bed.
Bright computer screens stimulate your brain and make it harder to fall asleep. So put away the iPad, turn off your phone, relax and pamper yourself. You deserve it! Don’t keep any electronics near your bed, either.
12. Avoid late-night TV.
There’s nothing worse than falling asleep in your chair watching TV, is there? Try reading something spiritual or uplifting instead.
Ways to Stay Asleep All Night
13. Don’t sleep with pets in your bed.
I don’t know about your pets, but our two adorable Goldendoodles, Chloe and Beau, are part of the family. However, they can be total bed hogs! So they usually end up sleeping in their own comfy dog beds so that Charles and I can get a good night’s sleep.
14. Keep the room temperature cool.
Here in Florida that often means having the air conditioner on, but what are you going to do. Studies have shown that the optimal temperature for sleeping is about 60 to 67 degrees.
15. Keep light out of your bedroom.
Humans sleep best when there’s little to no light in the room. If you live in an urban area and there’s a lot of light in the room no matter what you do, try a sleep mask.
16. Use aromatherapy.
Lavender is a great natural sleep enhancer. Try a lavender-filled pillow, or spray your pillow with lavender spray. Be sure the spray is made with real, not synthetic, lavender oil.
17. Use a white noise machine.
If you’ve ever slept next to the ocean or a running river, you know how relaxing it is to hear the sounds of nature as you sleep. These devices mimic those sounds and work on the same principle.
18. Avoid using loud alarm clocks.
Our bodies get stressed out by the sound of loud alarm clocks. No wonder we keep hitting the snooze button. It’s much better to find an alarm clock that gets gradually lighter, mimicking the sun rising, rather than jarring you awake with a loud noise.
19. Wear socks to bed.
This one may seem a little odd, but the reason is that your feet get cold before any other part of you. Wearing socks to bed will keep your feet warm so you don’t wake up due to cold feet.
When to See a Medical Professional
20. Keep a sleep diary.
If you are still having trouble sleeping, you might need to take part in a sleep study. Keeping a sleep diary for a few weeks beforehand will help the sleep doctor figure out what is going on with you. Keep a record of what time you went to bed, what you ate that day, about how long it took you to fall asleep, and so on.
21. Sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy.
If one of these conditions is causing you to have sleep problems, your sleep doctor may prescribe a CPAP or BiPAP machine or medication. Again, you may need a sleep study to determine this. Ask your doctor.
22. Review your medications.
Some medications may interfere with sleep, so ask your doctor to review the ones you’re taking to see if any could be causing sleep disorders. Your doctor may be able to switch you to different medications, reduce your dosage, or help you otherwise adapt.
23. Consider a natural supplement/sleep aid.
There are a number of natural sleep aids available, including magnesium/calcium, wild lettuce, hops, melatonin, L-theanine, and valerian root. Your naturopath or other natural healer can work with you on this to help you figure out the one that will best meet your needs. Remember to eat your Micronized Purple Rice before bed, too — unless you are one of the few people who experience a stimulating effect from it. In that case, try eating your MPR about half an hour before dinner.
24. Try cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I).
Considered the gold standard for insomnia, this is a comprehensive treatment plan that is custom developed for you by a licensed professional therapist.
Well, Dear One, there you have it – 24 Ways to Get Better Sleep.
What tips and tools do you use to get good sleep? Let me know in the comments.
And if you want to read about how people are sleeping better and improving their health and anti-aging with Kare’s Micronized Purple Rice, head over to the Facebook Group HERE.
As always, my health coaches and I are here to help you get healthier, so feel free to call us anytime at 727-798-8764 if you have questions or just to talk to someone.
We are here to help you, from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST, every day of the week!
Another wonderful piece with substantive content. Thanks, Kare
what if i dont like rice
Kare, thanks so much for these suggestions. I have suffered from insomnia for years. A natural amino acid/magnesium sleep aid that I use is Eden PM and it is the only thing I’ve found that helps me sleep, but not always. You said not to exercise in the evening. I do stretching type exercises (not aerobic) at night. Should I do them earlier in the day?
I’m glad you said to wear socks, because I do & I thought I was just being a “sissy”.
The info was very helpful. I do use Melatonin.