By Erika Lundgren, Functional Medicine Nutritionist
Sleep is not only vital to our health, but a key player in living longer and should be placed at the top of our priority list. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” mentality that misaligns our biological “clock” rhythms can literally slingshot you to the grave or potentiate chronic disease.
Here are some easy ways to help clean up your sleep hygiene and get the recommended 7-9 hours … *My heart goes out to those of you who suffer with severe sleep issues and I’m in no way suggesting that the following actions are easy solutions for you.
Make your dinner a balanced, whole food-centric meal while enjoying it no less than 3-4 hours before bedtime. This is imperative for those of you who suffer from upper GI symptoms, like heartburn, or experience morning nausea.
PS: Alcohol and caffeine are Zzzz-slayers, especially close to bedtime.
Use supportive herbals and supplements, We’ve got plenty! Magnesium Glycinate and our private label supplement, Give it a Rest, with L-Tryptophan, Valerian root, L-Theanine and Melatonin all in one. Also, an essential oil nebulizer for aromatherapy (my favorite oil brand is Pranarom) or calming, detoxifying herbal teas, including chamomile, peppermint, dandelion root, lemon balm or ashwagandha, can help as well!
Get into the groove! I don’t mean on the dance floor; although exercise helps too if it’s before early evening. What I’m speaking about is creating a routine or as I like to say rhythm which aligns with our Circadian rhythm; our internal 24-h cycle timing system. Try to go to sleep and rise at the same time everyday – even on weekends!
Use the bedroom ONLY for sleeping, relaxing without devices, meditating or intimate moments!
Reduce the body’s toxin burden to help it relax more easily by supporting your detoxifying organs – liver and kidneys. Eating a whole food-centric diet rooted in colorful, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, aka vegetables and fruits, is the ticket here! Shoot for @ least 5 servings a day while eliminating or greatly reducing processed, sugar-sweetened, and fried foods.
Downshift your body at night and create calming rituals to help encourage sleep even when the monkey mind is chattering. Here are some of my favorites that help me reset for the next day!