How to Optimize Sleep
A good night’s sleep means everything; it means starting your day feeling focused, energized, and fresh. But how you can you bio-hack your way to success?
Sleep is our battery for life. With it, we can conquer our days without feeling sluggish or groggy. But, without it, we fail. Poor rest can set the stage for brain fog, moodiness, cravings for salt or sugar, and even feelings of sickness or disease.
How much sleep do you really need?
While it varies from person to person, the average human requires 7+ hours of sleep per night. However, the National Sleep Foundation reports that 1/3 of Americans aren’t meeting that 7 hour minimum!
How does rest help your health?
7 hours of rest or more per night are essential in maintaining a healthy body and mind. In fact, it is a key pillar of our health.
Sleep aids in various body systems, including our brain function, metabolism and hormones, detoxification, and even gut health. One study even showed that poor rest can increase blood pressure, whereas other research has found that poor rest can lead to weight gain, brain fog, fatigue, and trouble with memory.
This simple act is truly essential for preventing disease and symptoms of illness.
How can you optimize your sleep with nutrition?
Nutrition plays a role in every area of our lives from our mood to our brain, muscle, hormones, and much more. When we nourish our bodies with optimal nutrition, we are able to break down the nutrients inside our food to fuel our health. However, we can also make poor food choices that disrupt these body systems and can even disrupt our sleep.
Common foods that have an impact on sleep include: caffeine (coffee and tea primarily), alcohol, high fat foods, sugar, spicy foods, highly acidic foods, and heavy or large meals before bedtime. As a result, it is best to avoid these common triggers near bedtime so you can fall asleep and stay asleep with more success.
On the other hand, some nutrients can optimize our rest. These include: melatonin, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B6, choline, calcium, and tryptophan. Food sources of these micronutrients can include cucumber, pistachios, avocados, bananas, spinach, sweet potatoes, strawberries, salmon, eggs, walnuts, and flaxseed. A variety of other food sources include these micronutrients, but these are some healthy picks that you can choose to consume any time of day to assist you at bedtime.
How can you set the stage for rest?
Luckily, there are methods for ensuring you rest heavy at night.
An evening routine or ritual is key in allowing your mind and body to decompress and prepare for the next day. There are three main components to an evening routine that allows for a great night of rest including: preparation for the next day, preparing your body for sleep, and preparing your mind for sleep.
The first pillar of success, preparation for the next day, will include tasks like creating a to-do list for the next morning, laying out your clothes or skincare, and packing any lunches or meals needed to start your next morning off strong.
To prepare your body to rest, you can practice skincare or have a quick, warming shower. You can also choose to stretch or practice yoga. Meditation is another way to physically release tension in your body.
Lastly, there are many methods for relaxing your mind so you are able to close your eyes and drift to sleep. These can include journaling or reading a non-stimulating book, practicing gratitude or writing lists, and even using essential oils. Again, meditation can physically and mentally release tension in your body and help you transition from daytime to bedtime.
An evening routine can help your body and mind prepare for 7+ hours of strong sleep.
Do you need individualized support in getting your sleep, nutrition, fitness, and mindset back on track?
Functional Wellness Coaching from Rachel Scheer Nutrition is your one-stop-shop for using a functional, “test, don’t guess” approach toward optimal wellness. Work with one of our specialized coaches so you can optimize your health with a holistic, integrative lens.
Learn more about Functional Wellness Coaching and apply for a FREE 30 minute call to learn more here.
Rachel Scheer is a Certified Nutritionist who received her degree from Baylor University in Nutrition Science and Dietetics. Rachel has her own private nutrition and counseling practice located in McKinney, Texas. Rachel has helped clients with a wide range of nutritional needs enhance their athletic performance, improve their physical and mental health, and make positive lifelong eating and exercise behavior changes.
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