Improving sleep is one of the most beneficial ways to improve health from a holistic perspective. It seems like we are constantly learning how to improve sleep and rest, because we were never taught it - even though it is such an important part of our lives. As a result, most of us have insomnia to some degree, whether that be waking up feeling tired, frequently waking up in the middle of the night, or taking over an hour to fall asleep at night. Does that sound like you?
Of course, there are many things we already know will improve sleep: having a cool environment, sleeping in darkness, having no noise or some white noise in the background…but having a healthy sleep routine requires healthy habits in general. Some of these habits contribute to a healthy life, but you might not relate it to a good night’s sleep!
3 Unexpected Ways that Will Help You Sleep Better:
Exercise in the Morning
Sleep and exercise are very interrelated. If you’ve worked out your muscles during the day, it’s actually when you are sleeping that your body creates repairs in the muscles you tore during your workout, so they can be built stronger. That is why exercise can be a healthy stressor, or an unhealthy stressor, if you don’t get enough rest. By improving your sleep, you will also be optimizing your exercise!
When you exercise earlier in the day, you tend to have a deeper sleep cycle. Having a deep sleep is important since it’s the time your body repairs itself every night.
Exercising too close to bedtime, even within up to 5 hours, can make it harder for your body to fully relax and fall asleep. Exercise raises your core body temperature, and it needs hours to fully cool down. A lower core temperature is needed for sleep.
This doesn’t mean that you should only workout in the morning! If you are sleeping at 10pm, working out at 5pm is totally fine. And remember that exercise and daily movement is important no matter how you do it!
Meditation at Night
How many of us cannot shut down our minds when we get into bed? We all have an inner voice, and somehow it’s the loudest right when we are about to sleep. At least, it feels like that.
There’s nothing wrong with your inner voice, because that important during the day when you are dealing with different stressors. But at night, it can prevent your mind from relaxing and allowing you to drift off.
Meditation is an amazing way to feel calmer quickly. Meditation is well-known to help people become calm during the day, but it is also an effective method to use at night when you are getting ready to sleep!
There have been studies showing that meditation increases “feel good” hormones and endorphins, and even reduces stress hormones. These are all essential for bedtime, especially when we do not set aside time to do relaxing activities before bed.
10 minutes of meditation when you’re lying in bed ready to fall asleep will help you create a conscious neuro-pathway to relaxation. I get that sometimes it’s harder to remove the distracting habits you have before bed, like scrolling through Instagram, but adding this habit can make a positive difference!
Another upgraded way you can increase your relaxation is if you do the meditation while lying on an acupuncture mat. I love my Bed of Nails mat, which has rounded nails that help the body release endorphins, making you relaxed and calm. Acupuncture mats have long been used as a tool for meditation and self-healing, and now we have the perfect modern version. You can use my code BON15JASS for 15% off (available internationally)!
Dress in Non-Restricting Clothes
Did you know the clothes you sleep in can also affect the quality of your sleep? As you know, your body needs to be able to cool down enough to have good quality sleep.
Wearing tight clothes, including tight socks, leggings or bras can prevent you from getting into deep, restorative sleep. Some clothes, like bras, can cut off the flow of your lymphatic system, which normally transports your extracellular fluid in your body.
If you tend to need socks at night to keep your feet warm, make sure they are the looser, fuzzy socks, not the normal tight ones that leave a mark on your skin when you remove them.
The best clothing for sleep is non-restricting and comfortable. T-shirts, boy shorts, flowing lingerie, yoga pants (does anyone still wear these??) are all good options!
There are many factors we can control in our sleep habits that will greatly affect the quality of our sleep!
If you have tried everything to improve sleep, or even if you can fall asleep perfectly fine, these habits will definitely help your sleep and overall health!