Now, more than ever before, researchers are highlighting the importance of sleep and why it plays a main role in a healthy lifestyle. Not only does it affect energy and productivity, it affects the regulation of very important hormones that are needed throughout the day. With a poor night of sleep the production of these hormones can be become unbalanced, leaving you feeling hungry, irritable, emotional and flat out terrible. Try implementing these three simple yet game changing methods into your nightly routine and take note of the results!
1) Allow for a 30 minute "No Phone Zone"
We've all been there. It's late, you're in bed, and it feels like your arm is on autopilot as it picks up your phone without hesitation. You barely had time to browse social media during your busy day let alone return some important emails. This one will take a bit of self-control but reducing face time with your phone can dramatically impact the quality of your sleep. All colors of light can be disruptive to your circadian rhythm but researchers have found blue light (the light that radiates from phones and computers) to be most disruptive to deep sleep. Aim to allow for thirty minutes of technology free time before you hit the hay. (Setting aside this downtime has its perks! Pick up a favorite book or get some extra cuddles for a free serotonin boost!)
2) Integrate Aroma Therapy
Essential oils are all the rave these days. If spending $$ on a tiny bottle isn't your thing, a scented lotion or night cream will also work. The point is to smell a specific scent at the same time every night in order to condition your body to prepare for sleep. By tapping into your olfactory sensory system, your brain will recognize the smell and code it as a cue to calm your mind and body, which will increase your quality of deep sleep.
3) Deep breathing
Taking deep, slow breaths throughout the day is important to practice all day long as it is a natural way to reset the nervous system, thus reducing feelings of anxiety and stress. The breath has gained popularity over the last several years and new research is coming out on how deep breathing can positively affect sleeping patterns. Try laying in bed with your eyes closed and take ten slow deep breaths. With each inhale and exhale try to only think about the breath and let go of any thoughts that may arise. Focusing on only the breath helps the entire body relax as it slows down metabolism, lowers heart rate, and decreases activity in the brain.