The first step to a healthy you is….. sleep

October 22, 2018

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What is the first thing you think of when considering the best ways to improve your overall health? Is it food? Or exercise? No matter who you ask on what the best diet or routine is to support your well-being, they’ll all agree that one thing is for certain…sleep is essential. Let’s discover some ways to improve sleep, since about 35% of Americans experience poor sleep quality. Poor sleep can impact our health on a number of levels in general, and it can also stall efforts to improve our diet and exercise habits.

For example: If you’re someone who has sleep issues prior to starting a ketogenic diet, it’s important to address the underlying causes in order to give yourself the best possible chance for success while going keto. It can seem impossible to make healthy decisions about food on a sleep-deprived brain! Here are five recommendations on lifestyle changes you can make to help support restful sleep.

Stop caffeine mid-afternoon: As a general rule it is important to stop consuming caffeine around mid-afternoon. This allows your body time to fully breakdown caffeine and allow adenosine, the molecule that caffeine blocks, to enter the receptors that signal to your brain that sleep is needed.

Stop using electronics: One hour before you want to go to bed, turn off all your electronic devices. Your electronic devices (cell phone, laptop, TV, etc.)  produce blue light. Blue light lowers the production of melatonin within the body and melatonin is the hormone most responsible for telling your body to go to sleep.

Cool the room: Cold temperatures help promote sleep. It is recommended to set your room temperature to 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit before bed time. The lowering of your core body temperature is another indicator to your body that sleep time has arrived.

Take a nice warm shower or bath: Similar to above, taking a warm shower or bath an hour or so before bed can support restful sleep as well. Going from a warm shower environment to a cooled down house will lower core body temperature and do it in a manner that is a tad more impactful.

Use your bed for sleep: Your brain produces habits from external queues. Use your bed for sleep and not for watching TV, browsing the internet, etc. Keeping the bed associated with sleep will help the body see the bed as a trigger point to initiate the resting process.

 

Helping you fall asleep:

Sometimes we do need a nudge to help us fall asleep. Here are three great supporters that you can utilize to help you get to sleep.

Valerian Root: Used to help promote calmness, the ability for valerian root to support sleep has seen mixed results in scientific studies. With that said, it is certainly a product worth trying for yourself and see if it helps improve your sleep.

Magnesium: A high dosage of magnesium before bed can help promote relaxation, melatonin production, and GABA levels within the body. In addition, many individuals, especially older individuals, do not get enough magnesium so the benefits to sleep and your overall health make magnesium supplementation a good option before bedtime.

Melatonin: Very effective at helping you fall asleep is taking the hormone your body uses to signal sleep…melatonin. If taken consistently though, melatonin supplements will eventually cause your body to produce less melatonin naturally. Therefore, melatonin supplements are great to use when sleep is imperative but not as an everyday crutch.

Hopefully these eight suggestions will help support your sleep as optimizing sleep time is essential to reclaiming your health.

 

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