It is commonly known that diet and exercise play a vital role in good health, but did you know sleep can be just as important? Studies now show that poor sleep promotes chronic inflammation which can lead to heart disease, diabetes, dementia, depression and more.The good news is that there are many easy things you can do to improve your sleep.
5 Steps to Getting a Better Night’s Sleep
1. Watch your food & drinkLimit your quantity and your choices as bedtime approaches. Don’t go to bed too hungry or too stuffed; both could interfere with sleep quality.
2. Establish a bedtime ritualTurn off all electronics at least 1 hour before bed. The pineal gland in the brain secretes melatonin as natural light diminishes. Light from electronics reduces melatonin making it more difficult to sleep.
3. Create a positive sleep environment Make sure your room is cool and dark. Be mindful of electronics in the room and kids, pets or anything that would disrupt your sleep.
4. Get physicalRegular exercise will make an amazing difference in your quality of sleep. Activity of 30-60 minutes a day is ideal.
5. Manage stressThe busyness and stress of life can lead to sleepless nights. Jot down your worries on a notepad before going to sleep so you won’t wake in the middle of the night when you can’t do anything about them anyways.
If going to sleep or staying asleep is a problem, you will be amazed how much better you feel when getting quality sleep. For more information on the importance of good sleep, you can find a thorough discussion in my book, Eat Well to Be Well, where I devote an entire chapter (co-written with sleep expert, Dr. James Maas) on how to get your very best night’s sleep!
For a little extra sleepy time pleasure, I am including one of my favorite bedtime drinks – I promise it will help you sleep like a baby!
Sleepy London Fog Recipe
6 cups 2% Fairlife milk
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Pinch of turmeric
- Combine milk and spices in a medium saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring milk to a simmer.
- Stir in maple syrup and reduce heat to low.
- Stirring occasionally, about every 2 minutes, allow flavors to infuse for 5-10 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information (per serving):
105 calories, 3.5 g fat, 10 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 90 mg sodium