Improve your Sleep Quality

Improve Your Sleep Quality

by Barb Casper

One way to improve your health is to learn how to become more energetic and feel well-rested. If you cannot sleep well at night, or you put off sleep to do other things, it can add up. If you are not getting adequate rest, your health will suffer and you will be unable to engage effectively in your day-to-day activities.

Using the following tips, you will be able to get more done each day with energy and your chances of achieving restful sleep will improve:

Turn Your Bedroom into A Sanctuary
You want to create a relaxing place that promotes your ability to sleep. Your bedroom should make you feel calm the moment you enter it. Spend the money on a good mattress, comfortable bedding, blackout blinds, and make sure the temperature is conducive to sleep. If needed, get a sound machine to block out sounds.

Create a Sleepy Bedtime Routine
Create a routine to promote sleep prior to bedtime. Practice relaxation/meditation exercises prior to heading to bed. Take a warm bath (the rise and then fall in body temperature promotes relaxation), wash your face, brush your teeth, drink some water and then get in the bed.

Go to Bed and Get Up at Relatively the Same Time Each Day
This is a huge key to being able to sleep at night. It’s especially essential for anyone who suffers from insomnia. Eventually, your body will grow accustomed to the schedule and you will sleep better.

Should You Nap?
Many people make naps a regular part of their day. However, if you are having trouble falling or staying asleep, napping too late may be the culprit. If you must nap, try to take your nap earlier in the day. Set your alarm and keep your naps short (less than an hour).

Eat Right
Your digestion or lack thereof plays into your ability to sleep well. Eat a healthy diet.

Don’t Eat Late at Night
A recipe for insomnia is eating late at night or eating the wrong foods prior to bedtime. Avoid greasy, sugary and spicy foods at this time. The last thing you want to do is divert your body’s energy toward your digestive system which may result in your inability to reach a state of deep and restful sleep. Avoid eating two to three hours before bedtime to improve restful sleep.

Stay Hydrated and Balance Your Fluid Intake
Drink plenty of filtered tap water to stay hydrated during the daytime. After dinner, allow yourself enough fluid to avoid waking up thirsty. On the other hand, decrease your intake to avoid getting up often for trips to the bathroom.

Avoid Caffeine
Caffeinated is a stimulant that can keep you awake and decrease your quality of sleep. For better sleep avoid caffeine for four to six hours before bedtime.  Caffeine can be found in coffee, tea, chocolate, colas, cold medicines, energy drinks, and some breath fresheners.

Exercise Early
Exercise promotes restful sleep, can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly—as long as it’s done at the right time. Finish exercising at least three hours before bed or work out earlier in the day.

Moderation is also a key element. Pushing too hard for too long can backfire. An excessive workout can cause physical exhaustion and pain resulting in less sleep.

Turn off all screens

Turn Off All Screens
The best rule of thumb would be to remove all electronics from your bedroom. If you must have these items in your bedroom, turn off your TV, computer, laptop, smart phone, and/or tablet a couple hours before bedtime. The light emitted from all screens messes with your circadian rhythm.

You may also choose to read. If you choose to read digitally on a book reader make sure you’re using the INK technology to avoid the blue lights. If you care to listen to music, choose your music carefully. Some music can be very distracting and may not allow you to enter deep REM sleep.

Leave Your Work at Your Workplace
Keep all work materials out of your bedroom. This helps avoid stimulating your mind or causing unnecessary stress prior to bedtime. You want to avoid secreting the stress hormone cortisol which causes an increase in alertness versus promoting relaxation.

Do You Struggle to Go to Sleep?
Go to sleep when you are truly tired. If you struggle from more than 20 minutes trying to fall sleep or find yourself staring at the clock, get out of bed, go to another room, and do something relaxing until you are tired enough to fall asleep. Tossing and turning for hours, or staring at a clock face watching each minute pass, simply escalates your level of  frustration and tension.

Please note: Not all sleep problems are improved through good sleep hygiene. If your sleep difficulties don’t improve, please schedule a consultation with our naturopathic doctor. Your sleep difficulties may signify the presence of an underlying issue.

CREATIVITY – Losing yourself to find yourself

by Barb Casper
Humans are wired to create and live creatively. If we never sought out new possibilities and experiences, our lives would be lackluster, mundane, and predictable. We are meant to dream, explore, discover, build, and live with purpose and intention.

Developing creativity in our everyday lives brings us to life and connects us to who we are!

When you want to be more creative, try the following ways to boost your creativity:

Imaginative play: When is the last time you had fun? Take a moment and watch a child at play. You will find they are totally absorbed in what they are doing or creating. As adults, we have forgotten how to let our hair down and have a good time, laugh, and be silly and joyful! Try it! You will find yourself wanting more and your time away from adult responsibilities is good for your soul.

Listen to music: Take a ten-minute break to listen to your favorite tunes. Music gets your blood pumping and your creative juices flowing. Get up and dance to the music for that extra boost of endorphins.

Make time for yourself: Carve out some “me-time” every day to reflect in quiet solitude and stillness. Stopping the busyness and removing yourself from the stress of everyday life, even momentarily, allows you to identify ways you can create the life you desire. DREAM BIG!

Go for a walk: Taking a 10 to 20-minute brisk walk will help clear your thoughts and unleash new ideas to spark your creativity.

Take a nap: It’s hard to be creative when you are tired. Take a power nap. Set the alarm so that you don’t sleep too long. Find a cool and comfortable place to rest for up to 90 minutes.

Laugh: One of the best boosters of creativity is laughter. There are many ways to bring more laughter into your life. Spend time with people who are funny. Play with your kids and pets. Watch babies laughing videos on YouTube, or a comedy show on Netflix.

Meditate: Learning how to meditate can make a big difference in your level of creativity, as well as how fast you can bring it on when you need it. Just 10 minutes of meditation can help you relax, clear your mind and refocus your energies.

Talk it out: Sometimes it’s good to hash things out with someone who can ask the right questions. If you have a friend who is good with this, give them a call when you need that boost. You can also hire a coach or find a mentor who will be available when you need it.

Surround yourself with blue and green: According to scientific studies, the colors blue and green can help you become more creative. Get outside, observe and enjoy nature, and calm yourself with the peaceful colors of blue and green.

Let go of perfection and be open to new experiences: There is no such thing as perfection so stop trying to achieve it. When you let go of the fear of mistakes and the idea of perfection, you clear your mind of clutter and can refocus on being creative and enjoying yourself.

Being more creative can open a whole new world of possibilities. Tapping into it takes a bit of doing as this may be new for you. Finding what calms your mind and gives you inspiration leads to a sense of well-being and happier life. 

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