Do you remember the last time you woke up feeling refreshed and eager to greet the day? Was it today, yesterday, last week, last year?
Sleep problems can cause significant stress in the body and contribute to ill health, as well as mental and emotional issues. If you have sleep problems, finding the right mattress and pillow are obvious steps in the right direction.
In addition, the following natural ways to sleep better are simple but make a huge difference in the quality of sleep, especially in regards to the cumulative effect day after day and year after year.
Hydrate during the day
One of the primary reasons for interrupted sleep is the need to go to the bathroom during the night. Drinking enough water during the day and drinking less during the evening will help alleviate this problem.
This means drinking approximately half your body weight in ounces of purified water before your evening meal so that the bladder is emptied before bedtime. If you find it necessary to drink something, sip water or herbal tea just after dinner.
Chronic dehydration is also considered to be an underlying cause of snoring, as well as sleep apnea, both of which affect sleep quality.
Avoid caffeine after noon
People occasionally tell me that they can drink caffeine (coffee, tea or sodas) at any time of day and it doesn’t affect their sleep. Well, maybe, but I highly doubt it. Caffeine may not actually keep you awake at night, but it will most likely affect the quality of sleep you get.
Caffeine is a stimulant and it affects the nervous system for hours. In addition, it is a diuretic and will cause you to have to get up during the night to go to the bathroom. In general, avoid drinking any form of caffeine after noon.
Turn off the TV at night
Watching crime shows or the nightly news before bedtime is not going to help one get restful sleep. If you don’t want to turn the TV off at night, it would be helpful to turn it off at least an hour before bedtime.
In addition, be selective about what you watch in the evening. Do you really want those images of crime and violence floating around in your mind while you sleep, possibly triggering bad dreams?
Eat a light meal at dinner time
Based on our physiology and body metabolism, the lunch meal should be our biggest meal of the day. In addition, if you eat animal protein, it can take twelve hours or more to digest. In fact, red meat takes, on average, from one to three days to be completely digested and eliminated from the body. During the first six to eight hours after a meat meal, the body utilizes a lot of energy for digestion, which is not conducive for sleep.
Thus, eating a lighter, plant-based meal at dinner time will allow for a deeper and more restful sleep. However, the meal should be substantial enough that it doesn’t cause you to need to snack after dinner. Eating small amounts of healthy fats such as olives, olive oil, nuts, nut butters, avocadoes, and deep-sea fish such as salmon will more likely provide satiation at dinner time.
Avoid snacking after dinner
Eating snacks after dinner is an unhealthy habit most of pick up during childhood. This is the time of day when the body is least prepared to digest and assimilate food. In addition, food ingested at night is usually not fully metabolized (i.e., calories are not burned) and is more likely converted to fat.
The body needs a good four hours to digest most foods before bedtime. Undigested food or sluggish digestion during the night can cause restless sleep, toxin accumulation in the colon, constipation and potential weight gain. Part Two