These five essential sleep wellness tips will help you get a night of better sleep so that you wake up feeling refreshed with a clear head and full of energy to start your day. As someone who has been a light and sensitive sleeper, I have found learning how to get better sleep so essential for feeling energetic, maintaining a good mood, and responding to the challenges of life with a clear head and focused intention. These are my top sleep wellness tips for anyone who has trouble sleeping.
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Why you need to sleep in total darkness – A crucial sleep wellness tip
Melatonin is the hormone that makes you sleepy and is stimulated by darkness. The use of artificial lights and blue light emitted from iPhones and laptops inhibits melatonin production, thus causing poor sleep.
One of the biggest game-changers for improving my sleep came from utilizing an eye mask and making my sleeping environment as dark as possible. One of the key reasons why you need to sleep in total darkness is to signal the brain to produce the hormone melatonin, which helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle. Melatonin levels increase with darkness and help promote a good night’s sleep; therefore, blocking out external artificial light and avoiding bright screens before bed is imperative for signaling the body to produce melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy. Investing in black-out blinds or an eye mask is one of the best sleep wellness tips.
How low blood sugar can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night
Hypoglycemia is one of the reasons why you may have insomnia especially if it occurs in the middle of the night. Balancing blood sugar and cortisol levels is also crucial for promoting a good night’s sleep and staying asleep. If you can fall asleep but always wake up during the middle of the night, it can be due to low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night due to cortisol, the stress hormone being produced. When blood sugar drops too low and therefore signals the adrenals to produce cortisol to help raise blood sugar levels to within normal range. While cortisol is necessary for this instance, unfortunately, it disrupts the sleep cycle and wakes you up in the middle of the night.
Cortisol is a backup hormone that helps regulate blood sugar in times of stress, such as when you need extra glucose in your bloodstream to be available to run from the tiger. For this reason, cortisol is known as your stress hormone, and when cortisol is triggered due to blood sugar dropping too low in-between meals or in the middle of the night, this hormone can disrupt your sleep and wake you up. If you find that you can’t stay asleep and wake up craving or needing a snack to fall back asleep, your blood sugar and cortisol are likely to be out of balance. (I used to find myself in the kitchen eating corn chips, and I did not know back then how imbalanced my blood sugar levels were)
Suppose you wonder why I can’t sleep through the night. The best way to balance blood sugar levels to reduce the need to rely upon cortisol to raise your blood sugar is to stop eating refined carbohydrates and sugar, the biggest disruptors of blood sugar balance. Instead, eat whole foods high in fiber for steady glucose absorption into the bloodstream.
A fatty liver can also be the cause of hypoglycemia due to decreased glycogen stored. The liver is responsible for maintaining blood sugar levels in between meals. Still, when the liver becomes fatty, it has a more challenging time tapping into glycogen stores, the most accessible fuel for maintaining blood sugar levels. It is crucial to reverse fatty liver to prevent insomnia and waking up in the middle of the night. A high-fat diet, especially saturated fats, is an underlying cause of fatty liver; therefore, you should reduce high saturated fat foods along with processed sugar.
Why magnesium for sleep is an essential sleep wellness tip
Most of us know the feelings of stress, overwhelm, pressure, anxiety, and how it can be challenging to get a restful sleep in times of stress. Magnesium is a calming, relaxing mineral used by the body to help clear and process the stress neurotransmitters such as adrenaline from the system. If you have a hard time winding down after a busy or stressful day, magnesium can help you relax and clear the stimulating neurotransmitters from your system.
When to take magnesium for sleep
The best time to take magnesium for sleep is before bed in the evening. Taking Magnesium before bed will help promote a good night’s sleep by clearing the stress neurotransmitters and promoting a more relaxed state conducive to sleep. Magnesium, along with vitamin B6 and niacin, is used to convert the amino acid glutamate into GABA, which again has a calming and relaxing effect on the brain that is beneficial for a good sleep.
Foods for good sleep include:
Eating foods high in tryptophan and healthy unrefined carbs for dinner, such as sweet potato, rice, and quinoa, can boost your serotonin levels which are converted into melatonin. Increasing your ability to produce melatonin can help to improve your sleep as adequate melatonin production is needed for a restful sleep. Some naturally high foods in tryptophan include eggs, sesame seeds, tofu, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, seaweed, spirulina, codfish, sunflower seeds, goose, and chicken cheese, mung beans, and many more.
Best vitamins for insomnia
One of my favorite supplements for sleep that I recommend and have personally used is seeking health’s Optimal Sleep, a blend of vitamin B6, calming magnesium, ashwagandha, and 5-Htp, which provides natural support for a restful night’s sleep. Optimal sleep has ashwagandha, a fantastic adaptogenic herb for stress that helps balance cortisol levels. It also contains 5-htp to help boost serotonin levels which can then support the production of melatonin. The nutrients magnesium, niacin, and B6 are the best vitamins for insomnia as they help clear stress neurotransmitters to help the body unwind and relax.
These are my top 5 essential sleep wellness tips. Many of us take sleep for granted, but it isn’t until we can’t sleep or have disrupted sleep that we realize how crucial sleep is for mood, memory, energy, and feeling good. Take care of your precious sleep and implement these simple yet effective sleep wellness tips:) I am recently a mom to a newborn and can tell you that sleep is my number one priority! Getting to bed before ten, taking magnesium, and sleeping with an eye mask has saved my sleep. I don’t think I can sleep without my eye mask!
Utilizing a free app like sleep cycle is a great way to track how well you sleep, when you sleep your best, what times you wake up, how quickly you fall asleep, and how deep you sleep.