Spring is a time to give everything a fresh start, including your sleep. If you’re tired of the same habits not helping you rest well at night, here are some new habits to consider.
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Use a Neti Pot for Clear Breathing
Neti pots aren’t made specifically for snoring, but they clear your nasal passages, helping you breathe more freely. When you aren’t congested at night, getting a good night’s rest is easier.
Nose breathing switches you out of the sympathetic nervous system, known as the “fight or flight” system, over to the parasympathetic nervous system, or the “rest and digest” nervous system that’s better suited for sleeping. A neti pot can help optimize for nose breathing by getting everything out of the way.
You may get better quality sleep if you’re less congested and snore less. As a bonus, if you breathe clearer, your partner may sleep better too!
Use Relaxing Essential Oils
Relaxing essential oils diffused in your room while you sleep or sprayed on your linens may help you get a better night’s rest.
Essential oils, such as lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood may help reduce stress levels, slow down your mind, and allow your body to relax. However, before using any of these oils, ensure they are pure essential oils from a reputable company and that you can withstand the smell. Most people find them pleasant, but if you don’t, you may find them to be bothersome.
Also, use small amounts. A little bit goes a long way!
Eat an Earlier Dinner
If you’re sitting on the sofa streaming a series after a big dinner, you may feel that you’re relaxing. But, your body is working hard to digest your food.
Eating a large dinner late at night could interrupt your sleep. Eating too close to bedtime forces your body to digest and metabolize your food instead of resting while trying to sleep.
A late dinner once in a while won’t make a huge difference, but continually eating late at night puts your body in a poor rhythm and can cause high blood pressure or blood sugar.
Try eating three or more hours before bedtime. When that’s not possible, keep your meal as light and easily digestible as possible.
Did you know that time in bed doesn’t always equal time sleeping? Sleep tracking allows you to learn when you sleep (and when you don’t).
You’ll learn how long you lie in bed tossing and turning, how often you wake in the middle of the night, and how much real sleep you get.
Knowing how you sleep can help determine if changes to your pre-bedtime ritual are necessary for a better night’s rest.
You have several options when tracking your sleep, including a wearable (like an Oura ring or Apple Watch), an app, or pen and paper. Choose what you’re most comfortable with that won’t interrupt your sleep.
Use Yoga or Stretching to Wind Down
Consider a gentle yoga or stretching routine if your body has difficulty winding down at night. When you do light yoga or simply stretch your muscles, you release the tension and relax the muscles. Believe it or not, this also helps relax the mind, allowing you to sleep deeper and possibly fall asleep faster.
If you make this a habit, your body might start to associate your nighttime yoga routine with sleep, and your body could start to signal to produce sleep hormones at that time.
Always consult your doctor before starting a new exercise routine to ensure it's safe for your health.
Drink Turmeric Tea
Turmeric tea is known for its antioxidant properties, but did you know it can also help with sleep? Its high levels of curcumin help your body and mind relax and also helps your body feel better, allowing you higher quality sleep.
Consider drinking it an hour before bedtime for the best results, but always consult your doctor before adding anything to your routine.
Read the turmeric section of this article to find an easy and delicious turmeric tea recipe.
Remove Devices from your Room
Finally, consider removing devices from your room. We are all very connected today, and having a device in your room can subconsciously make it harder to sleep. In addition, using your devices too close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep cycle, forcing your body to produce less melatonin.
If you rely on your device as your alarm clock, go back to the old-school way and use a basic alarm clock, leaving your device in the kitchen for when you’re fully awake after a good night’s rest.
Spring is a time of new beginnings and new growth, and a great time to start new habits including getting a better night’s rest. First, take inventory of your sleep habits and quality of sleep, and then make the necessary changes. Try a few new habits to see what works, making changes as needed. With a few simple changes, you might get much better sleep and feel better all day.