We tend to be a society that believes the best way to change our metabolism and gain health is by exercising more and eating less. Basically we like to believe we can beat our body into submission.
I’m here to inform you, this isn’t the case, nor will it ever be.
Instead of trying to take control of the matter by physically exhausting your body, what if you started working with your body by supporting it through every aspect of your life. Because health amounts to more than what you do at the gym and the three to six meals a day. Health is a 24/7/365 day thing and the only way gaining health and maintaining health is through supporting this.
The reality, we don’t have control of life when we sleep, yet sleep is what some consider the most important aspect about our life. It is the pivoting factor that determines the direction your body goes.
Bottom line: Sleep is THE thing that will make or break your health.
It can totally turn around your metabolism. It can help you lose weight with ease, decrease hunger and cravings, live more vibrantly and actually have energy. Like real energy, not the artificial kind we find ourselves guzzling, hoping to bring some life into our bodies.
Yet sleep is also one of the most abused and at the same time, sought after things in our culture. We know this because the number one prescribed medication is actually a sleeping pill. We want sleep yet some of us can’t get the sleep we need and therefore our waistlines increase.
However, while we can’t always control or change our sleep cycle, there are things we can do to enhance and support a good nights rest, which again is the number one indicator of a great metabolism.
So my challenge is to look around your room, your house and determine if the environment could be causing health implications. Things that prevent you from getting a good nights rest. Whether a bad pillow, too many blinking lights, or even what you do leading up to hitting the sack.
To help you support sleep, here is a list of my top 7 ways to support a good nights rest.
WARNING: These changed my sleeping game!
1. Know Your Sleep Chronotype
Your sleep chronotype is your own personal biological clock. It determines when you should sleep and how much you need. Each person is different, however they’ve distinguished four prominent sleep patterns from early to bed and early to rise (Lion) to the inability or erratic sleep (Dolphin) and two others. Once you know your sleep pattern and start working with your natural biological clock, creating consistency then you can expect a better nights rest.
Not only that but your biological clock (circadian rhythm) is directly correlated with your metabolism. Meaning your chronotype is more important than just when and how much sleep you need but when and how much you should eat as well as all the other areas in your life. It really is fascinating stuff.
To learn more check:
- The Power of When by Dr. Michael Breus
- The Power of When Quiz <- FREE quiz to find out your chronotype
- Simple Roots Radio Episode 30: How to Sleep Better with Dr. Breus
2. Block out Bad Light
Our biological clock or circadian rhythm is greatly impacted by light. More specifically the hormone that adjusts our sleep and wake cycles, melatonin, is impacted by light. As the daylight decreases melatonin levels increase making us more sleepy. However, blue lights from the screens of TV’s and other electronics diminishes the availability for our bodies to release sufficient melatonin for a good nights rest.
Yet, we know that giving up electronics themselves are not very practical. So to get around this issue and help the natural hormonal flow of your body (which not only affects melatonin but also your metabolism boosting hormones function) we must limit blue lights. This means even night lights, alarm clocks and other lights blaring in your room while you are trying to sleep. A black out room is really the ideal way to get the best nights rest and even more, using blue light blocking glasses at night can help natural hormone flow. Here are my ideal products to block blue lights.
- Computer Reading Glasses <- These are amazing and have greatly benefited my own health. Worth the small investment.
- Blackout Curtains <- These are 60% off!
- Lighting Science LED Household Light Bulbs
- Sleepy Baby LED Nursery Light
3. Create a Comfort Atmosphere
The worst thing that can happen is you go to sleep quickly, but wake up just as quickly because your body is aching or your neck hurts. Comfort and allowing your body to fully relax into a deep sleep is critical in health. But our sleeping atmosphere generally gets overlooked quickly. I mean, when is the last time you purchased a new pillow, even if it is the same brand? Or invested in a new mattress? Or simply got some cozy sheets?
Comfort matters, and if this is the excuse you needed to grab some temperature controlling sheets or that pillow you’ve been eyeing, now is the time. I will take full responsibility.
- The best pillow I’ve ever slept on! (Just FYI, avoid memory foam as it tends to hold the most mold and mildew)
- This Salt Lamp: Fresh and vibrant air with a touch of relaxing minerals
- Cooling and Microbe Resistant Mattress Pad
- This Single Room Diffusor or the Whole House Diffusor
- Lavendar Essential Oil
- Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
4. Know When to Eat and What to Eat
Some research indicates that a leading factor in circadian rhythm and melatonin release also deals with when we eat. In fact, when we eat is more important than the what and how much. The good news, is changing the when without even looking at the what is an easy starting point in health.
Intermittent fasting or timed eating is critical in the health of your sleep and achieving more energy and is the first step in taking back your health. It’s as simple as eating all of your food within a 12 hour window (or less). The second step is eating your largest meal of the day at breakfast and decreasing the size of each meal while also cycling in more carbs as the day goes on. Here are great resources that explain the when and what to eat for better sleep:
- Simple Roots Radio Episode #006: The Science of Intermittent Fasting
- What to Eat for Breakfast
- The Sleep Doctors Diet Plan by Dr. Michael Breus
5. Limit EMF Exposure
It’s not a wildly talked about topic, yet its one we are all affected by nearly every minute of every day. EMF’s or electric and magnetic fields are invisible areas of energy, often referred to as radiation, that are associated with the use of electrical power, wireless internet, and various forms of natural and man-made light.
With the use of cell phones and unlimited wifi we’re constantly being bombarded with EMF waves. Whether we can feel or see them, they are stressing our body and having an effect. We can prevent this constant stress on our body by limiting wifi and cell phone exposure or at least shutting them off at night. We use a timer which shuts the wifi system off and turns it on everyday allowing at least eight hours without exposure.
Another scientifically backed product is something called and earthing mat. Earthing mats are something you sleep on that allow you to be grounded. They help your body to soak up the natural current of the earth which actually includes anti-oxidant properties as well as a number of other health benefits. Here are the two products I recommend to limit EMF exposure:
6. Use the Power of Minerals
Did you know that many individuals are highly deficient in crucial minerals? Some alternative health practitioners believe up to 90% of the American population lacks adequate magnesium. Considering magnesium is used in the metabolism of sugar in our body, it’s not surprising that we become depleted of magnesium quickly. Yet minerals, specifically magnesium aids our body in relaxation. Some would argue that magnesium is even more powerful than melatonin. I must say, I can feel the difference from when I take minerals and when I do not. Safe and effective, minerals are highly recommended:
- Alkaline Booster – A natural mineral supplement
7. Prepare for Sleep
Maybe the most important and yet overlooked tip is preparing your body to sleep. Instead of eating, to lounging on the couch in front of a TV screen, or working until you can’t stand it any longer. I challenge you to give your body 20-30 minutes to prepare for sleep. This means limiting blue light, de-stressing, relaxing and fully allowing your body to enter into a peaceful place.
Hard to do, most definitely, but just 20-30 minutes of true rest and relaxation can help your body quickly drift into a good and deep nights sleep.
Sleep is essential. In fact, the most essential thing we can do for our health. Instead of fighting it and working against our biological clock, resisting what it is telling us, we must start embracing what we’ve been given. Embracing the chronotype, our genome and work with it to get the best nights sleep we can.
It doesn’t have to be hard and we don’t have to beat our body into submission. A few changes can go a long ways and I hope that is exactly what this list helped you to do. Realize quick and easy changes you can make for a better nights sleep.