How to sleep better, naturally!

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

If you have trouble falling asleep at a healthy time, the culprit is often everything that’s happening in the hours leading up to bedtime.  The late evening (on weeknights) is not a time for high energy, intensive activity, doing work, or eating heavy, hard-to-digest foods.  It’s a time to naturally wind down after your day, and start to calm the body and mind.  Follow this pre-bedtime timeline to insure a great night’s sleep, and shoot for being in bed, ready for sleep no later than 11pm.  Adjust your timeline accordingly to make this happen!

  • 3.5 or more hours before bed:  Eat a light, healthy meal that is quickly and easily digestible.  Soup, a salad, or some cooked veggies work best.  Avoid anything super greasy, fatty, salty, sugary or high in protein.
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour before bed: Turn off the TV, your phone, and any other electronic devices.  These interfere with your body’s production of melatonin, and can be really stimulating for a brain trying to gear up for sleep.  An obvious no-no is doing any work, checking work emails, or anything like that before bed!
  • 45 minutes before bed: Take a hot bath and/or drink a cup of chamomile or Kava Stress Relief teaall of which are deeply relaxing for mind and body.
  • (Optional) 30 minutes before bed:  Take an herbal sleep supplement.  If you need a little extra soporific action, opt for a natural sleep formula that combines melatonin, valerian root, GABA, hops, and L-Theanine.  My favorites are Natural Balance Herbal Slumber and Schiff Knock Out.
  • Get in bed and do this 5 minute yoga routine.  Doing some light, easy stretches before bed helps to get you out of your head, and to relax tense muscles.
  • If you’re still not ready for sleep, take out a somewhat boring book (now would be a great time to brush up on your Kafka!) and read until your eyes start closing.  Don’t read anything super exciting, engaging, or steamy (Game of Thrones and Fifty Shades of Grey are obvious no-no’s!).  And no reading on your iPad or other eReader!

Click below for my amazing, quick yoga sequence that helps to improve sleep and increase relaxation of both body and mind. Complete this routine right before going to sleep, in your bed.

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