In honor of National Sleep Awareness Month, we’re sharing ways to ditch sleep-depriving habits and improve your night’s rest. According to the CDC, more than one third of Americans are not getting a proper amount of sleep. If that isn’t enough to keep you up at night, a lack of rest has been linked to issues such as weight gain, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
The good news is, there are factors we’re able to pinpoint as being a major cause of unhealthy sleeping patterns. We’ve connected with two sleep experts, Dr. Viktoriya Neverov-Krstic and Anna Frumkin. The Rituals + Alchemy founders are highlighting how to make simple changes to our lifestyle so that we’ll be able to catch a solid snooze all night long.
1. Late-Night Eating: “Be mindful to not eat within three to four hours before bedtime. This can impair our sleep since our bodies are busy trying to digest late-night meals.”
2. Late-Night Caffeine and Alcohol: “Did you know that caffeine can stay in your system for up to eight hours after consumption? This can significantly affect your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep as it is very stimulating to our nervous system. Alcohol can disrupt our sleep cycles and blood sugar levels, which can create a poor night of sleep. It can even interfere with melatonin, a hormone that aids in sleep, resulting in interrupted shut-eye.”
3. Lack of Magnesium: “Feeling stressed and counting sheep at night? Magnesium and jujube seed to the rescue. Magnesium is a relaxation mineral that aids in rest and digest, which is known as the parasympathetic nervous system. This is important because, in our busy lives, we need to find our evening tranquility. Magnesium also assists in regulating melatonin, which is a hormone that helps promote healthy sleep cycles. Magnesium soothes stress and anxiety by binding to the GABA receptors a “feel good” neurotransmitter.
Unfortunately, even with a nutritious diet, many of us are deficient in this mineral, which can affect our sleep quality and mood.
Jujube seed is a wonderful fruit and healing Chinese medical herb for individuals who suffer from sleep issues such as insomnia. In studies, it has been noted to lengthen sleep time. The flavonoids and saponins aid in increasing GABA and serotonin levels, which are your happy neurotransmitters that also trigger your desire for sleep. Our nighttime blend ‘Sleep Juju‘ has both of these beneficial ingredients.”
4. Soak Up the Sun and Put Down the Phone at Night: “Sunlight, as well as bright light, has been shown in studies to nourish our natural circadian rhythm, which can help individuals who suffer from insomnia. Our biggest tip is that if you work indoors, get outside as much as possible. That could mean on your midday or mid-afternoon break or lunch. That said, a friendly reminder that the blue light on our smartphones can trick our brain and body into thinking it’s daytime. This is a hard no if you are looking to get some serious sleep. Many of our clients have had success in reducing blue light exposure by putting their phones in the bathroom or kitchen one hour before bed. This can help you not be tempted to grab it in the evening or the middle of the night.”