4 lifestyle changes for a better night’s sleep

A great nights sleep might sound like a dream to some people, but it doesn’t have to be. With the importance of sleep to our health and well-being, it is shocking to hear how many people complain of a poor night’s sleep on a regular basis.

Waking up feeling rejuvenated and ready to go can positively affect one’s entire day through more energy, ability to make decisions and task efficiency. On the other hand, a poor sleep may lead to waking up tired, experiencing drowsiness during the day and added difficulty to daily tasks.

If this sounds like you, there are a few easy lifestyle changes you should consider making in order to sleep better every night.
1 – Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

Caffeine is a stimulate with a half-life of 5 hours.[1] If you have an afternoon cup of coffee at 3 pm, by 8 pm, approximately half of that caffeine is still in your system as you’re trying to unwind. While you won’t be feeling as wired as you were at 3 pm, the stimulating effects still influence your body.

While everyone metabolises caffeine at varying rates, if you’re having trouble sleeping, it would be a good idea to reduce coffee to early morning or entirely if possible.

Alcohol reduces melatonin production which is the hormone our bodies make to help us sleep. [2] Drinking alcohol in the evenings might not stop you getting to sleep but can heavily influence the quality of your sleep.

2- Stress management

While it is very hard to measure stress and the health impacts it has, it can make getting to sleep difficult and ruin the quality of your sleep. If you find yourself going to sleep with a racing mind, look for the cause of your thoughts and you may be able to address the issue.

Techniques such as writing down all your thoughts before bed and putting aside a few minutes for meditation before you sleep are simple ways to help manage nighttime stress and anxiety.

3 – Limit intensive exercise and stimulating activities at night

Leading up to sleep you want to be as relaxed as possible, which means avoiding stimulating activities. For some people, engaging in late night exercise, sports can make getting to sleep difficult, as it takes time for the adrenaline to wear off, heart rate to come down, and body temperature to normalise. Rather exercise earlier on in the day if you can to experience the benefits exercise has on

sleeping. Ideally, you would give yourself two hours of unstimulated time to wind down completely before bedtime.

4 – Go to sleep earlier

Studies have shown the hours of sleep before midnight to be the most beneficial when it comes to a good night sleep. Try and adjust your sleep pattern an hour or two earlier as the time when first going to sleep is more important than the total hours of sleep achieved.[1] If you’re feeling groggy upon waking up, try sleep the same amount of time but go to sleep earlier and wake up earlier.

Completely changing your daily habits may take some time but if sleep is an issue for you, look to implement a few of these changes. It may be small steps such as giving up your 3 pm cup of coffee, adding 10 minutes of meditation into your day, going to the gym the morning instead of the evening or just getting to bed 30 min earlier than before. All changes can add up to help you get the regular good night’s sleep you’ve dreamed of having.

Dr Ron has been a member of the American Academy of Anti-Ageing Medicine since 1999. With his vast experience in anti-ageing and alternative medicine, he is recognised as one of New Zealand’s leaders in this new field of medicine.

He has extensive experience treating patients with a holistic approach, combining nutritional medicine with bio-identical hormone replacement to help turn back the clock.

Dr Ron heads the Appearance Medicine and Wellness Clinic as well Biosphere Nutrition [https://www.biospherenutrition.co.nz].

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20460742

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK223808/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16679342