1. Have a consistent bedtime and wake time: Again, the body LOVES predictability. When we go to sleep at the same time each night, our bodies know to pump out melatonin. When we wake up at the same time each day, our bodies know it’s time to create a robust cortisol awakening response (CAR) so that we feel energized for the day. The CAR is the biggest boost that we have in cortisol production and should happen within a couple hours after waking. A healthy CAR helps us to maintain healthy energy levels throughout the entire day and is important to our overall well-being.
2. Minimize electronic use two hours before bed: Try to put your cell phone away and minimize screen time, but if it is absolutely necessary, make sure to use blue light protective glasses. Not only does the bluelight from perusing social media, working late at night on the computer, and watching tv suppress melatonin, but it can also make us feel agitated and restless.
3. Try reducing your caffeine intake throughout the day, but especially after 10AM. If you do have caffeine in the morning, try a green tea which naturally has l-theanine and can reduce stress and anxiety. If you find that you don’t need the caffeine, but just want a satisfying beverage in the morning, a well-balanced smoothie might be perfect.
4. Eat a nutrient-dense (link to first article) dinner by 7PM every night. Do you find that making dinner stresses you out so you wind up eating late (which throws off your hormones) or you order in too often? Let us help keep your hormones balanced by cooking you healthy, nutrient dense meals with all the building blocks your body requires to balance hormones and get quality sleep!
5. Avoid intense exercise in the evening: High intensity exercise in the evening increases cortisol levels and can impact sleep quality and our ability to fall asleep.
6. Get light exposure in the morning and try not to linger in bed: Light exposure, like getting a day lamp, opening a blind, or better yet stepping outside into the sunshine will help with the cortisol awakening response discussed previously. When we linger in bed, we confuse our brains and bodies.
7. Have breakfast within an hour of waking and eat meals at consistent times: This will help with blood sugar balance and mood and will keep cravings at bay.
8. Try a cup of chamomile tea in the evening which can have nervonic and calming properties, or even a small glass of tart cherry juice which is a natural source of melatonin.
In addition to preventing cravings, good quality sleep is essential for so many other functions in the body, including supporting a healthy immune system, protecting reproductive function, ensuring proper cognitive function, supporting detoxification and digestion. Our digestive tracts actually have a circadian rhythm, and a disruption in our rest impacts gut motility.