Hello Friends, with all the craziness going on in the world it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Now more than ever it is super important to get restful and restorative sleep! Sadly for many of us that is easier said than done. With everything going on in the country and in our busy lives it can be difficult to wind down at night and fall asleep. Daily stress can keep you awake and then anxiety about not being able to fall asleep keeps you awake and can spiral into a vicious cycle! That is why I have come up with some helpful tips to help you get to sleep faster, get more restful, restorative sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and amazing in the morning so you can go out there and crush it and tackle your day.
First let’s start with what you can do during the day to help you get that restful sleep at night. Exercise is an easy way to keep your cardiovascular system in good shape, increase blood flow and reduce stress, all of which will aid in better sleep. In order to maintain a healthy weight and meet specific fitness goals Adults should aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day according to the Mayo Clinic. If you can find the time to go for a walk or a quick jog once per day it can make a huge difference.
Second, you are what you eat, if you eat like trash you’re gonna sleep like trash. Studies have shown that people who eat more leafy greens, fruits and vegetables with antioxidants and foods high in unsaturated fats like nuts, fish and avocados are less likely to have insomnia or reduced sleep duration. On the opposite side of a healthy diet promoting sleep, poor sleep promotes hunger for junk food. One study showed that restriction to 4 hours of sleep 5 nights in a row resulted in a preference for pizza, doughnuts, and candy, but after 5 nights of normal sleep, the cravings for junk food were reduced. So it’s pretty simple here, I’m not advocating for “this” diet or “that” diet, but just making healthier choices throughout the day that can win you small victories and small victories can lead to huge wins!
After you have done your part by making healthy food choices throughout the day and getting a little exercise, there are several other easy ways to help promote healthy sleep habits. First you want to try and go to bed and wake up at the same or similar time each day. This will help support your body’s natural circadian rhythms (sleep and wake cycle). Our bodies like routine and this simple attempt at regulating your circadian rhythm can help tremendously in getting better sleep. You also want to avoid stimulating activities right before bed like looking at your phone, computer or watching TV. Blasting our eyeballs with bright lights and different visual stimuli right before bed are detrimental to us getting restful sleep. Finally you want to make your bedroom your sleep sanctuary. If possible, make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet and cool. We all know how great it feels after a long day to get into a nice clean bed in a cold dark room, it’s making me sleepy just thinking about it!
Okay, so now we have eaten healthy all week, been getting regular exercise and turned our bedrooms into a dark, cold Shangrila…and we still are having trouble sleeping, what now?! At this point a lot of people tend to turn to different pharmaceutical options like sleeping pills that are not only addictive and habit forming but have all kinds of negative side effects like doing strange and potentially dangerous activities while sleep walking! I have found that if some sort of sleep aid is needed there are some really great natural ingredients out there that can make a huge difference. Most people at this point know about melatonin supplements. Taking supplemental melatonin can be helpful to promote sleep and maintain sleep but many of the products out there on the market have formulations that are too strong and can cause severe grogginess similar to sleeping pills. A fantastic ingredient I have found that can help aid in sleep is Tart Cherry Extract. Tart Montmorency cherries have been reported to contain high levels of phytochemicals including melatonin, a molecule critical in regulating the sleep-wake cycle in humans. In a 2012 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design, 20 volunteers consumed either a placebo or tart cherry juice concentrate for 7 days. Measures of sleep quality recorded by actigraphy and subjective sleep questionnaires were completed. The findings of the study suggest that consumption of a tart cherry juice concentrate provides an increase in exogenous melatonin that is beneficial in improving sleep duration and quality in healthy men and women and might be of benefit in managing disturbed sleep. I certainly have found that Tart Cherry, when paired with other sleep promoting ingredients in the formula for my sleep supplement Restore, can help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer and wake up feeling refreshed and not groggy!
To wrap things up, we all now know the importance of good sleep and that it can sometimes be difficult to come by. By practicing healthier eating habits throughout the week, getting some daily exercise, improving your sleep environment and taking properly formulated supplements containing Tart Cherry Extract, you can wildly improve your sleep! Getting better sleep can help improve your life in so many ways and help you perform at your best. I hope y’all find this information useful and I am looking forward to hearing about your great night's sleep!
Stay well my friends, until next time.
Scott Solomon is a former collegiate and NFL athlete and the co-founder and CEO of BrainTree Nutrition. He is passionate about helping people live their happiest and healthiest lives. Through meticulous research and an unwavering commitment to transparency, quality and honesty, he and the entire team at BrainTree believe they have created some of the best and most effective supplements on the market. Please visit braintreenutrition.com to learn more.