by Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, nutrition expert, mom of three, and author
It’s a brand new year and whether you’ve got big goals to crush or you’re taking the slow and steady approach, we all want to see an overall improvement in our quality of life. If you’re looking to feel more energetic and look your best, the number one area to invest in is sleep.
A good night’s sleep feels amazing, but beyond providing you with rest, sleep is also essential for your overall health. A 2014 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that at least seven hours of sleep each day supports good health and is important for supporting the immune system. Lack of sleep also can lead to increased appetite and to variation of hormone levels.
While sleep is clearly vital, many of us struggle with occasional sleeplessness due to stress and environmental factors. Setting up a sleep schedule and establishing good sleep routine can go a long way toward getting you a consistent night’s rest. Here’s some of my advice for the habits and settings that can help you achieve a restorative night’s rest so you can feel awake and present the next day:
- Keep it consistent: Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
- Limit caffeine: Cut off caffeine in the early afternoon. Switch to decaf or herbal tea after about 2 pm.
- Snack wisely: Certain foods can help you get a good night’s sleep. If you’re feeling wired in the evening, try a bowl of oatmeal, which is rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which may help you relax. The mineral magnesium is also great for winding down, so try a handful of almonds or cashews an hour or so before bed.
- Go easy on booze: As we get older, alcohol can interrupt sleep patterns. If you want a glass of wine or beer, it’s smart to have it earlier in the night than right before bed.
- Temperature check: Make sure your bedroom is at the right temperature, a room temperature of about 65° has been found to be ideal for sleep.
- Turn off tech: Put your phone and laptop away at least an hour before bed. Opt for reading a book until you’re sleepy instead of watching TV or scrolling screens.
- Keep sleep support tools nearby: Instead of struggling for hours and losing precious sleep, try taking a melatonin supplement when you’re feeling unusually restless. When I know I need help falling asleep, I take two Natrol Sleep+ Calm gummies about 30 minutes before I want to fall asleep. They contain a combination of melatonin, L-Theanine and a botanical blend of chamomile, lavender, and lemon balm. Together these drug-free ingredients help you relax and get a good night’s sleep.
Here's to a wonderful start to the year and to getting the sleep your body needs and that you deserve!