3 Quick Sleep-Improving Tips

Have you ever laid in bed, willing yourself to fall asleep? Or fallen asleep only to wake up every hour for the rest of the night? If so, you know it's frustrating and can make your following day feel like the longest day of your life.

I've been a light sleeper since childhood and still when I don't get enough sleep, I'm irritable. My to-do list feels longer, my exercise routine goes to the wayside and I feel out of control with my eating. No fun! But what if things could be different?

When I guide my clients to improve their sleeping patterns, they notice higher energy, better mental clarity, improved mood and better eating habits. They also become much more productive! I've tried so many things over the years- earplugs, different types of beds, changing my routines, meditating- that I've been able to find some of the best and most effective tools for helping you sleep.

Here are 3 tips to get you started.

Get your circadian rhythm in sync. Be in sunshine first thing every morning for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Our circadian rhythm, also known as our body clock that cues us to sleep or wake, is reset by morning light, allowing it to tune in with a natural 24 hour rhythm of sleeping and waking. This will allow you to feel tired at the proper time and wake up energized.

Be aware of stimulants, such as caffeine, cigarettes, alcohol, and sugar before you go to bed. Caffeine has a half life of 6-12 hours, meaning half the caffeine you drink at 2pm will still be in your system at bedtime. My clients find that their energy and sleep is improved when they cut back or eliminate caffeine after lunch. Watch out for desserts with caffeine!

Get a head start on your melatonin production. Melatonin is a chemical in your brain that helps regulate your sleep patterns. At night, your body naturally produces melatonin to help you sleep, that is unless you're preventing it. Your melatonin production is triggered by a dark environment and its release into your system is slow. When you surround yourself with bright lights and electronic light, you slow down your melatonin production even more, making it harder to fall asleep. Try dimming your house lights and electronics 2 hours prior to sleeping.