Raise your hand if you burn the candle from both ends! I used to be that person too. I completely underrated the importance of sleep until my body finally told me enough was enough. Chronic diseases, especially autoimmune related conditions, may be exacerbated by lack of sleep. Additionally, fatigue can be a side effect of inflammation and autoimmune related conditions (1). Sleep is the one thing you can control, and having an effective sleep routine can help improve your sleep duration and quality. Here are some easy ways to start a good sleep routine:
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Step 1: Set a Consistent Bedtime
Establishing a consistent bedtime and going to bed at a “normal” time can reduce inflammation and improve your quality of sleep (2). By allowing your body to follow the natural dark-light cycles, hormones necessary for sleep (melatonin and cortisol) are produced in the correct amount, allowing you to fall asleep and sleep soundly. Aim to go to bed within the same one hour window every night, regardless if it is a weeknight or a weekend.
Step 2: Dim the Lights with the Sunset
Along the same lines as following the dark-light cycle, dimming the lights in your house around the same time as the sunset will help your body prepare for sleep. Additionally, blue light emissions from artificial light and devices can suppress melatonin production, the hormone that regulates our circadian rhythm and promotes a restful sleep (3). Blue light can be absorbed by our skin and our eyes, so by dimming the lights and by wearing blue light blocking glasses like these can help preserve our natural melatonin production.
Step 3: Create an Optimal Sleeping Environment
Your bedroom should be set up as a sleeping sanctuary. Anything that might be distracting or interrupt your sleep should be removed. Ideally, your bedroom should not have any electronic devices in it. If you do use your phone as an alarm clock, place it in airplane mode. Invest in blackout curtains or shades to prevent any artificial light or an early sunrise from waking you up. If you live in a bustling city or near a busy street, use white noise to block out noise. Turn down the temperature in your bedroom to 65 degrees which is the optimal temperature for sleep.
With a little bit of work and practice, you can easily turn a pattern of inconsistent sleep and constant fatigue into one where you feel refreshed and energized in the morning. If you need additional support to either jumpstart or improve your wellness journey, please click here to schedule a FREE phone call to learn more about my approach.