"Clean" Sleep: 7 Tips to Try Tonight for Your Best Sleep Ever

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From the foods and drinks we consume, to our evening entertainment, nighttime routines impact our ability to fall, and to stay, deeply, soundly asleep. Research shows that the quality of our sleep correlates directly to many aspects of overall well being, including weight loss, mood, and mental clarity.

  • Switch Out Your Nightcap Beverage: Vinos beware, a nightcap drink could be undermining the quality of your slumber; sure, that glass of red might leave you feeling sleepy when you tuck-in for the night, but alcohol consumption close to bedtime undermines our ability to achieve deep sleep, the stage of sleep associated with muscle relaxation, cellular rebuilding, and immune system strengthening. Try swapping in chamomile tea, or mix up an elixir with kava-kava, a relaxation root, or CBD, the de-stressing cannabis compound without psychoactive properties.
  • Supplement For Sleep: Magnesium has long been recognized as a calming mineral, in which many of us are deficient. Supplementing with magnesium before bed can soothe the mind, promote muscle relaxation -- no Rx required.
  • Sleep Sanctuary: There’s a common adage that the bedroom should be reserved for sleep and sex only. Well, we concur. Remove other stimuli from your sleep environment, like TV or an at-home workstation, which distract you from the only tasks you should be tackling in the bedroom -- sleep and intimacy! In addition, a cool temperature, uncluttered environment, and make for the most sleep-conducive space.
  • Screen Down: Even during slumber, we’re on the clock -- the circadian clock that is. This biological mechanism is informed by light, and the lack thereof (read: darkness!) triggers melatonin to help us get our shut-eye. Screen time with your iPhone, TV, or e-reader interferes with this process, impeding our ability to fall asleep and reach a level of sleep throughout the night that’s truly restful. And no, unfortunately, blue-blockers (glasses crafted to minimize eye strain from digital screens) do not counteract this detrimental dynamic. On the flip side of supporting your circadian rhythm, get on out into the sunshine as early as possible upon waking in the morning.
  • Read For Relaxation: Not sure how to “Chill” without the “Netflix”? Pick up a page-turner. Researchers at the University of Sussex found that reading can reduce stress levels by as much as 68 percent (beating out other relaxation techniques like listening to music, drinking a cup of tea, or going for a walk), with participants experiencing a slowed heart rate and reduced muscle tension after only 6 minutes of reading on a printed page (e-reader won’t do the trick). When reading, our minds can reach a state of meditative absorption and calm, prompting deep physical relaxation in the body, too.
  • Stretch: Reading is to mental tranquility what stretching, or gentle foam rolling, is to physical relaxation. Light movement of this nature is an excellent method by which to release tension before bed; breathe deeply during stretches or foam rolling, and allow the activity to take on a meditative quality.
  • Essential Oils: Continue to soothe the senses with essential oils like lavender or neroli, both lauded for anti-stress effects and even insomnia relief. Bonus: Try rubbing the oils into the soles of your feet; you’ll experience the dual benefits of relaxing the muscles, and, because our feet have the largest pores on our body, oils are absorbed more quickly, reaching the bloodstream faster in turn.

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