Sleep. So good, you can’t ever get enough of it. Except, literally, you can’t ever seem to get enough of it, right? No matter how hard you try, you never tuck yourself in until at least an hour after you planned. Maybe the laundry has been piling up, that spreadsheet still seems off, or that Netflix marathon has you sucked in. Whatever your reason, you’ve given the evil eye to your shut-eye, you’ve told your pillow your head’s gonna be late.

When your head finally reaches your pillow, your mind is spinning and you can’t fall asleep. Or, you fall asleep fast and wake up thinking about everything from buying new bras to where you are going to live when you are 90. Perhaps it’s payback for being standoffish with The Sandman? I’m going to tell you three things you need to do to clean up your sleep (we all need good sleep hygiene) so you get to bed on time and feel more relaxed.

But, first, food.

Yep, food can help you get better quality sleep. Certain nutrients help us to relax and others to produce more sleep hormones. Both of these functions help us get better slumber. While I don’t condone night time eating, there is room for an evening snack if you plan properly for it. The key is to make sure your evening snack is a portion controlled, conscious choice, and full of goodness that will help send you into lalaland. Try one of these:

  • Banana “ice cream” (pureed banana frozen) topped with 1 tablespoon of chopped peanuts: Sweet, creamy and comforting, bananas are a source of melatonin, a sleep hormone, as well as potassium, which helps normalize heartbeat.
  • Chamomile tea with almond milk: Made from a tiny European flower that’s in the daisy family, this tea, with its soothing mild flavor, is an age-old remedy for soothing yourself to sleep. Some health experts insist it can be more effective than sleeping pills!
  • 15 hazelnuts, 1 cup air-popped popcorn, and a pinch of cinnamon: Tryptophan is an essential amino acid found in hazelnuts that encourages the production of sleep hormones, helping you to drift off. The complex carbs in popcorn helps ensure that the tryptophan reaches your brain to do this job. I can hear you yawning now…
  • 1 slice of whole grain toast with 2 teaspoons of almond butter: Almonds contain magnesium and a deficiency in magnesium can lead to trouble sleeping. This nighttime treat is a double whammy for better zzz’s.

Now here are three things I want you to do tonight after your snack to improve your sleep hygiene:

  • Turn off your electronics at 10 PM (or at least 30 minutes prior to nighty night time!).
  • Then wash your face, brush your teeth and either do a mini meditation (8 count breath for 8 minutes or download the app Headspace for some great meditation ideas) or read a good book (non-work related of course!). For bonus points, light a lavender candle.
  • Turn your lights and night off at 10:30 PM.

Do this every night, no matter how chaotic life may get. Consistency and routine will help your body shut down at the end of the day.

Well, it’s time to get some to sleep (in my amazing Essentia bed I may add!). Remember, your laundry will get done gradually this week, the spreadsheet will still be there in the morning, and your Netflix subscription automatically renews itself. So take care of YOU tonight, and make nice with Mr. Sandman.

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