Long Time No Sleep

It’s been such a long time since I’ve blogged. Life has certainly gotten in the way – mainly I’ve centered my life around growing my career. While working full-time at a supplement company, I have also been attending a full-time MBA program. Most of my hours are spent in front of the computer, writing papers or studying for exams. My goal is to marry my two passions, nutrition and business, and develop a product that helps people.

As I pursue my dreams, I still keep health a priority. Without good health, my performance is affected drastically. My brain becomes foggy and my body feels drained. For the most part, I have been keeping up with my health by really getting more sleep.

Sleep is so important to our daily function and metabolism. In the last two years, I have been having terrible sleep issues, getting anywhere from 3-4 hours of sleep for months at a time.  The combination of stress, depression and hormonal imbalance first led to trouble falling asleep to trouble staying asleep and then both. No matter how healthy I ate, without good sleep, none of what I was eating mattered. I have finally been able to get on a better, in fact, regular sleep pattern.

After hearing from people who have also faced the same sleep challenges, I wanted to share strategies I have been using that has helped me tremendously.

  • Balanced my hormones by taking a daily Vitamin D supplement and eating. testosterone-boosting foods, like salmon, milk, eggs, and beans.
  • Eat meals at regular times (within 2 hours of waking up and no meals 3 hours before bedtime).
  • Turn off electronics an hour before bedtime to avoid blue light. Schedule a do not disturb on my phone, so phone calls or text messages do not tempt me from reaching for my phone.
  • Hang up black out curtains in the room.
  • Keep the dog off the bed or out of the room.
  • Turn on relaxing music or listen to a guided meditation with headphones.
  • Buy a white noise machine. The white noise helps drown out any outside noise that can disrupt your sleep.
  • Take a magnesium supplement daily to help with relaxation.
  • Take a warm bath at night to help cool my body down. It might sound counterintuitive, but the change in temperature after getting out of the bath can help cool your body.
  • Turn down the air temperature to as low as 70 degrees.
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol.
  • Get rid of any unnecessary stress. We have more control over our stresses than you may think. For me, managing my time better during the day and surrounding myself with a healthy support system of family and friends helps reduce stress.

From getting an average of 3-4 hours of sleep to now 6-7 hours of sleep has been a drastic improvement. My mood and concentration have been much better and I feel so much happier. I know many people out there have these same issues, so I encourage you to first try some of the strategies that I tried and to really avoid coffee and alcohol, which can further disturb sleep.  If your sleep issues become chronic, speak to a doctor. For ladies, get your hormones and thyroid levels checked on the regular.

Now, I am working towards getting 7-8 hours a night. In the future, I’ll aim for 9 – which would surely be a dream come true.