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Sleep Better By...

Sleep is crucial to your overall health; in fact, recent studies have shown that sleep is nearly as important to preventing disease and controlling weight as a healthy diet and regular exercise. 

This is because cortisol, a powerful hormone, controls how your body is attuned to a normal rhythm. When cortisol levels become unbalanced, your health suffers. Conversely, when your blood sugars and stress responses stay balanced, it allows cortisol levels to decrease so that your body can wind down at night. But, if your cortisol levels stay high, you may not be able to fall or stay asleep.

The two most common factors negatively affecting cortisol levels, and thus sleep, are poor nutrition and chronic stress. Take a look at these things you can do to improve your quality of sleep.

What Can I Do In My Diet To Improve Sleep Quality?

When it comes to sleep, eating right is about more than skipping the junk food. There are specific things to avoid, ideal times to eat certain types of foods, etc. Try these tips for better sleep:

  • Don’t eat too late. Eating too close to bedtime pretty much promises a poor night of sleep. Experts recommend cutting out all food at least three hours before bed.

  • Consider the timing of carb consumption. If you’re watching your weight, don’t cut out all carbs. Instead, eat healthy carbs and do so in the evening.

  • Avoid crash diets. Consuming too few calories or not getting the nutrition you need from food actually increases cortisol, waking you up in the middle of the night.

  • Avoid alcohol before bed. Some people claim that having a beer or a glass of wine helps them get to sleep more easily. While this may be true, it actually creates interruptions in your sleep pattern, causing poor quality of sleep.

What Else Can I Do to Improve Sleep Quality?

If stress is what’s keeping you up at night, consider trying some of these things for better sleep:

  • Write out your worries. Experts suggest writing down what’s bothering you about an hour before bed. Try coming up with a plan of action for the next day. This frees your mind and allows you to relax.

  • Halt all media use. Approximately a half hour before bedtime, take a media break. This means no iPad, phone, email, or television. You body needs this time to prepare for sleep, and the use of technology can muddle your mind, disrupting your ability to fall asleep. Contrary to what you might think, television is NOT helpful when trying to catch some z’s. The glow from the television allows for small amounts of light to pass through the retina and into the area of your brain that produces melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone, causing sleep to be delayed.

  • Try supplementation. There are plenty of safe, natural supplements and herbs available to help with sleep, including Magnolia Officinalis, melatonin, and ashwagandha.

  • Embrace the darkness. Falling and staying asleep is easier if you have complete silence and darkness.

To learn more about sleeping to improve your health and energy levels, reach out to Matrix Age Management in Amarillo.

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