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7 Tips For A Better Night's Sleep


by Dr. Nancy Rahnama

Director of Health & Nurition

Let's face it, we’ve all experienced those nights where we toss and turn and don't get any sleep at all. It could happen every once in a while, or even start to become a pattern. Whether it's from a stressful day at work or simply drinking too much caffeine.

It can be exhausting when this starts to become a habit night after night, ending in no sleep. However with simple changes in your daily life, you can try and get back on your normal sleep schedule.



Here are 7 tips to help you get better sleep:

 

  1. Cut the use of electronics 30 minutes before you intend to fall asleep: putting your phone into a mode that reduces blue light can certainly help, but the best thing for your brain is to switch off. Put all your screens aside and relax in bed listening to an easy audiobook or relaxing music. Try to reduce stimulation and stress - doom scrolling on social media certainly won’t prepare you for sleep.
  2. Avoid caffeine from about 3pm: caffeine takes an average of 10 hours to completely exit your system, so stay away from coffee and energy drinks post 3pm.
  3. Limit your alcohol intake: some people fall into the trap of having a drink every night to help them relax and fall asleep more easily, but this doesn’t lead to quality sleep. You’ve got to remember that alcohol is a poison - you feel tired the morning after the night before for a reason. Alcohol inhibits the body’s ability to enter REM sleep, which is the state in which our body enters to repair itself.
  4. Create a relaxing pre-bed ritual: do you usually drag yourself off the couch to rush through your pre-bed routine so you can crawl into bed and scroll on your phone? This is certainly not a relaxing pre-bed ritual! Try cutting the stimulation 30-60 minutes before sleep (that means no stressful shows or checking the news) and listen to a book or put on some relaxing music. Try not to rush through your to-dos before bed, take some pleasure in your skincare routine (and develop one if you don’t have one). Once you start to relax and unwind, the smells of your skincare will help your brain know that sleep is on the way.
  5. Don’t overeat: In a perfect world, you should stop eating 2-3 hours before you get into bed. This gives your body time to digest in a natural position before you get into bed, and your body can start using that energy to repair the body, rather than spending the first few hours in bed digesting.
  6. Use white noise: If you struggle to turn off your swirling thoughts, try using a white noise machine or playing white noise on your phone. This could be ocean sounds, the sound of rain outside, or another noise you find relaxing. If you struggle with sounds like this, try playing something like the “Sleep” playlist on Spotify quietly.
  7. Manage your stress levels: Stress is usually the cause for a lack of quality sleep. Our brains often try to figure out the solution to problems while we’re asleep, leading to nightmares or frequently waking up in a panic. Sometimes, short term stress is unavoidable (such as when a loved one is sick) but if you find yourself having disrupted sleep from a situation you can get out of, think about doing so.

A lack of sleep can affect all areas of our lives, so make it a priority in yours. Make your bed and your bedroom a space you love to be in, and try to keep it free of too many things that can wake you up or keep you entertained, such as a TV, phone, and other devices. If you can, use an alarm clock and leave your phone in another room if the temptation to check it (especially when you wake up in the night) is too much.

 


Dr. Nancy Rahnama, MD, ABOM, ABIM, is a medical doctor board certified by both the American Board of Obesity Medicine and the American Board of Internal Medicine. Her specialty is Clinical Nutrition, that is, the use of nutrition by a medical doctor to diagnose and treat disease. Dr. Rahnama has helped thousands of people achieve their goals of weight loss, gut health, improved mood and sleep, and managing chronic disease. In addition to her private practice in Beverly Hills, she is also the co-founder and Director of Nutrition for Dr Nancy MD.

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