Chances are... You've just screwed with all the things necessary to sleep well.
Excess artificial light
Don't take it personally... MOST of us miss the mark with the simplest factors. Many of these things we may be aware of, or think might be good for us... but many times have never heard just how important they are. All make a MASSIVE difference in our ability to wind down and sleep well.
Fixing your sleep could easily be the single most powerful thing you could change, to drastically improve your energy, focus, lose weight, build lean muscle, etc. Many know it's ideal to sleep for 7-9 hours... but sleeping WELL (as in, improving the overall quality of sleep) is the most important factor. Your body undergoes all of its most important repair and maintenance processes at night; which is why high quality sleep is so important. As in, reaching optimal levels of REM, deep sleep, and every cycle in between.
There are many ways to improve your sleep, and many are FREE. Simple changes can go a LONG way.
Let's start with the foundations:
Simply addressing the list above, and reverting it, will get you to a much better place.
Eating whole, real, nourishing foods
Your body requires certain nutrients to sleep well. The average diet does not provide the body with adequate nutrients.
Scrap the processed, sugary junk. Toxic oils. All the stuff I've rambled on about in other articles. Because yes, it affects your waistline, inflammation levels, developing chronic disease, and your sleep too!
Eat a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, pasture-raised animal products, wild-caught fish, (and ideally adding in some organ meats!), some nuts and seeds, sparingly with starches and sugary fruit.
Go as organically as possible!
Gut health is essential in developing high quality sleep as many important neurotransmitters and hormones are produced in this area. Seratonin for example is predominantly created in the gut. Melatonin is produced by the enterochromaffin cells in the gut (which, also affect other physiological activity, like pain sensation, recovery and healing processes, and sexual arousal!).
Cutting down on harsh artificial light
We're working against our natural cycles when we're constantly exposed to artificial light. The high levels of blue light impacts our nervous system. Although there are many implications of this, it disrupts our circadian cycles and inhibits proper melatonin production.
-Replace harsh artificial light (LED, fluorescent) with incandescent and/or low-flicker bulbs.
-Install apps on devices and technology to reduce blue light emissions.
-Turn off technology an hour before bed.
-Wear blue light blocking glasses, especially at night, after the sun sets
Although stress is inevitable, being chronically stressed is not ideal for our physiology. When constantly elevated stress hormones and neural processes will create imbalances within the body, as well as deplete necessary resources. All of which will impact sleep.
Reading a good book, breath work, meditation, prayer, conversing with a friend or loved one, doing a hobby, going for a walk, yoga/movement flow, etc are all ways to mitigate the stress we encounter in our every day lives.
->THE most powerful way to modulate the nervous system. Improving vagal nerve tone alone will dramatically improve overall parasympathetic function for the body. Allowing for all 'rest and digest' processes of the body to function optimally.
How? By making specific adjustments to the spine based on specific physical, postural, functional, and neurological analysis; accompanied by structural misalignments as indicated by digital Xray analysis.
The vast majority of my patients report sleeping better within the first month of care. It's a common 'side-effect' of addressing spinal and nervous system dysfunction.
Be smart with your caffeine
Restrict caffeinated goods any time after 1pm or so. Everyone is different in terms of how well they metabolize caffeine, but most of us fair better by cutting it out by the morning/late morning.
Get your body moving
One of the most underutilized health tools. Going for a simple walk after dinner can not just help you get blood pumping through the body, regulate blood sugar levels, release good-feeling endorphins, give your eyes/brain good wavelengths of light, fresh air, etc, etc... but helps your body relax and improve sleep quality!
With a loved one.
With the earth.
With your inner self.
Never before has our world been so connected (through technology)... but DISconnected emotionally, spiritually, relationally.
As a human species, we NEED connection. It's engrained within us. Take it away and the body is depleted of a vital life-force that can't be supplemented with anything else. When we're connected, we release various hormones (like oxytocin), balance out others. Various neurotransmitters are stimulated. There is an entire cascade of important physiological events that help us optimize our health, and connection is at the very foundation of it.