11 Steps to a Better Night's Sleep
Are you feeling like you missed a night's sleep? Feeling lethargic, foggy-headed, and struggling to remain alert throughout the day? I understand your struggle. Poor quality of sleep has become increasingly common life problem, making it hard for many people to stay productive and energized. So if you're a mom looking for some natural ways to improve your slumber, I have some suggestions for you! Check out these 11 easy steps on how to get better sleep that won't leave any trace of fatigue or exhaustion. With these tips backed by science and real holistic solutions, prepare yourself for some uplifting shut-eye every night!

1. Follow a routine
One of the best ways to get better sleep is to follow a routine. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can help to regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Establishing a regular bedtime and wake time can also make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.  Your routine can include things like journaling, expressing gratitude, prayer, light stretching or yoga, an evening bath, or herbal tea, whatever you choose, try to do the same things in the same order each night.

2. Create a comfortable environment
Creating a comfortable environment in your bedroom can also help you to get better sleep. Make sure that your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. Darkness promotes melatonin production , which makes us feel sleepy. Consider using blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out light, and earplugs or white noise to reduce noise.  You can also diffuse essential oils that help your body relax and help quiet your mind.

3. Limit screen time before bed
It is also important to limit your exposure to screens before bed. The blue light emitted by screens can suppress melatonin, the hormone that makes you feel sleepy. Avoid using phones, laptops, and other electronic devices for at least 30 minutes before bedtime.

4. Avoid caffeine before bed
Caffeine is a stimulant that can keep you awake and make it difficult to fall asleep. Avoid drinking caffeine in the evening and try to limit your intake earlier in the day.  It is better to get your energy from natural antioxidants than from artificial stimulants and when you use foods and juices to fuel your energy, your body is better able to relax at bedtime.

5. Exercise during the day
Exercise can help you to sleep better at night. At least a half hour of exercise is beneficial for everyone.  Take a short walk if that's all you can do.  Your body needs movement during the day and has a harder time relaxing when there hasn't been enough movement.  However, it is important to avoid exercising too close to bedtime as this can make it harder to fall asleep. aim to exercise earlier in the day and finish at least 3 hours before you plan on going to bed.

6. Avoid alcohol before bed
While alcohol may make you feel drowsy, it actually disrupts sleep and can make it difficult to stay asleep throughout the night. I avoid drinking alcohol completely, but if you choose to consume alcohol, try not to consume more than one drink per day.   

7. Eat a healthy diet
Eating a healthy diet is also important for good sleep. Eating foods that are high in fiber and low in sugar can help promote restful sleep. Eating too much OR too little can disrupt sleep, so don't overindulge, but be sure to get the right amount of calories for your body. In addition, avoiding large meals before bedtime can prevent indigestion and make it easier to fall asleep.  Your body needs a rest from digestion while sleeping, so avoid all late-night snacks so your body can truly rest.

8 . Manage stress levels  
Managing stress levels is crucial for good sleep. When we are stressed, our bodies produce cortisol, which is a hormone that makes us feel alert. Cortisol is necessary for certain functions, but too much too often wear down our bodies and make it harder to sleep. Try relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation, essential oils, or consider talking to a therapist if stress levels are consistently affecting your ability to sleep. This is also a great way to regulate this hormone. 

9 . Take breaks during the day 
If you have trouble sleeping at night, it may be because you are not taking enough breaks during the day. Our bodies need time to rest and recover, so make sure to take breaks throughout the day. For some people, taking a short nap in the afternoon can also help improve nighttime sleep. 

10 . Limit naps 
For many people, napping during the day can interfere with nighttime sleep, so limit naps to no more than 30 minutes. If you find yourself feeling tired during the day, try taking a brisk walk instead of taking a nap, or take 10 minutes to meditate and let your body relax. (One caveat - if you have a nursing infant - sleep when they sleep.  Don't worry about limiting your naps mama - you need more sleep!)

11 . Go outside 
Getting outside during the daytime can help improve nighttime sleep. Exposure to natural light helps regulate our circadian rhythm, which is our internal clock that tells us when we should be awake and when we should be asleep. An hour outside is ideal, but a half hour will do in a pinch.  Plus, being outside is so beneficial for our body and soul!  So don't just send the kids out - go out with them - you will all benefit.  

If you’re having trouble sleeping, don’t despair. There are a number of things you can try to get better sleep. Create a routine and make sleep a priority by doing those things throughout the day that will support your sleep. You may find that you feel better rested and have more energy during the day if you commit to getting enough quality sleep each night.  Make sleep a priority, mama — you deserve it!
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