Lifestyle Habits For Better Sleep

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Shorter Version

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Having brain fog at work? Giving into food cravings much too easily? Maybe you’re just not motivated to workout. We have all suffered from feelings of exhaustion, most often caused by a lack of sleep. The effects of poor sleep impact our social, emotional, physical and, even, financial well-being.

Lifestyle changes for good sleep hygiene

Just like we brush our teeth for proper body hygiene, we need good sleep hygiene to keep our internal clocks ticking at the right beat. Sleep deprivation can lead to poor immunity, risk for diabetes, weight gain, high blood pressure, increased stress levels, and disruption in hormones. Lack of sleep can creep up on us for many reasons, and, unfortunately, taking a nap or sleeping in on the weekend doesn’t fix it. By making a few lifestyle changes, you can start feeling your best after a good night’s rest.

Create an evening routine. Allow your body to wind down for at least 30 minutes before crawling into bed. Have a cup of herbal tea. Read a book. Meditate, practice deep breathing exercises, or do some light stretching. Journal about your day to help clear your mind. Limit screen time turning off the TV and avoid being on the computer or phone.

Wellness tip: Charge your phone in another room so you’re not tempted to look at it during the night.

Be consistent. Our sleep hormones are on a schedule and they like to be on time, so try to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. This includes weekends. Aim for a schedule that allows 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

Exercise. As little as 10 minutes of vigorous activity (like running or HIIT) can give you better shut-eye by increasing sleep duration and quality. Morning and afternoons are best for strenuous exercise, so just be careful when planning evening workouts if that’s ideal for your schedule. If you can’t squeeze in a full workout, add more movement into your day with these tips.

Limit caffeine intake. Not all of us can have that extra cup of coffee in the afternoon. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, stick to one cup of joe (or any other caffeinated beverage) in the morning.

Dietitian tip: If you’re feeling that afternoon slump, have an energizing snack and stay hydrated with water. (Read more about your caffeine limits here.)

Eat well. Research shows that the foods you eat actually affect your sleep, with the Mediterranean diet having a positive impact on sleep. Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats throughout the day ensures your body is getting the nutrients it needs to balance your blood sugars and hormones that help you rest.

Eat dinner early. Heavy or large meals just before laying down can disrupt your sleep hormones. Try eating dinner earlier in the night allowing at least 2 hours between mealtime and snoozing. If you’re still hungry before going to bed, have a light snack.

Avoid alcohol before bedtime. Yes, this one might be tougher than others, but if you’re truly having trouble sleeping, alcohol could be the culprit. Although alcohol is a depressant and may help you fall asleep, it disrupts the circadian rhythm, leading to poor quality sleep. Save your alcohol for mealtime.

Ready to unwind? Cheers to a cup of chamomile tea, a good book, and a night of good rest. Goodnight!

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Actionable Steps


Read the longer version

To learn more, read these articles reviewed by our professionals: Healthy Sleep Tips by the National Sleep Foundation, Healthy Sleep Habits by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and Twelve Simple Tips to Improve Your Sleep by the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School.


Create your evening routine

Find what works best for you to fall asleep. Get more tips on building a nighttime routine here.


Step away from the electronics

Buy a real alarm clock so you can put your phone in a different room.


Make it a habit

Stay consistent so your body can adapt.

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About the Author

shannon costello

Shannon Costello

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)

Hi, I’m Shannon! I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Culinary Coach, and Personal Trainer. After dedicating over 8 years to the corporate wellness world, I began my own nutrition practice. Chef Shannon Nutrition focuses on plant-based nutrition and culinary coaching. My passion for culinary nutrition grew when I worked as a cooking instructor for a culinary entertainment company. After several years as an instructor and event coordinator, I moved into the role of Director of Culinary Entertainment where I developed all the recipes, menus, and instructor trainings. My dietetic’s expertise helped the company expand into allergy-friendly and health conscious menus to suit all clients.
Full Bio | LinkedIn | 1:1 Coaching

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