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Sleep

Are you getting enough?

“I’m fasting daily, tracking my macros, carb cycling, and exercising regularly. But I’m still not losing weight! What am I doing wrong?!”

If this is you, keep reading! 

Dialing in your diet and fine tuning your workout routine are essential to improving your health. But if you’re there and still not seeing results, it may be time to dig a little deeper. Sleep- or lack thereof- plays a major role in our metabolism, immune system, and hormonal balance. It’s so important for both physical and mental health and for preventing disease. And despite all of this, many of us still don’t get enough. 

For some, it’s lack of sleep and for others, it’s lack of quality sleep. But either way, it’s impacting our health and impeding our goals. Here are some tried-and-true tips and new ideas to improve your sleep:

  1. Find your sweet spot. Just like your nutrition needs, your sleep needs are specific to you. Identify the amount you need (usually 7-9 hours), and aim to get that much each night. 
  2. Cut off caffeine. Some can enjoy a cup of coffee after dinner and still sleep like a baby. Others are up all night if they have a glass of iced tea after two pm. Establish your caffeine cut off point and make it a hard line! For those with serious sleep issues, consider eliminating caffeine altogether for a period of time and see if your sleep improves.
  3. Get into a rhythm. Until the invention of the lightbulb, we rose with the sun and settled down with the moon. It may sound a little out there, but the rhythm of ‘day’ and ‘night’ sets into motion many processes in our bodies that regulate repair, digestion, and hormone production. If your schedule is flexible, try synching up with Mother Nature. This means staying up later in the summer and turning in earlier in the winter. If this isn’t possible for you, try to create your own rhythm of wake and sleep around the same time everyday. Getting at least some sunlight exposure each day can be helpful too. 
  4. Wind down. Find a few simple practices that clear your mind and relax your body before you lay your head on the pillow. Try meditating (Headspace app), doing some light yoga or stretching, taking a warm bath, making a cup of herbal tea, or reading a good book to get you in that bedtime mood.
  5. Create a sleep-friendly space. Save your bed for sleep (and intimacy) only. Avoid watching TV or scrolling through social media in bed. This way your brain associates your bedroom with deep, restful sleep rather than these other activities. Wear an eye mask if you’re sensitive to light or turn on a fan (or white noise app) if sounds disturb you. 
  6. Supplement if needed. Magnesium deficiency affects melatonin, the sleep regulating hormone. Supplementing with magnesium promotes balance, reduces stress and anxiety, and relaxes the nervous system and muscles- all of which mean better sleep.

If you think your sleep (quantity or quality) may be affecting your health goals, give these tips a try! Or, click the link below to join our next 6 week online program where we will help you get it ALL back on track! Sweet dreams!

This post was written by Lindsey Fields, RD

Lindsey is a registered dietitian living in northern Kentucky where she was born and raised. She got her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Kentucky where she was a football and basketball cheerleader and won two cheerleading national championships. 

After college, Lindsey worked in long-term care with the elderly. While she enjoyed this fulfilling work, after five years she was ready for a change of pace when she got the opportunity to join the LEAN Team.

Lindsey and her husband Tom enjoy a simple life of cooking at home, spending time with family and friends, and working on house and yard projects. Lindsey is passionate about nutrition and many other aspects of clean living. She’s so excited to be a part of the LEAN Team and to help others on their health journeys!

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