Tag Archives: sleep

5 Things I Do For Better Sleep (Fall Asleep and Stay Asleep!)

Learn the 5 things I do that help so much with getting better sleep every night and have drastically improved the quality and length of my sleep! 

Sleep Better

I am not a good sleeper. I’m so so jealous of people like my husband who can sleep anywhere anytime without a care in the world. But me? I have anxiety issues that keep me up and are much worse when I’m stressed or my diet is high in sugar.

And if I can fall asleep easily, I would wake up way too early around 3 or 4am without being able to go back to sleep. My mind would race and I’ll think of all the things i have to do or just worry about things that were not within my control. And if this continues for a few nights (TORTURE), it would spiral into depression, low energy, and loss in productivity as my brain health would decline. I’m sure many of you who have suffered from insomnia before could relate. It’s no fun at all.

Throughout the years, I’ve tried out various methods to help myself get better sleep, some that worked and some that didn’t. And some that would work at first but stop once my body got adjusted to that new method. However, there are a few habits were consistently effective and they have helped me so much with improving my sleep.

Of course, keeping a healthy diet, eating low in sugar, and managing your stress help tremendously, but besides those obvious tips, here are my top 5 things I incorporate to ensure that I get a good night’s sleep, meaning I fall asleep easily and stay asleep throughout the night.

1. Epsom salt bath

What at first was just a feel-good self care activity for me is a non-negotiable these days if I had a stressful or energizing day. Magnesium epsom salt baths are known to relax your muscles, decrease inflammation, improve circulation, heal skin issues, and more!

I usually take a bath after finishing up work either before or after dinner, to mark the end of the day. I love having a specific nighttime routine to signal my body that it’s time to unwind. I usually pour in 2 cups of Epsom salt (I get this bulk size) in a tub full of warm to hot water with several drops of lavender essential oil.

Bath Time-Sleep Better

I make a ritual out of it by turning down the lights, lighting up candles, and putting on some relaxing meditation music. It’s such an enjoyable activity that relaxes my mind and body, and I definitely get a better night’s sleep afterwards. It’s actually quite difficult for me to do anything that takes even a moderate amount of physical or mental strength right after an epsom salt bath because it lowers my energy drastically, so I like to plan my chores and activities accordingly.

2. Reduce inflammatory foods

One of the best decisions I made in the past year was taking the Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test to find out what foods were inflaming my body. I was going through some uncomfortable bloat and digestive issues that were caused by what I was eating, along with sleep issues. When I took the test and eliminated the foods I was sensitive to like eggs and green beans, it was like my body could finally relax and get better sleep throughout the night without its immune system being attacked.

When we have food sensitivities, our body can react in a variety of ways from hives, digestive issues, acne, headaches, fatigue, joint pain, to weight gain. Interference of sleep is another huge symptom as our body cannot fully relax while being inflamed. And inflammation is also a stressor on the body, which affects our blood sugar level to spike and drop, keeping us awake in the middle of the night.

If you are experiencing these food sensitivity symptoms, I highly recommend you find out what foods may be bothering you through an elimination diet or taking a test. You can read all about my experience with Everlywell testing here. My 12% discount is still live if you want to use it:

Use the code EVERLY at checkout for 12% off Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test!

3. Eat more carbs for dinner

One of the reasons why you may wake up way too early in the morning around 3-4am without being able to go back to sleep is there may be a drop in you blood sugar level. This can happen because your body is going through stress, you have food sensitivities (see #2 above), you drank alcohol the day before, or you have a diet that’s high in processed sugars.

One of the ways to combat this is to reduce inflammatory foods like alcohol and sugar. Also, for those of you who eat a low carb diet, increasing your carb intake during dinner may help cause drowsiness and and help you sleep. This has helped tremendously for me. I usually eat low in carbs during the day, but will increase my intake for dinner to a moderate amount.

Carbs help lower cortisol, the stress hormone, while synthesizing seratonin, that feel good, calming neurotransmitter. It also prolongs the release of insulin, helping you stay asleep. Make sure to stick with healthy, real food carbs like fruits, white rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other starchy vegetables.

4. CBD tea and other relaxation techniques

It seems like CBD is a new emerging health trend, and with good reason. Unlike THC, CBD alone doesn’t give you that high feeling associated with smoking or ingesting marijuana. When isolated and taken alone, it’s known to have so many calming benefits like relieving inflammation and pain, reducing anxiety, relieving nausea, and giving that relaxing feeling we need at night for a good night’s sleep.

I’ve recently been drinking CBD teas from Buddha Teas after dinner, and it really has been helping with promoting that calming and happy feeling. My favorite is the Organic CBD Chamomile Blend because chamomile is known for its calming effects, which make the tea extra beneficial for promoting sleep.

CBD tea

In addition, I incorporate other relaxation techniques. After dinner, I refuse to do any kind of work or anything that requires intense focus on my computer or my phone. Some people avoid screens altogether, but I find that watching TV relaxes me and helps me with my sleep. I also meditate after dinner for 10 minutes, and depending on how my body is feeling, I’ll also do some at-home cupping (more about the amazing benefits of cupping here) or I’ll lay on my electronic massager which always feels amazing. I use this massage pillow, and it’s one of the best purchases I’ve made and I highly recommend it!

 5. WishGarden Sleepy Nights

Okay, I’ve tried soooo many supplements and drugs to help me sleep when I really needed it. Sometimes they are necessary especially during traveling or stressful times. I’ve found that things like melatonin and valerian root will work well for the first few times and then my body will get adjusted to them and they aren’t as effective anymore. Anything stronger that you can get over-the-counter will put me out but I’ll be so groggy with a headache and dehydration the next day.

After many trials and errors, one thing that always works for me consistently is WishGarden’s Sleepy Nights formula. Made with a clean herbal blend to promote sleep, I’ll take this before going to bed and it literally works in 15-20 minutes. I can’t even keep my eyes open when it’s in full effect. And the best part is that I wake up so refreshed without feeling tired and heavy like I do on other supplements I’ve tried.

Sleepy Nights SupplementNot only that, WishGarden also has this formula for kids or pregnant women that you can check out here. They are also having a 20% discount with free shipping for all domestic orders for a limited time so I highly recommend you go check it out!

I hope these tips and habits that I’ve fallen into help you with getting better sleep at night. Of course, our bodies are all different, so what may work for me may not work for you. However, I think we should keep trying new things until we find something that’s consistently effective. It took me years to find what works for me after trying countless methods, so don’t lose hope! Getting quality sleep makes a tremendous difference on our health, mood, productivity and happiness.

What Great Grandma Ate / Jean Choi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
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Is Lack of Sleep Making You Sick?

I know, I know. Another post on why we need more sleep. But there’s a reason why sleep is such a hot topic. Good quality sleep is essential to our health and well-being for so many reasons. It increases our energy, strengthens our immune system, helps us focus and stay alert, and improves our mood.

Importance of SleepAn average adult should get 7-9 hours of sleep a night for optimal health. Like food, however, I believe that different people require different amounts of sleep. Some lucky peeps are totally fine with 5 hours of sleep. I, on the other hand, actually feel nauseous all day if I get less than 6. To see where you stand, I suggest experimenting with your sleep patterns to find out what works best for you and your individual needs.
Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 10.10.39 AMThere are so many negative effects of sleep deprivation, other than just feeling tired and run down. Here are just 5:

1. Weight gain. You satiety hormone, leptin, is reduced drastically when you don’t get enough sleep. Leptin plays a crucial role in appetite control, and you’ll have a difficult time suppressing your hunger while your appetite and cravings increase. At the same time, your metabolism slows down contributing further to weight gain.

2. Higher risk for illness.  Lack of sleep means increase in stress. When your immune system isn’t functioning like it should, your insulin level drops which means inflammatory proteins and blood sugar levels rise. Long term, this will increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and infection.

3. Higher risk of injury. When the mental and physical states are exhausted, your tired state of mind is prone to injuries, errors, and accidents.

4. Negative changes in brain activity. Have you tried to problem solve or process new information after a night of zero to little sleep? It’s difficult. When you are sleep deprived, your mental performance suffers,  impacting your overall mood, focus, and high-level cognitive function.

5. Struggle with emotions. Without resting properly, you’ll find that you have increased feelings of anxiety, irritability, anger, and sadness. It’s hard to keep your emotions in check, and you may even over-express emotions like laughing or crying regardless of the situation.

Now that you’ve been reminded of how lack of sleep can be detrimental for your health, here are some small changes you can make to your lifestyle to improve your sleep quality and keep it consistent.

  • Maintain a consistent schedule
  • Reduce your daily intake of caffeine, especially after 12pm
  • Turn off all electronics 2 hours before bedtime
  • Don’t go to bed on a full stomach
  • Don’t go to bed on an empty stomach
  • Use your bed only for sleep or sex

  • Exercise regularly
  • Limit beverage consumption before bedtime, especially alcohol
  • Keep your bedroom dark, quite, and cool
  • Invest in comfortable bedding
  • Go to sleep and wake up using your internal clock, ideally with the sun 

Importance of Sleep

In such a busy connected world that we live in, the hardest thing for most of us may be to let go of our laptops, tablets, phones, or whatever you like to play with at the end of the day. I am guilty of this as well. These electronics emit artificial blue-spectrum lights, known to interfere with our circadian rhythms. If you simply can’t let go of them, I suggest you invest in amber-lensed goggles that can block out these blue lights. You can also download a program called f.lux on your computer, which adjusts the computer lights according to the time of day.

It is vital to your health that your body consistently gets high-quality, healing sleep it needs and deserves. Once you start prioritizing your slumber time, you will see positive changes in your body and mind.  So please go heed my advice and make an effort to sleep yourself well.