As somebody who has been struggling with sleep for years, I finally found out what was causing me to toss in bed for hours, staring at the clock and dreading the moment I would have to get out of bed. This can be summed up pretty much to one word: caffeine!
Yes you’ve heard it: C-A-F-F-E-I-N-E!
Like many of you, coffee lovers, I always thought that I was immune to coffee and that it didn’t do me any harm. I was used to drink a lot, especially during the week-end where I could easily have litres from the coffee pot while contemplating the day. Everybody around me would often comment on how much I was sipping on that black liquor, how it was not good for me for my nerves and more specifically my sleep. However, I never listened to them as I didn’t quite relate to what was being said. I thought I was immune to the caffeine effects full stop.
Cut down on caffeine
Then a couple of months ago, as I was reading about the caffeine side effects including on sleep, I understood how coffee could affect the body. Indeed, caffeine stimulates your adrenal glands to release adrenaline which then causes excitation. Therefore, I decided to take on a little experiment and reduce my caffeine intake to see how this was going to affect me. Strangely, I personally didn’t experience any bad symptoms that you may get when withdrawing from an addictive substance. I just felt a light tension on my forehead, I couldn’t even call it a headache. I guess I was lucky! Anyway, I tried to stick to one coffee a day, preferably in the morning and that was it. I did that for about 3 weeks and noticed that I was indeed falling asleep much quicker and was waking up feeling refreshed. I was feeling great, literally rejuvenated for having my beauty sleep.
After a little while, I realised that I was missing not having my black liquor during the day, that nice comforting hot drink that warms you up and make you feel better instantly. So, I started to integrate decaffeinated in my day. I thought that drinking multiple decaffeinated coffees would not make any difference on my caffeine levels in the body but it actually did. Indeed, even decaffeinated has some caffeine levels in it and I guess you start to feel the cumulative effect at some point.
One day, I looked up online for some alternatives to coffee. I stumbled on chicory. I remembered that it was a drink I was used to have with my best friend at uni when we would have breakfast at hers. So, I decided to find me some chicory. Chicory is a great substitute to coffee. It is a plant that originated from France, it was grown and consumed during times of coffee scarcity. The plant root, when roasted and grounded, makes a delicious drink that tastes close to coffee except that it is caffeine free. It has a lot of nutritious elements too such as manganese, folate, potassium, vitamins B6, and vitamin C among others. Drinking chicory, has helped improve my sleep significantly when I go to bed at night. I can have it anytime during the day and it won’t make me feel hyped or anything like that as it is caffeine-free.
Get a dose of sun-light
With the pandemic, many of us are working from home and don’t get much exposure to natural light. I also noticed that on the days where I was not leaving the flat, my sleep would get disturbed again despite all the adjustments made around my caffeine consumption. Indeed, I learned that getting your dose of sunlight during the day could in fact, help to keep your circadian rhythm in check and have a better sleep quality at night. Since then, I have been making sure to step out for a 15 minutes walk outdoor during my breaks. A daily brisk walk is also said to help boost your energy levels. So go get that dose of sun-light.
Soak in Epsom Salt Baths
Finally, I had heard about the magic of having Epsom salts baths. They are said to promote stress reduction and good sleep as they allow your body to absorb magnesium contained in them through the skin. Magnesium can increase your melatonin and boost your brain neurotransmitters that are responsible for inducing sleep and reducing stress. Wether it is a result of the hot water that has a calming effect on the body or the salts’ magic; I have been falling asleep like a baby after soaking in them especially in the days leading to that time of the month and you feel super agitated and awake. These are cheap and easy to find anywhere.
In summary, restoring a deep sleep is something that I managed to overcome by addressing the root cause (too much caffeine). What worked for me was to start reducing my caffeine consumption first and then integrate other coffee alternative to reduce even further my caffeine levels. Yes, my sleep thanked me for that! I also applied those tips above to help maintain my circadian rhythm and soothe my senses before bed time. This has worked wonders for me.
And you? What has worked for your to restore your beauty sleep? Comment down below.
Mission Healthy Living.