A few weeks ago, ecobee invited speaker, best-selling author, and award-winning holistic nutritionist Selin Bilgin to speak to our employees on revolutionizing their sleep. Bilgin’s approach was unique and refreshing. In addition to sharing some research, she also encouraged us to choose sleep techniques that would make the biggest difference in our lives personally. “Here is the thing. We have thousands of books on sleep, nutrition, exercise, meditation, the list goes on. Is this really about more information? Or is it about more self-awareness?”
Whether you have trouble falling asleep, struggle with snoozing your alarm, or just want to navigate Daylight Savings Time next week, consider what simple changes you can make from our list below.
1. Shift your habits.
Massive, sudden change can be hard to implement. That’s why Bilgin suggests to start shifting your habits instead of overhauling them. “Don’t completely eliminate everything that brings us joy. But start to set a boundary.”
This can look different for everyone. Maybe it’s starting your TV show 15 minutes earlier so you can get to bed 15 minutes earlier. Maybe it’s putting your phone away instead of scrolling in bed. Or maybe it’s skipping that cup of coffee in the afternoon. Whatever habit you decide to address, make sure you fill it with another ritual. Meditation, reading, learning something new, and spending time with family are all ways to create better sleep hygiene.
2. Avoid certain foods before bed.
“I have so many clients coming to me with heartburn or acid reflux. If you’re experiencing that, avoid citrus food, spicy food, fried food, and heavy meals like alfredo,” points out Bilgin. That’s because foods like these are harder on the digestive system and can trigger indigestion – something that can keep us up or wake us up at night. Instead, Bilgin recommends lighter dinners like a zucchini lasagna or a one pot meal with chicken and vegetables. With the cooler weather and harvest season, soup is also a great option.
3. Create a comfortable sleep environment.
A comfortable mattress, soft sheets, blackout curtains – these can all help create a bedroom oasis and improve your quality of sleep. There’s one strategy that doesn’t require you to go out and make a new purchase though. And that’s turning your thermostat down a few degrees. “16 to 19 degrees is actually best for sleeping. It might seem a little cool at first, but you’ll find it more comfortable,” says Bilgin.
With an ecobee smart thermostat, you can adjust your Activities and Comfort Settings to automatically keep the temperature at a certain level when you sleep and start heating your home when you wake up. You can change your schedule anytime from your ecobee thermostat, web portal, or the ecobee app. For detailed instructions, read more here.
4. Set the mood for sleep with music.
One study shows adults who listened to 45 minutes of music before sleep reported better sleep quality beginning on the very first night. Over time, the study participants reported better sleep the more often they incorporated music into their nightly routine.
“But,” warns Bilgin, “the type of music matters.” She suggests classical music, sound baths, nature sounds, or lo fi. Use your ecobee SmartCamera with voice control (now with Siri) or SmartThermostat with voice control as a speaker and turn on a calming, relaxing playlist of your choice before heading to bed.
5. Feel safe and comfortable.
“One of the things I don’t feel like is talked about enough is the need to feel safe and comfortable while you sleep. Stress makes you not able to sleep, and not able to stay asleep,” says Bilgin. Feeling safe can look like so many different things – closing the door to your room, using a weighted blanket, or even addressing a conversation or concern to prevent your mind from racing.
One of the things we at ecobee do to help people feel safe in their home is provide a home monitoring solution, which allows you to select “Arm Stay” to monitor entry detection with SmartSensor for doors and windows while you sleep.
We all know how important sleep is – it’s vital for memory, concentration, mood, body composition, and performance. But sometimes we don’t know where to start with getting a better sleep, a longer sleep, or a deeper sleep. We hope these simple and easy sleep strategies will be that starting point on your sleep journey.
And remember, it’s not a one size fits all approach. Bilgin says, “You are your most important experiment. You might notice music really helps you, but for someone else, it doesn’t help. So start making notes, and trying things. You know what your next step is.”
Selin Bilgin, B.A, R.H.N, is an award winning registered holistic nutritionist, best-selling author, and the founder of Luscious Living: Where Personal Growth Meets Wellness.
She believes that vibrant wellness on a mental, emotional and physical level is the foundation of a thriving and prosperous society, and Selin aims to impact millions of people across the world through her message of holistic health.
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