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We often know some of the reasons that we struggle to sleep at night, yet we don’t make a change. If this sounds like you, then this post is for you. I have one simple tip that will help you start sleeping better and requires little effort.

I recently started learning about intuitive eating and how healing it can be to the mind, body, and spirit. The process of intuitive eating got me thinking about how I can apply this to sleep. For those of you that don’t know, intuitive eating is basically becoming more in tune with your body. You learn to honor your hunger and satiety signals Instead of eating at specific times. You eat when you are physically and not mentally hungry and stop when comfortably full. You also learn to pay attention to how food makes you feel to determine what foods are best for your body and learn to pay attention to cravings and what your body wants or needs. It’s also about healing your relationship with food and getting rid of the diet mentality.

This sounds like such a healthy way to live that I wanted to see how I can apply these principles toward sleep. So, I have one simple idea that you can follow to help you become more in tune with your body and what it needs.  Instead of honoring your hunger and satiety signals, let’s honor your rest and wakefulness cues.

If you think about it, we tend to fight these signals. When we are tired, we often turn to energy drinks and coffee to help fight fatigue. If we are feeling alert and awake, we may just be sitting around watching tv or sitting at a desk all day with minimal movement. Your body craves and needs movement, fresh air, and sunlight.

So, what I would like you to do is first start noticing when you feel tired or low on energy. Before grabbing some caffeine, check-in with yourself to see what your body may need. Maybe you need a nap, or just need to take a quick walk outside because you have been sitting in indoor lighting at a desk for a while. Maybe you are dehydrated, or perhaps you just didn’t get enough good quality sleep. See what you can do to take care of your body.

I am aware that, in reality, this isn’t always feasible. You might be at work and didn’t get a good night of sleep, so you may need to drink some coffee to help you get through the day or other similar situations. However, before drinking that coffee or energy drink, it can be helpful to step outside, get some fresh air, and sunlight. But the point is to first check-in and become in tune with your body.

The same can be said for wakefulness. This one is a bit trickier to notice. The feeling of energy and wakefulness can be drained away by sitting at a desk in indoor lighting all day or just lounging around on the couch and not moving a lot. My advice would be to pay attention if your body needs movement and to get outdoors. If you have been sitting around and not moving a lot, then try taking a short walk outside to see how you feel. You might want to continue to walk longer because it feels good or you may still feel sluggish, and that is your body telling you it needs rest.

Before bedtime, this principle of honoring your rest and wakefulness cues can be especially helpful for sleep. If your normal bedtime comes and your body is telling you it’s not tired enough to sleep yet, then don’t go to bed. Wait until you do feel tired enough. If it’s a little sooner than you normally go to bed and you are already quite sleepy, then go to bed. Your body will adjust how much sleep it needs every day.

Getting in tune with the body can be challenging at first but stick with it, and you will start to learn what your body needs. I believe this is a much healthier approach and that everyone can benefit. Our body is smart and will tell us what it needs. Let’s try and honor and respect what it is telling us.

I hope that helps.

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