An average person spends 33 years of their lifetime in bed, and 26 out of that 33 sleeping . Twenty-six years! That’s roughly one-third of our entire lives! The remaining seven years go solely into trying to fall asleep. Just as much as in sleep, a surprisingly large chunk of our lives is spent getting to it.
So here’s a pro tip for making the most out of life: achieve sleep efficiency! Make sure that this one-third of our lifetime is spent right, to its full quality and potential.
And there’s no better time to start working toward this goal than right now, as we step into the last month of the year! In this guide to better sleep, let us help you wrap up your day (and year) with a proper send-off, and prepare to kick off the next one fresh.
Under-sleeping VS Over-sleeping
Grinding on the weekdays and slumbering on the weekends seems to be a common schedule for us moderners, and it’s not hard to find those around us who spend their Saturdays “making up” for missed sleep. Sounds like a working equation… except sleep cannot be “made up for.”
In fact, sleeping for too long during the weekend makes getting to sleep on time during the weekdays even harder . Keeping an inconsistent sleep schedule disrupts the body’s biorhythm, resulting in a downward spiral where the “sleep deficit” accumulates and we feel more and more tired, regardless of how long we physically stay in bed. Not efficient!
The key here is regularity. Develop and maintain a stable sleep routine, and remember these rules :
- Keep naps short. Try not to nap for over an hour; about 20 minutes in the early afternoon is ideal. When mornings and afternoons get too drowsy, try boosting alertness with some healthy crunch: Now Foods Honey Roasted Pecans or Now Foods Organic Crystallized Ginger Dices make a great snack that keeps the body awake during the day without disrupting the natural biorhythm.
- No catch-up sleep-ins. On weekends or holidays, sleep no more than two hours past the normal wake-up time. If you really need to make up for lost sleep, sleep a little more for two or more nights instead of trying to get it all in one night.
- Keep regular mealtimes. Along with bedtime and wake time, eating at the same time every day helps set and maintain our biological clock. Try not to miss a meal—if time doesn’t allow for a full-on meal, at least grab a protein shake with a spoonful of Now Sports Whey Protein in water or milk to signal the body when to wake up and when to get on snooze mode.
- Sync with the sun. Natural light is a major “signpost” that our body follows when setting its biological clock. Try as much as possible to stay up and active while the sun is out, and sleep during the night.
Prepping for Higher-Quality Sleep
Passing the whole night tossing and turning? Not feeling as refreshed after a long snooze? The issue might be on the exterior. Keeping a healthy sleep routine and bedroom environment not only helps us get to sleep faster but also enhances the overall quality of sleep.
Make the most out of your ZZZ time by checking out this list of pre-bed habits :
- Log out. Try to avoid blue light from electronic devices as much as possible from at least two hours before bedtime.
- Unwind. Engage in soothing activities that calm the mind: reading, knitting, or journaling are great examples. Perhaps let a relaxing scent accompany the ritual: surround the bedroom with a blend of mint and floral herbs from the Now Foods Peace & Harmony Oil Blend, or the classic sleep-promoting aroma of Now Foods Chamomile Essential Oil.
- Take a warm bath or shower. Or, just soak the feet in warm water, for those too tired to spend extra time in the bathroom. Soothe the muscles, tense and upset from the busy day, with the comforting effect of rosehip seed oil in Now Foods Tranquil Rose Massage Oil.
- Make the bedroom a cave. The bedroom should be as dark and quiet as possible, and kept at a cool temperature of 18 to 20°C.
- Sleep, or get out of bed. The bed should only be used for sleep, and nothing else. This is to strengthen the cognitive association between bed and sleep, so that the body is conditioned into deep-sleep mode when in bed. If you can’t fall asleep, move out and do something relaxing until you really feel like sleeping.
- Avoid heavy and spicy food. Along with the stimulating effect of sugary, salty, fatty, and spicy foods that heighten body temperature, the high level of energy used in digesting these foods keeps the body alert and sleepless .
Not all nighttime snacks are detrimental to sleep quality, though. In fact, some could actually assist in better sleep! A good bedtime snack should stabilise blood sugar levels and promote the release of serotonin, a calming hormone that enables sound sleep.
This pre-bed snack recipe for a vegan cashew yogurt bowl does just that, and is also rich in sleep-inducing nutrients like magnesium, tryptophan, and B-vitamins. And most importantly, it’s so good—enough to unwind the mind and body into happy slumber!
Vegan Cashew Yogurt with Cherries 
Make a bunch of this delicious bedtime snack, and get creative with each serving by eating it with any choice of high-melatonin topping. This recipe calls for cherries and Now Foods Roasted Cashews, but is also great with kiwi, grapes, and/or Now Foods Roasted Pistachios .
Ingredients (8 servings):
1 ½ cup water
4 Tbsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp. sea salt
3 capsules Now Foods Probiotic-10 25 Billion
A handful of fresh cherries, halved
Now Foods Roasted Cashews, to taste
Now Foods Organic Oat Bran, to taste
- Soak the Now Foods Organic Whole Raw Cashews overnight.
- Drain, and blend with water, lemon juice, and sea salt until smooth.
- Empty 3 Now Foods Probiotic-10 25 Billion capsules and mix the probiotic powder into the yogurt.
- Cover with a cloth or wrap and let it sit in a dark, cool place for at least 12 hours.
- Upon serving, transfer a portion to a bowl and top with fresh cherry halves and a sprinkle of Now Foods Roasted Cashews and Now Foods Organic Oat Bran.
Nothing is more rewarding to a tired mind and body than a good night’s sleep. This December, let the day and year, however exhausting and “crazy,” come to a peaceful closing by giving the body the full rest it deserves. We’ll finish strong, and wake up fresh and ready for a brand-new beginning!
 Recipe adapted from: https://simpleveganblog.com/simple-vegan-cashew-yogurt/