In 52 Healthy Changes, Everyday Life

Not just a great picture of my handsome hubs…check out this kid! He can sleep anywhere! Hence the phrase, “sleep like a baby”!


poor night’s sleep is inevitable. There are simply too many circumstances that prevent night after night of blissful, uninterrupted sleep.

From fire trucks or trains, to medivac helicopters (which occasionally fly right over our house), crying babies and sick kids, to allergies or barking dogs, a poor night’s sleep effects even the soundest of sleepers. But what do you do when one night of poor sleep turns into two nights, which then turns into the norm?

A lack of sleep equates to stress on the body, which can oftentimes lead to weight gain, premature aging, hormone imbalance, lowered immune function, hair loss and even infertility.

We live in a rushed society where having more on our plate is considered a badge of honor, but this badge of honor comes at a price…and the price can sometimes be our health.  

Whether you lie in bed for hours while sleep eludes you, or you fall asleep quickly but find yourself waking easily throughout the night, tossing and turning, or perhaps you fall asleep quickly, but are wide awake again at 2 am…consider adopting one (or all) of the following healthy changes to promote sleep this month. Keep track of which ones are helping and make them part of your new healthy lifestyle.

(This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a few ideas to try):

1. Eat quality fats, proteins and antioxidants

Because sleep starts when you wake up (it’s true!), be sure to eat a healthy, balanced diet full of healthy fats, quality proteins and high antioxidant foods throughout the day. These will help give your body adequate fuel for your hormone producing organs to do their jobs properly. 

Without adequate nutrition our hormone producing organs cannot function properly. A lack of sleep affects the movement of the thyroid-stimulating hormone (as well as increased levels of the “stress hormone,”) cortisol. When excess cortisol is released it triggers our “fight or flight” reaction. When our body recognizes this “stress” it shuts down normal maintenance and begins storing fat while releasing sugar into the bloodstream (for quick energy). Nutrients become quickly depleted and cravings for simple carbohydrates and sugars are felt. Prolonged or chronic stress can eventually lead to insulin resistance. (source)

2. Turn off artificial lights

Try avoiding artificial lights after the sun goes down. This can be tough in the winter, but try your best to do this at least 2 hours before you want to fall asleep.

Artificial lights include items like smart phones, TV’s, computers, iPad’s and light bulbs. Even light from your alarm clock or diffuser can negatively effect your sleep. Remember that our ancestors used to rise in the morning and fall asleep with the setting sun, only using candle or firelight when needed (which are not considered artificial light, so feel free to stay awake by the fireside!). We even use blackout curtains in our bedroom because we have a streetlight that shines through our bedroom window all night.

If you’re accustomed to surfing the web at night (and don’t want to change this), consider wearing blue-light blocking glasses or downloading a program to reduce the blue light on your screens. Google “blue light blockers for computers” to find a computer software (such as f.lux) that works for you.

3. Rise and go to bed the same time each day

Remember those ancestors? They had a rhythm to life. A rhythm that has been interrupted by artificial lights and the stress of a fast paced lifestyle. This rhythm has a name, and it’s called our circadian clock. Circadian means “about a day”, so this clock is what our body follows on a daily basis. Adhering to these tips can assist in resetting our circadian clocks to help our bodies find our normal and healthy sleep patterns.

Remember that our ancestors worked the land, grew and harvested their food, and hand-made many of the goods they used daily, all of which took planning, time, energy and purpose. Today, we simply hop in our heated or air-conditioned vehicles and drive to the grocery store for a last minute meal. At times, I’m afraid this convenient lifestyle is to our own detriment.

The constant lure of the internet, or the endless supply of entertainment on TV grabs hold of us, and can easily steal our sleep.

Try, as much as is up to you, to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. (source)

4. Avoid caffeine after 1 PM

Makes sense, right? But passing on caffeine is hard to do when the 3 PM fog leaves us reaching for another “cuppa joe”.

Instead of caffeine, try eating a tablespoon of coconut oil! Sound gross? Try one of these chocolate bugs or this gingerbread “latte” instead. Then, as the afternoon fog lifts, you’ll thank me! Plus you’ll be getting adequate fats (remember tip #1?).

5. Too many trips to the potty?

I understand that as we have babies and get older, this may be unavoidable. But, if the need to “go” keeps waking you up at night, consider drinking more water earlier in the day. Aim to stop drinking fluids 2 hours before bed.

This tip, in combination with the other tips, (even if you do have to make a quick jaunt to the loo) should help you fall back to sleep with ease.

6. Get 30 minutes of sun a day

Yes, occasionally difficult when the weather doesn’t cooperate, but when it’s possible, get outside for some direct sunshine for 20-30 minutes. The wide-spectrum light boosts serotonin levels, which directly help improve melatonin levels at night (the “sleep” promoting hormone).

Don’t sit in front of a window, expecting to gain the same results. This is actually harmful as the cancer causing UVA rays penetrate through glass, but the beneficial UVB rays do not.

7. Get/give a massage

If you’re married, trade nightly massages before bed!

Massage not only reduces stress, releases tension and promotes relaxation (which all aid quality sleep), but it also gives you and your spouse some quality time together (bonus!).

If you’re not married, consider looking into a massage therapist, they’ll often times offer sales or first time incentives. Sometimes you can find great deals on Groupons or at massage therapy schools.

Has anyone ever not loved a massage? If you have essential oils, grab a relaxing oil and enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy as well. 

There is a wonderful synergy blend from Plant Therapy with oils of Lavender, Mandarin, Ylang Ylang, Valerian and Neroli. This blend was specifically created to help calm your mind and body into relaxation before sleep.

8. Consider cod liver oil

This last tip is an optional one as my goal was for this healthy change to be free of cost.

Fermented cod liver oil is one supplement that I would recommend because of the wide variety of health benefits. Since cod liver oil has fat soluble vitamins A, D and K (plus Omega-3s), it is great for promoting hormone production and improving sleep (the two go hand-in-hand). When taking cod liver oil in combination with a high vitamin butter oil, you have a synergistic effect that helps your body better utilize each individual component. After researching many different brands, we have taking Green Pastures for years with great results but most recently switched to NutraPro because it offers the same great results but is MUCH more palatable with no fishy aftertaste.

  • Our family chooses to use Plant Therapy for their high quality, pure, therapeutic grade essential oils, offered at affordable prices. For $10 off your first order (first time customers only), click through our Plant Therapy link in the sidebar and use promo code: signup10.
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Showing 7 comments
  • Avatar

    Is it best to take CLO in liquid or capsule form? Azure sells a kid friendly one that’s strawberry flavored! What’s the difference between the CLO and that mixed with the butter oil? The price difference is huge :/

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen

      Lauren, from what I’ve found out, buying the liquid CLO saves you money, but tastes worse! My kids don’t swallow pills yet, so they can only do the liquid. Be sure there are no harmful ingredients like food coloring. As for the flavoring, it may not be the best, but in my opinion the good of the CLO outweighs the negative of the artificial flavoring. Also, if you have some quality grass fed butter (like Kerrygold) and you take the CLO at the same time as eating some butter you’ll get the same synergistic effects as the CLO/butter oil with the vitamin K2 in the butter. If you want to use the butter oil (which is more concentrate than regular butter and will have more vitamin K) then it’s more cost effective in the long run to buy the butter oil and CLO seperately.

  • Avatar

    Thank you !! I didn’t know about the cod liver oil! I am an easy sleeper, but I am going to share with my Dad who has struggled with sleep issues for years!

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen

      Great Tammy! I’ve heard that, although it can help promote sleep, it can also inhibit sleep if taken after 2 PM (although I’ve never noticed, but everyone is different)! Hopefully it helps him!

  • Avatar

    I would love additional info on the fish oil– namely, do your kiddos also take it? My youngest is a TERRIBLE sleeper and I am will to try ANYTHING, but I don’t think I could get him to swallow the fermented stuff or a pill. I have shamefully resorted to the Target brand gummies… is this good enough? Any other suggestions?

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen

      Here’s a good article with information on Cod Liver Oil (not all “fish oils” are created equal). My kiddos take it off a spoon and quickly wash it down with some water kefir or milk. You could also try hiding it in a couple bites of applesauce or a couple sips of a smoothie. Let us know what ends up working for you! Gotta get those kiddos sleeping so mama can sleep too!

      I should mention that my kids were super resistant to CLO at first. But, after explaining the benefits to the oldest child, she set the tone and led by example. Daddy even got in on it and we made it fun by all taking our spoonfuls at once to see who won! Get everyone on board, everyone will benefit, even if you’re just looking for the results for one family member.

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen

      As for gummy vitamins, I tend to stray away from these due to the sugar content. One brand of gummy vitamins I looked at has 1.25 tsp of sugar per dose. So, if giving your child this vitamin daily, over the course of the year that would be 4.5 POUNDS of sugar just from vitamins! I also try my best to get our vitamins, minerals, proteins, fiber, etc. in the least processed, real food form (as much as is possible realizing sometimes a gummy vitamin might be as good as it’s gonna get!).

      Another thing to watch for are food dyes and artificial colors. These are so harmful and can cause hyperactivity, allergy-like symptoms and even cancer. We try to avoid these whenever possible. Check out this article for more info:

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