Melissa TuckerPurica Ambassador Melissa Tucker, a training coach and one of Canada’s foremost global fitness competitors, is a member of our team of Purica Ambassadors committed to providing you with healthy eating and training tips. The importance of getting quality sleep goes way beyond just boosting your mood or banishing under-eye circles. Adequate sleep is key to a healthy lifestyle, and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and more! Here are eight sleep essentials to optimize your rest time. Establish a regular bedtime routine. Find activities that help you wind down before bed, and stick to the same sleep-wake schedules. Yes, even on weekends. Use the bed appropriately. Beds should be reserved for sleep and one other activity…I will give you a hint by saying bringing work into the bedroom is a sure fire way to discourage sleep quality Exercise early in the day. Studies find moderate aerobic activity can improve insomnia .For best results, exercise at least three hours before bedtime so the body has sufficient time to wind down before hitting the sack. Get outside. Increasing natural light exposure during the day promotes healthy melatonin balance, which can help us get to sleep later in the day. Don’t smoke. Need another reason to quit? Studies show smokers go into nicotine withdrawal during the night and show more frequent symptoms of insomnia than non smokers. Eat for sleep. Eat foods high in magnesium, like halibut, almonds, cashews, and spinach, and foods high in vitamin B complex, like leafy green vegetables, nuts, and legumes. Taking taurine, vitamin B6, and magnesium supplements can also support rest for recovery. Turn off the screens. The artificial light emitted by screens is known as blue light, and can disrupt your body’s preparations for sleep by stimulating daytime hormones. To prepare for a good nights rest, reduce exposure by turning off TVs, phones, and computers at least one hour before bedtime or consider making a small investment in some blue light blocking glasses. Keep it dark and cool. A dark, cool bedroom environment will promote restful sleep. Program the thermostat so the bedroom’s temperature is between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit and use heavy curtains, blackout shades, or an eye mask to block lights. Also be sure to charge phones and laptops outside the bedroom so they don’t disrupt sleep. For more information, check out www.melissatucker.com or email Purica Ambassador Melissa Tucker at firstname.lastname@example.org. And for regular healthy eating and training tips, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/puricawellness and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/puricawellness *A note on vegan and vegetarian options: At Purica, we’re committed to empowering you with the best in whole foods, supplements and positive lifestyle solutions. We support all athletes and active living people whatever your dietary preferences, although we will always do our part to raise awareness about the benefits of vegetarian or vegan options.