7 Tips for a Better Night's Sleep
Do you have a difficult time falling or staying asleep?
You are not alone. Although some time call it involuntary, allowing ourselves to experience a restful night’s sleep is perhaps the ultimate form of self-care. Getting proper sleep is extremely important for our physical health. When we are asleep, our bodies quickly get to work healing and repairing our heart and blood vessels. As we experience rest, we support healthy brain function, invest in strengthening our memories, and prepare our minds for the day to come. Consider this: a solid night's sleep builds immunity, reduces chronic pain, boosts metabolism, and decreases stress, as well as chances of depression, anxiety, and other emotional disturbances. Not for nothing, but according to a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, up to 26% of people say that their sex lives tend to suffer because they're just too tired…You do the math.
To help you experience more restful and serene sleep, here are 7 tips that you can begin to incorporate into your life today!
1. Be Conscious of What You Consume
By cutting out the food and beverages that contain high levels of sugar and caffeine, you limit the amount of stimulants in your system, almost assuring a quality night’s sleep. Additionally, try making dinner your lightest meal of the day, and finish it a few hours before bedtime. Spicy or heavy foods also have the potential to keep you awake with heartburn or indigestion and should be avoided at night. I’m sorry to report that a night cap is not the answer to help you fall asleep. Although alcohol can help you to initially feel drowsy, it ultimately disrupts the pattern of sleep and intercepts the brainwaves that help you feel refreshed in the morning.
2. Design a Schedule and Consistent Routine
Ease into the transition from the waking hours into the night by performing the same set of gentle, soothing, and self-loving tasks each night as part of a ritual or routine that you create for yourself. Doing the same things each night at approximately the same time helps your body know that it’s time to wind down, and over time, helps to regulate your internal clock. Before you know it, you will be falling asleep, resting well, and awaking completely refreshed, relying only on your circadian clock!
3. Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment
Make your bed and bedroom as conducive to sleep as possible. Bedeck your bed with soft, inviting sheets, cozy down comforters, and plush pillows to properly support your neck after you zonk out! Invest in a memory foam mattress topper. Create a dark, soothing atmosphere to prevent over stimulating your eyes. Perhaps most importantly, keep stressful items like work, homework, or arguments and negative energy away from your sleeping quarters. Internally, you associate your bed with the things that occur on or near it. Let your bed be a place for rest, relaxation, cuddles, and quiet time.
4. Hit the Off Switch!
A National Sleep Foundation (NSF) survey found that nearly all participants used some type of electronics, like a television, computer, tablet, or cell phone, within the last hour before going to bed. The glowing screens of these devices disturb sleep and obstruct your circadian rhythm by mimicking daylight—especially those in the blue wavelengths. Avoiding these devices boosts the production of melatonin that you need for a good night’s rest. Instead, try being lulled to sleep by the soothing sounds of slow classical tunes, a guided meditation, or a book on tape.
5. Incorporate Light Yoga
Consider adding a gentle yoga routine, ending with a lengthy savasana, as a part of your evening ritual to help soothe your nerves, stretch your tired muscles, and help you quietly recuperate and center after a long day. Although regular workouts (especially cardio) do improve overall sleep quality, make sure that any serious exercising takes place at least 4 hours before you attempt to fall asleep. Try a short and simple routine like this one to begin with. Eventually, you may find that there is another practice that resonates with you more.
6. Find Peace Through Prayer and Gratitude
As part of your routine, include time for yourself to release the woes and worries of the day up to the Universe through prayer, and to reflect on the blessings you received through moments of gratitude. This is not only a great way to fill the time you otherwise would have spent scouring Facebook or Instagram (helping you to avoid the use of electronic devices!), but is vital for emotional and spiritual health. You build a stronger relationship to Spirit when you surrender stressful thoughts up to your Higher Power, and believe in your heart that you are heard and helped in solving your situations and dilemmas. Equally important, include that which you are grateful for in the day that has passed. Perhaps it was as big as a promotion or raise at work, or as small as a kind smile from a unfamiliar passer-by. Allocating time to recognizing and appreciating your blessings only makes room for more abundance and miracles in your life. Ahhhhh, let it all go and rest easy knowing that you are supported, protected, and blessed!
7. Diffuse Sedative Essential Oils
Use a diffuser to fill your room with the relaxing aromas from essential oils. Sedative scents such as Bergamot, Roman or German Chamomile, Lavender, and Ylang Ylang activate the alpha wave activity in your brain, leading to relaxation and improved slumber! Make sure that your diffuser is on a timer, as prolonged exposure to essential oils can cause adverse reactions, especially in certain individuals. Set your diffuser to release scented steam for about 20-30 minutes as you relax into sleep, or allow yourself to sniff 2-4 oil droplets released onto a handkerchief or napkin, on-and-off for approximately 10-15 minutes.
"I honor my body, mind, and spirit by providing myself with proper rest and relaxation each day. I fall asleep easily, and sleep uninterrupted through the night, allowing my body to recharge and recenter for another beautiful and blessed day."
Sleep well, blessed babes, and know that you are destined for greatness when you wake!! Namaste. xo