Updated: Jan 22, 2021
When was the last time you got a great night’s sleep? If this is a struggle for you, you’re not alone. From 3am restlessness to those mental to-dos that won’t stop, to the infuriating feeling when insomnia strikes and all you want is a good night’s sleep. I get it. According to the CDC, being awake for 18 hours offers the same lucidity (or lack thereof) as having a blood alcohol content of .05 %. Yikes! Consistently getting a good night’s sleep is vital to:
Living wide awake
Enjoying increased focus and productivity
Detoxification, healing and recovery
Waking up fresh with stores of energy for whatever the day brings
There are countless tips about how to get a great night’s sleep and I’m offering a curated list of FOUR SURPRISINGLY EFFECTIVE tips to getting that deep sleep you’re daydreaming of.
GET UP. This may seem counterintuitive but trust me, it’s a game changer. If you’re lying in bed for hours trying to sleep, the process of trying so hard becomes stressful and more conducive to being awake! Instead, let your body act on how it’s feeling and get up after 15-30 minutes of trying to sleep. Get out of bed and curl up with a blanket, warm nut milk and a good book. Reading allows your mind to relax and focus on something other than falling asleep. Read till you feel sleepy. For me this takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Believe me, being awake and reading for an hour is a small price for the deep sleep that comes afterwards.
EAT: Metabolic energy is highest around lunch time which means lunch should be the heaviest meal in your day. Thus the saying “Eat like a queen at breakfast, a king at lunch and a pauper at supper.” It’s best to consistently eat an early supper and avoid eating after 7pm. This allows your digestive system to relax and prepare to sleep. For those nights when it’s 12am and your stomach goes “I MUST snaaaack!!!!” That urge may be your body actually trying to fall back asleep. Try a spoonful of peanut butter or a banana or some nut milk. These foods contain an amino acid called tryptophan. Your body can transform tryptophan into serotonin and transform that into MELATONIN, which triggers sleepiness. (Our bodies don’t prompt bad choices! We’ve just forgotten how to listen!) You can also take melatonin supplements before bed to help you fall asleep. They do not keep you asleep and are not comparable to sleeping pills.
“FAIL TO PREPARE? PREPARE TO FAIL.” Unfinished tasks and to-do lists can overtake our thoughts especially when we are unprepared for the next day. (I’ll never forget that night my husband and I had a work session from3-4am due to insomnia.) The answer? PREPARE for tomorrow today! Look over your schedule for tomorrow and mark your top 3 priorities around which everything else can fluctuate. Prep meals, plan outfits, lay out those gym clothes and set that alarm. These small tasks, repeated nightly, guard against 3am work sessions and walking out the door with a sad half sandwich. This communicates to your brain “I’m listening. I’ve controlled what I can so you don’t need to make stressful decisions first thing tomorrow. Doesn’t it feel great to rest?!” Finally, before you nod off to sleep, stretch and read a bit. G’night!
RITUAL: Ritual is all about those environmental details that make a BIG difference. A cluttered bedroom creates visual stress which creates mental stress.
Clean. Dust. (You might be surprised at what’s been collecting it!) Sweep. (What is that under my bed?!) Change your linens. Dead skin cells accumulate on pillow cases and can cause clogged pores.
Clear the clutter. Be ruthless. Donate clothing, keep only your favorite books and sort those papers! Photos, calendars and electronics belong in your work/living space only. Sneaky tip: remove the branding/labels from cosmetics and use your own labels for a totally zen vanity. Sleep comes more easily with less light and cooler temperatures (hm, kinda like nature!). Drop that thermostat to 70 degrees at night and shut those blinds. This signals to your brain and body that it's time for some zzzs.
Add in the good stuff. These items make my bedroom functional and extraordinary. Want to ensure you’re breathing clean air when you sleep? Get a Pathos plant. They’re hardy and gorgeous. Salt lamps are rumored to help ionize the air and add a beautiful glow to your bedtime routine. Want more glow? Beeswax candles burn clean and naturally smell glorious without added perfumes. Get glamorous and invest in a sweet sleep mask, a sunrise clock, a bedtime essential oil mix and melatonin supplements. A small sheep wool rug adds comfort to those winter mornings when your feet hit the floor. G’morning!
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