Are you getting adequate sleep?
How’s the sleep going? I first began really focusing on my sleep as a method of healing and restoration after my first chemo treatment in the hospital. I became pretty obsessed with sleep to be honest.
I mean, I was always basically aware of getting more or less than what I needed (I did have two baby induced sleep deprivation periods after all). But sleep as a healing method? I didn’t know about this until I started reading up on it. Turns out sleep is when your body does its repair work. And I had a lot of repairing to do after getting the harshest chemo they give anyone.
Even if you don’t have as serious a health challenge as I had, sleep and getting plenty of it, is foundational to health and longevity. Putting sleep as a priority is hugely important.
Are you like me and ruminate about your day, making falling asleep a challenge? Or are you like my husband who literally falls asleep in seconds but wakes up at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, unable to get back to sleep? Do you fall asleep easily and sleep your 8 hours straight waking up blissfully restored? If so, Rock on Sister! More power to ya! Feel free to skip the rest of this blog post!
If you are in either of the first two camps though, I have for you my 7 tips for a good night’s sleep. Stress plays a huge factor in many areas of our health and sleep is no exception. So in addition to giving relaxation practices, I have offered stress management tools to help with that possible source of the problem.
Without further ado, here are my 7 tips for a good night’s sleep:
- Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary. This has to do with making sleep a top priority. Your bedroom should be a place devoted to restful sleep. It should be dark, quiet, and comfortable. Even the light from clocks has been shown to disrupt sleep. I also feel there should be no electronics or TVs in the sleep sanctuary.
- Drink most of your water in the first half of the day, tapering off gradually to finish a couple hours before bedtime. Think of a declining angle of hydration so you don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.
- Finish your evening meal at least 3 hours before you want to hit the hay. If you eat right before bedtime, your body is working on digesting, putting off the repair work that every body needs.
- Turn off all screens (smart phones, tablets, TV’s, computers) an hour before you’d like to sleep. I know this is hard but studies show that the light from these devices stimulates your brain and disrupts its ability to shut down.
- Have a bedtime ritual that winds you down. For some people this might be taking a warm bath scented with relaxing lavender essential oil. For others, it might be a cup of Sleepy Time tea or reading a few chapters from a good book. Avoid stimulating conversations (like arguments) before bedtime.
- Manage stress from the day by exercising and meditating. Support the adrenal glands (that manage stress) with adaptogenic herbs like Ashwaganda. Other supplements to experiment with are the stress reducing and sleep promoting Magnesium and Melatonin which helps establish your circadian rhythm.
- Listen to your breath. If you have trouble falling asleep, I recommend a meditative practice that always quiets my mind and allows me to drift off to sleep: listen to your breathing. Focus on your breath going in and out. If you have a thought, put it aside to remember when you wake up (I put it in a little red mental Thought Box), and go back to paying attention to your breath. If your brain needs something to do, say the words “in” and “out” for each inhale and exhale.
I hope these suggestions help. Leave me a comment below about your favorite sleep practice.