Sleep is one of the key ingredients to good health. There have been plenty of studies conducted about the amount of sleep you should be having; some say it is 8 hours, others say 7, or even 10. Every person is different and therefore needs a different amount of sleep. In the larger picture, the quantity of sleep doesn’t matter so much as the quality. If your sleep consists of interruptions, tossing, and turning, then it won’t matter if you got the 8 hours or not. The chances of you waking up refreshed are pretty much zero. So, what’s the trick to getting a good night’s sleep?
Start by turning off all electronic devices. They mess with our sleep because their screens admit a blue light that makes our brains think it is NOON!!! That is the last thing you want right before you go to bed. There are phone apps out there that can place a filter on your screen that blocks the blue light, but the screen isn’t the only problem here. If your phone is on during the night, it keeps making noise that will interrupt your sleep, whether you fully wake up or not. Your brain will respond to light and sound even when you think you’re dead asleep. It is important, therefore, to put everything on silent and not look at your screens before bed.
Keep in mind that if you give the impression that you’re available 24/7, then you are telling the world that it can expect you to respond no matter what. After a while, we make up irrational reasons to keep our phones on at night; but, when those things never happen, we are allowing our sleep to be interrupted by nothing more than a spam email. Your brain especially needs time to wind down and cool off if it is going to shut down and let you sleep. Your mind deserves uninterrupted sleep. Thus, if you want a good night’s sleep, find the off switch.
Limit how much food you have after 8 p.m. Food is what gives us energy and gets us moving, which making falling asleep on a full stomach a challenge. If your digestive system is trying to process a big snack that you had right before bed, then it might be harder for you to fall asleep. You’ll spend your entire night digesting instead of sleeping. There is a reason they call it “breakfast,” because you’re breaking your “fast” with a morning meal. Late night snacks are just empty calories for the body because you never get a chance to use them. Avoid the snacking and wasted calories before bed and you’ll notice a better night’s sleep, plus you might even lose a few pounds.
Drinking anything before bed means interrupted sleep. The trick to getting a good night’s rest is to not be woken up in the middle of the night, that includes needing to use the bathroom. The same goes for a few hours before; when you use the bathroom before bed, that should be the last time until you wake up in the morning. If you’re drinking to excess in the evening, the chance of you getting up in the middle of the night increases.
This includes alcohol; when the buzz wears off in the middle of the night, your sleep is interrupted. Also, alcohol is something your digestive system has to process and filter, meaning you’ll be trying to sleep and your digestive system will be working all night long. When it is done, you’ll wake up in the morning tired and hungover because of dehydration and interrupted sleep.
Caffeine is another problem for a lot of people; soda, sports drinks, coffee, energy drinks, and even some teas all contain some sort of pick me up. The last thing you need before bed is a pick me up; the point is to wind down. This can make falling asleep and staying asleep difficult. So, especially avoid your beverages with caffeine.
You remember your mother telling you always always take off your makeup before going to bed? Well, she was right. It is not enough just to brush your teeth and go to bed. You have to give your body a little extra love before bed. That way your brain can recognize that is can start relaxing. Washing your face, putting on lotion, and maybe you even taking a bath! De-stressing and practicing self-care at the end of the day is always a good way to getting ready for a good night’s sleep.
Your bedroom is a sacred space. It is a place where only two things should happen: sleep and sex. It is not a kitchen table, your office, or a movie theater. If you’re one of those people who has trouble switching off, then it is important to turn your bedroom into the most relaxing environment possible. When you crawl into bed, your brain should know automatically that it is time for sleep. Investing in good quality sheets, pillows, and especially a mattress, are all important parts of getting a good night’s sleep. Think about it: you spend a lot of time in your bed, so why don’t you make it a place of comfort. Keep everything that is not intended for sleep out of the bedroom.
What you sleep in matters. Your body does a lot while you’re sleeping, It is prime repair and relax time, so sleeping in tight, restrictive clothing that could affect how well you sleep. Choosing soft, relaxed-fit night time clothing is important. It means you aren’t cutting off circulation to any part of your body. Also, you’re not waking , up in the middle of the night because you’re too hot or too cold. Many people find that sleeping naked improves their quality of sleep because it is more relaxing and keeps their body temperature more stable under a warm blanket. I personally agree with that logic, but at the end of the day, it is all about your comfort level. Just remember to choose what you wear to bed wisely because it can make a difference in your quality of sleep.
The last thing that can make all the difference in your quality of sleep is having a night-time routine. For all you parents out there, you probably notice that babies and children need a bedtime routine or it is chaos. I am not sure what age we decided we were too old to have a bedtime routine, but it doesn’t matter how old you are: a night time routine rocks. As an adult, I like to call it a “night-time ritual,” which makes it sound fancier. At the end of each evening, right before a go to bed, I give myself some love.
**1-2 Nights a Week Takes a Bath**
Washes Face with Cleanser
Removes Cleanser with Warm Wash Cloth
Applies Moisturizers and Eye Cream
Self Massage with Body Lotion (Especially Feet)
Repeats Self-Love Affirmations
Reads 20-30 Minutes of a Book
Journals for 15 Minutes
Takes 3 Deep Cleansing Breaths
Turn Off Lights
Journalling about the day.
Reading a good book.
Relaxing yoga sequence.
Meditative/Adult Coloring Book
Listening to your favorite podcast or playlist.