Ten Tricks to Sleep On
Almost daily, I read a post online or speak to a friend or family member about the woes of sleep deprivation. I am right there with you, as well as several generations of my family members. We have a running joke in our family about “it must be inherited” and sadly, it seems we have inherited the “no sleep” gene.
I said I would never, and I should have known better, that I would NOT stress over my lack of sleep but I still complain sometimes. However, I have come to accept my lack of sleep because I believe that if I chose to change my lifestyle a bit more, I would probably sleep better. What I do know is that when I am tired enough, I sleep and for the most part, I do try to incorporate some healthy sleep prep into my evenings.
For those of you that are invested in making the changes to get better sleep this sleepless girl has done some research so you can be on your way to a healthier lifestyle as sleep, nutrition and exercise are the pillars of good health.
Sleep is one of fuels our bodies need to function effectively. When we sleep, our brain is cleansed with cerebral spinal fluid that whisks away the waste produced by our brain cells, the breathing slows and becomes more relaxed, and during non-REM sleep, the heart rate and blood pressure are reduced.
Now decide where you are in you process of change, are you in the pre-contemplation or contemplation stage? If you have moved past these stages and are ready for change, then preparation and action steps are required. Think about it like this, if you are going to cook a great meal you have to think about your menu, make a list of the items you need, shop for the items, spend time preparing the meal and then you feast. Think about your night’s sleep that way as well. Why shouldn’t something as important as sleep be given the preparation it deserves?
Here are the tips that the Sleep Foundation recommends as well as a few of mine.
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule even on the weekend as this helps to regulate your body.
- Create a relaxing bedtime ritual. Dim the lights, get off the computer/phone, reduce stress and anxiety. Take time to unwind before you ever get in bed.
- If you have trouble going to sleep at night, eliminate those daytime naps.
- Exercise during the day; vigorous is better but any exercise is good.
- Your bedroom should be cool, between 60 & 67 degrees. Comfortable bedding, pillows, mattress, clothing, no lights, no noise, you can use white noise machines, eyeshades, earplugs, humidifier, fans. Perhaps a drop of lavender essential oil on the pillow.
- Manage your circadian rhythm by avoiding bright lights at night and exposing yourself to sunlight in the morning. For you essential oil users, in the morning, I add a few drops of peppermint to my lotion and take a deep inhalation before rubbing it on. (keep away from your eyes though)
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, heavy meals and carbs close to bedtime. ALWAYS avoid cigarettes I say!!!
- One hour before bedtime, wind down with a calming activity. Again…get off the computer/phone!
- It is best to take all electronic devices out of the bedroom. No TV, phones, computers or tablets.
- If you are still having problems try a sleep journal to track the things that work and don’t work for you.
Do not give up; if your sleep is important to you, and it should be, remaining dedicated to these tasks should help you to improve your sleep habits.
Good Luck and Sweet Dreams………..Nancy