Imagine going to bed at night, falling asleep quickly, sleeping through the night, and waking up without an alarm when your body wants to. You had pleasant dreams and remember them upon waking—you write them in your journal and think about 10 things you’re grateful for today. Then, you move into your day feeling rested & ready to go with energy and vigor.
What a dream!
This isn’t what most of society experiences today. I’ll give you an example of a typical night while I was in my 20’s: in bed by midnight, alarm set for 4am, waking up in a panic every hour thinking I overslept, and finally waking up at 4am to open the coffee shop. I immediately start drinking coffee, serving customers and running around the whole day to complete my list of tasks (cue more coffee). I was living in a high-stress environment for years without knowing it, plus, add in a college education, some family trauma, death of loved ones, etc. It’s a perfect recipe for leading to exhaustion in my 30’s. That’s just a typical day, then add in a party lifestyle and a ton of travel and there you have it; the reason why I’m feeling tired today.
Society tells us that we need to do more. Wake up early, stay up late, drink more coffee, drink alcohol, work harder, workout more, do, do, do, do… It’s quite exhausting, and it all leads to a high-stress environment, high cortisol levels (a stress hormone produced by the adrenal cortex within the adrenal gland), and ultimately exhaustion.
We can only go around sleep deprived for so long before we experience complete exhaustion or even worse, illness. More coffee isn’t the cure, more exercise isn’t the cure, the main thing that will help is sleep and reducing stress in our lives.
Here are a few important benefits of sleep:
-Improves learning and memory. Lack of sleep can produce brain fog and difficult memory recall.
-Helps to process emotions. Chronic lack of sleep raises the likelihood of developing mood disorders like depression & anxiety. If you’ve had a difficult day, get some sleep and you will typically feel better after a good night’s rest.
-Sleep helps to lower blood pressure.
-Lowers inflammation in the body produced by chronic stress.
-Increases muscle repair & motivation.
-Deep sleep lowers glucose levels in the blood.
-Quality sleep supports the immune system to function at its optimal capacity.
-Proper sleep keeps leptin and ghrelin (hormones in the brain that control appetite) in balance and therefore reduces unhealthy cravings.
-Lowers stress levels.
If you’re looking to experience better sleep, here are some tips that we are implementing (most of which are completely FREE):
- Discontinue caffeine intake after 2pm during the day. Caffeine is a major sleep disrupter!
- Limit blue light for up to 2 hours before bed. Limit electronics like the TV, phone, and bright lights in the home. You can also turn your phone screen to red if you must use it.
- Set the vibe 2 hours before bed:
– Turn on chill music like this: (chill vibes, binaural beats,)
-Dim the lighting in your home/bedroom
-Put some relaxing essential oils in your diffuser (we love serenity by
- Drink some hot herbal bedtime tea
- Limit your alcohol intake if you want better quality sleep. Although it may seem like alcohol helps you sleep better, it has adverse effects on sleep. Read here for more info on that.
- Hygiene before bed:
-Take a hot shower or bath
-After, give yourself a massage with oil (sweet almond oil or jojoba oil are
-Brush and floss teeth
- Sit on the floor and practice some deep breathing and meditation for 15-20 minutes. OR, you can try my beloved teacher’s FREE guided yoga nidra meditation on her podcast Love Service Wisdom
- If you aren’t fully relaxed or tired yet, read a book (preferably not self-help or horror).
- Keep your room cool (below 69 degrees Fahrenheit)
- The bedroom should be only for sleep and sex (if you have a TV in your room, remove it or unplug it if possible).
- Keep your room as dark as possible and limit any sound.
- Keep your phone 10 feet away from your bed and turn off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth & cellular data (or airplane mode if you can help it).
- Make your bed each day so that you want to get back into it.
- A daily movement practice always helps to get a better nights rest.
If you are continuing to have sleep disturbances, reach out to your health care professional. Quality sleep is one of the most important things we can gift ourselves for our health.
Do you have any other practices or tips that are helping you on the quest for better sleep? Let us know!