We need a certain amount of sleep each night.
Let’s just admit the truth now. Sleep is important.
- Sleep heals mentally and physically.
- Sleep allows recovery from the stress of our days.
- Sleep recharges.
- Sleep refocuses.
If you don’t get enough sleep, your health risks are higher and it places a tremendous burden on virtually every organ system in your body. Insufficient Sleep is a Public Health Problem.
- Lack of sleep affects our ability to lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight.
- Lack of sleep affects how we feel.
- Lack of sleep affects how we learn.
- Lack of sleep affects how we behave.
- Lack of sleep negatively impacts our cardiovascular health.
- Lack of sleep affects our overall wellbeing.
- Lack of sleep can reduce our reaction time and interfere with our ability to drive.
7 Tips on promoting quality sleep.
What must we do to improve our sleep? We can only focus on what we can control. The preceding post, Breathe Yourself Into Nourishing Sleep, I mention some sleeping disorders. If you think you have a problem then get tested first.
Here are some tips to help ensure you are not only getting enough sleep, but you are also getting quality sleep:
- Eat Well. Choose to not eat at least 3 hours before bedtime. Many doctors will tell you, DO NOT EAT BEFORE BEDTIME. And yet, we do. Many in the health care profession say to not eat carbs or heavy cream three hours before bedtime. My sleep doctor tells me to not eat any rich foods three hours prior.
- Maintain a Healthy Exercise Routine. I will post more on this subject in future posts. One easy way that does not put a lot of stress on your body is to walk. Many in the fitness world say to exercise at least 3 or 4 times a week and do it for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Maintain a Bedtime Rhythm. Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule, going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time. Creating this rhythm helps regulate your body’s internal clock and may help you sleep better. With my husband gone a lot and sleeping alone, I have developed habits that do not promote a regular bedtime. Developing and maintaining a bedtime routine has become important and part of my normal evening schedule.
- Say No to Alcohol, Caffeine, Nicotine and Electronics. My sleep doctor tells me that alcohol is a major reason many people can’t go to sleep or don’t sleep well. He says if you really want a drink, it’s best to have it 5 to 6 hours before bedtime. Electronics is difficult for us but a good goal is to limit your usage and have a certain time you turn it off.
- Keep Your Room Cool. Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, dark, and relaxing environment, which is neither too hot, nor too cold. Your bed and pillows should be supportive, yet comfortable. My husband needs to sleep under less covers or he wakes up often during the night. If I am too cool, I can’t get into my normal feel-good ZZZZ’s.
- Wind Down. Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading or taking a warm bath. Certain drinks as chamomile tea, may be relaxing and non-stimulating. Part of my process is using my oils, getting my diffuser set up, and making sure my mouth guard and necessities are within arms reach when I get sleepy.
- Use Calming Essential Oils. Lavendar, Vetiver, Serenity Calming Blend, Bergomot, Roman Chamomile are oils to use to promote sleep and calmness. Essential oils like Lavendar and Bergamot are rich in linaloot and linalyl acetate, compounds that have well-known relaxing properties. These oils can be diffused aromatically in the bedroom to create a calming and peaceful environment, perfect for getting a good night’s sleep. They can also be used topically and taken internally to calm the nervous system, promote relaxation, and lead to a restful sleep. Try placing two to four drops of Lavender or Bergamot essential oil in a warm, herbal tea (Chamomile, Lemongrass, etc.) or another favorite decaffeinated beverage about 30 minutes before going to bed, or add two to four drops of Lavender into an empty capsule and swallow about 30 minutes before bed.
Try just one.
My recommendation is to try one of these steps, maintain it and then move on to the next one so it’s not so overwhelming. I am practicing all these steps. Some nights are smooth and easy and I fall right to sleep. Other nights I still struggle, toss and turn and then realize that most likely I didn’t exercise or I was on my laptop too long. It’s a process and it all takes time and concerted effort.
Learn to love the time before you fall asleep.
Take some to enjoy. Take a moment to relax after your long day.
It’s worth it and you’ll be glad you did!