Sleep is one of the most important things that we can do for our bodies, second to water intake, and in today's world lacking for so many people! When we sleep our bodies are working to renew themselves; our organs, immune system, metabolism and brain are hard at work while we sleep. Our brain actually spends our sleeping time processing all of the information from the day and forming memories!
What can we do to ensure more sleep? It is as easy as starting a nightly routine. I know, I know, that sounds like work, and at the end of the day the last thing you want to do is try to remember some new ritual that takes away from crash on the couch time. So let's think about experimenting with the following tips over time. Start with one or two, and notice how they make you feel. Are you more rested? More alert? More centered? Then after a few weeks, suddenly you will notice that you are not thinking about it anymore you are just doing it! Whew, that was not so bad after all! Then add another step or two. Change can be overwhelming and down right hard to do, but implementing these easy tips, will make profound change for the better in how you perform all day, your mood, your energy and so much more!
1) Set a bed time. As adults we should be getting 8 hours of sleep a night, so count backwards from your wake up time and make sure you are positioned to be sleeping at that time. So maybe you go up thirty minutes prior to your lights out time, to move through your nightly ritual and put you in the best place to allow sleep to happen.
2) Do not eat your dinner right before bed. It is best to have 2 -3 hours between your meal (including any alcohol) and lights out. If you find yourself needing a snack choose something high in protein like a handful of nuts. They are slowly digested and rich in magnesium to assist with sleep.
3) As part of your getting ready for bed routine, fill your diffuser and add a blend like Serenity or any calming oil such as Lavender or Petitgrain.
4) Ok, now that that is done, un-plug. You should not be on your devices or watching television immediately prior to sleep. The light coming from them engages the brain and delays the production of melatonin. In this unplugged time, take a few minutes to complete a five minute journal recap for the day. This recap can be as simple as filling in the blanks: What am I most proud of today? What was my biggest challenge today? What three things am I grateful for today? What was one thing I learned today? This practice helps you to do a mini brain dump before bed. It is amazing how this practice will quiet your end of day brain chatter!
5) You can also use your un-plugged time to read a book.
6) Once the lights are out take a few moments to do some deep breathing, such as the one I spoke about here.
There are any number of practices that you can add to your evening ritual, but these are a great start, and you have to make it so it works for you! Do you already have a night time routine? Comment below some of your ideas, I'd love to hear!