How good does it feel climbing into bed after a huge day, getting all snug and cuddling into your pillow or partner, or for the non snugglers, spreading out like a star fish and owning the space?
How vexing is it when we lay there tossing and turning, going over shopping lists and tomorrows activities for hours on end before getting a wink of sleep only to wake in the wee hours of the morning for more practise at our bed gymnastics routine of tossing and turning?
If you sleep well, stop reading, give yourself a high five and enjoy your day, we envy you! If you can relate to the above, let's pillow talk.
Poor sleep can be painful to fix as it is a common symptom to many health complaints; anxiety, blood sugar imbalances, brain degenerative conditions, chemical and hormone imbalances, cramps and muscular issues, the list goes on and on... and on.
It is essential you work on any underlying health issues to connect back with your dreamy self. Your Doc or Naturopath can help you with this. While you get your health on track here are a few tweaks to your routine that may assist you get a few more Zzz's back in your life.
11 Steps to a great Bed Routine
We love giving our children little night night routines, brush your teeth, do a wee and read a book, big cuddles from Mummy and Daddy before getting all tucked in and ready for a good night sleep.
This routine is just, if not more important for us big people, we have a few extra tasks and responsibilities that can weigh us down that our little ones do and our minds collect a lot of data throughout our day that decides to pop to the forefront of our thinking just as we plan to settle down for the evening.
Here are my 11 tips that will help you get better sleep;
- Try not to have caffeinated or sugar loaded drinks after 2pm (or at all). Let your natural circadian rhythm do its thing. Allow cortisol to spike as it is supposed to and decline as the evening onsets without any artificial stimuli.
- Eat your last meal a few hours before your scheduled bedtime. Try for a space of three hours to allow your body digest foods.
- Enjoy calming herbal teas after your last meal such as, Chamomile, Lavender, Vervain, Passionflower, Californian poppy and Peppermint. They taste amazing all fused together or on their own.
- Dim the lights in your home after dinner, our circadian rhythm responds to the change in light and releases melatonin which allows us to feel relaxed and sleepy. This is important as it prepares our body for bed.
- Avoid shoot 'em up bang bang movies or thrillers that get you on the edge of your seat. Even dramas can stimulate you a little too much for this time of day. Enjoy a book that is calming or watch a rainbows and butterflies movie. The aim is to avoid anything that perks you up and gets your excitatory neurotransmitters geared up.
- Before bed, or in bed practise a breathing exercise or meditation. Breathing in and out of our nostrils helps relax our muscles and slows our body down naturally by stimulating our parasympathetic nervous system, PNS. The PNS is responsible for functions such as; rest, restore, digest and also fertility. Holding your in-breath for 2 counts before exhaling slows the body right down ready for your slumber. I use a beautiful soundtrack to fall asleep to, The Moses Code Meditation (I am wishes fulfilled) by Wayne Dyer. These sounds coupled with your attention to breathe will certainly take you in the right direction for a peaceful sleep.
- If you have a busy mind, try lying in bed before sleep and relive your day. Start with how you woke for the morning and run through your day in your mind, this should only take 2-3 minutes. Try not to begin overthinking certain events, watch your day unfold as an observer not getting attached. In your mind say "I now let go of my day" and set forth your intention for your sleep, decide what you wish to dream of and what time you wish to wake naturally. You will be surprised how well this works.
- Ensure you are allowing enough time each night for a good sleep, eight hours is suggested by many leaders in this field however there are others who show in studies that if you meditate and exercise daily you can feel quite healthy and refreshed with as little as 6 hours.
- Exercise daily, ensure you have no energy left running through your body. A minimum of 10,000 steps is recommended.
- Write down all your thoughts in a journal, get what is in your mind on paper, once it has left you a lightness comes over your body making for an easier rest.
- Enjoy a warm bath laced with lavender and chamomile or oats just before bed, this will open blood vessels and relax your body and mind.
Enjoying a good night sleep is critical for your overall health. The functions of your organs rely on it, your mental health depends on it and your hormones and neurotransmitters worship it.
Implement as many of these strategies as you can and see your sleep improve.
Sweet dreams x