For years I have struggled with sleep. Up until recently it was not uncommon for me to wake up 10-15 times a night, constantly tossing and turning. I was always so exhausted during the day, and tried everything to get my sleep back on track. Part of my healing mission has been to reclaim my sleep, and I’m happy to report that I now wake up only 1-3 times a night.
WHY IS GOOD SLEEP IMPORTANT?
I’ve always known sleep is incredibly important to health and wellness. Without good sleep, we can suffer terribly. Anyone who’s dealt with insomnia or a night shift job knows that it really messes with your body and mind.
Sleep is when our bodies heal, regenerate, rest and recoup from our day to day lives. In fact, according to Chinese medicine, every hour of the night works on a different system or organ of the body. If we aren’t getting adequate sleep, those systems suffer. Furthermore, our bodies do most of their healing before midnight, and every hour before this is almost twice as productive than our after midnight sleep.
Studies have shown that people who get 6 or less hours of sleep a night, actually have marked effects in the expression of genes that are essential to health and wellbeing.
So how do we get good sleep? It takes a little discipline, but you’ll find that your world will change once your start getting on a healthy sleep schedule.
MY GOOD SLEEP TIPS
1) Get to sleep before midnight. Preferably by 10pm. Shawn and I have recently been aiming for 10pm as our goal bedtime and though we don’t always hit it exactly, it makes a massive difference when we do. When I get to bed before 10, I wake up feeling so refreshed and energized.
2) Don’t drink water 3 hours before bedtime. If you’re like me and have a problem with waking up multiple times a night to go to the bathroom, this will change your sleep drastically. I try to follow the guidelines of drinking a lot in the morning, a little in the afternoon and almost none at night. That way I’m still getting lots of water, but it doesn’t interfere with my sleep.
3) Black out your room. When it’s dark, our bodies produce more of the hormone melatonin which is imperative for sleep. Even the smallest amount of light can cause our bodies to stop producing it and can keep us in a lighter state of sleep.
4) Don’t eat close to bedtime. If our bodies have to digest food while we’re trying to fall asleep, it’s going to be much harder to get some good Z’s. If you must, eat something raw like fruits or veggies before bed because they are more quickly digested.
5) Unplug your electronics. Anything that is plugged into a wall (even if turned off) gives of an electromagnetic field (EMF). Certain EMFs have been shown to majorly interfere with sleep, especially if they’re right by our heads. I recently moved all of my electronics to the opposite side of my room and I make sure to unplug as many as possible before bed. If there are appliances right behind the wall of your bed (oven, refrigerator, stove, etc), consider moving your bed to the other side of the room.
6) Don’t look at screens close to bedtime. This one is especially hard for me because I love checking my social media sites right before I doze off. The light from computer or cell phone screens messes with our production of melatonin, which is the hormone that regulates our sleep/wake cycles.
7) Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Once I started eating better, my sleep started getting better. If you’re feeding yourself healthy foods, your entire body starts becoming more aligned with itself. All aspects of your body start becoming in balance, including your sleep.
8) Shoot for 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Having too little or too much sleep can cause stress on our bodies, adrenal fatigue, and increase the risk of disease. For most people, 7-8 hours of sleep is the sweet spot. I lean more towards 8 hours and I find that if I get less, I am not a happy camper.
9) Use your bedroom for sleep only. If we watch TV, do school, eat, and play video games in our bedrooms then we probably aren’t getting great sleep. We want our bodies to associate our bedroom with sleep so that when we lay down for the night, that will be it’s natural response.
10) Use essential oils. You may know by now that I am obsessed with oils. Every night I fill up my oil diffuser with essential oil blends that relax me like nothing else. I honestly think this has done more for my sleep than almost anything else. I use Doterra oils and most nights I mix lavender and serenity. You can also try vetiver, clary sage and roman chamomile.
You’ll find that these tips are actually really easy to implement into your routine and you’ll start sleeping better in no time if you try some out.
Question: What sleeping habits work for you? If you aren’t sleeping well, what makes it better or worse? Let me know in the comments below.
Today I choose to allow myself rest. What do you choose?