The average person spends more than one third of his/her life asleep. But for all of you achievers and go-getters out there, don’t be fooled – sleeping isn’t a form of slacking off. During sleep, the body repairs itself so that when the alarm goes off, our bodies are renewed and refreshed. Getting the right amount of sleep is an important part of keeping your body healthy.
If you often crawl into bed after a long and exhausting day and you just can’t get to sleep – tossing and turning until 1 to 2 a.m. – you’re clearly not alone.
Poor sleep is nothing to yawn about – it can take a toll on your life. Tossing and turning all night can affect judgement, productivity, and the ability to retain information the next day. Over time, missing zzz’s can begin to attribute to a number of different emotional, psychological and physical health risks.
Studies have shown that 75% of people are getting less than 7 hours of sleep at night. Half of those people admit that they are using a mix of two or more sleep aids each night. The thing is, these sleep aids come with a number of side effects, like making you feel drowsy throughout the day or even more drastic longterm effects. Your body doesn’t need to go through this – you don’t deserve to feel this way.
Everybody knows we’re suppose to get enough sleep and we really try.
But we all know that it’s often easier said then done.
There are ways to coax yourself into dreamland as soon as you hit the sack more naturally. And because everyone’s body is different – everybody’s body will be induced into a relaxation state in different ways. The key is preparing the body and mind before hitting the sheets. Start using one or more of following methods to prepare your body for a good night’s slumber.
1. Stick to a sleep schedule
When it comes to a good night’s sleep – routine is the name of the game. Going to bed and getting up at the same time everyday will reinforce your body’s internal biological clock. Allowing you to fall asleep and wake up more easily. The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is at least seven hours. Most people don’t need more than eight hours in bed.
Keeping to your work-week sleep and wake schedule over the weekend sounds like torture to most of us but it is actually a wise choice where sleep is concerned. Staying up and sleeping in later than normal can cause a shift in the body’s natural clock. Just try to limit the difference in your sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends to no more than one hour. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual with aromatherapy
Set an alarm for one hour before your set “bed time” to remind yourself that it’s time to step out of your day. As part of your bedtime routine start winding down one to two hours before you actually want to drift off. Change into your jammies and dim the lights to get yourself into the mood for sleep.
Take a little “ME” time. Give your face and teeth the TLC they need. Refresh and renew your face with a mild wash such as Orange Blossom Facial Wash or ART® Gentle Cleanser. You should also be using a gentle product on your teeth and mouth that is free of synthetic dyes and fluoride. For years, I use and recommend Thieves® AromaBright™ Toothpaste and Thieves Fresh Essence Mouthwash. Taking the time to follow this important hygiene ritual will help you feel fresh and relaxed before bed to signal your brain that it’s time to calm down.
While using aromatherapy (Young Living Lavender, Stress Away™, Peace & Calming® or your favorite blend of essential oils) engage in calm activities, such as taking a bath (with the Lavender Calming Bath Bomb or Stress Relaxing Bath Bomb), yoga, meditation and even prayer are helpful tactics to encourage your mind to wind down. Meditation has been shown to ease anxiety and stress. Quiet activities may help you slow your breathing and heart rate allowing you to drift off sooner.
Have a quiet reflection time with some simple breathing exercises. Breathing deeply mimics how your body feels when it’s already relaxed, so after inhaling and exhaling for a few minutes, you will find yourself feeling calmer.
3. Include physical activity in your daily routine
Regular exercise can help promote better sleep because physical activity is a stress-releaser. Studies have shown regular, vigorous exercisers reported getting the best sleep. The best news is it doesn’t take much. Adding just a few minutes of physical activity to your day can make a difference in your rest. You will find spending time outside everyday can be helpful.
However, avoid being active too close to bedtime. Especially in people with trouble sleeping, make sure your sweat sessions ending a couple hours before bedtime is generally a good plan.
4. Take notes for tomorrow
Anyone who finds his or her mind racing in bed may not have taken the time to process the day’s events. Take a few minutes in the early evening to work through the day and clear you mental desktop of stuff you are still thinking about.
Manage your worries and concerns. Embrace your early teen – you know, the one who wrote down every single emotion. Free your mind of persistent worries by jotting down what is bothering you on paper in a worry journal you’ll keep by your bedside. This will allow you to let go for the night. Clearing your mind of this mental clutter can help you drift off more smoothly.
Take the time to notate a brief game plan for a productive tomorrow by making your to-do list. Remember to envision what kind of day you’d like to have, how you’d like to feel, and list the top priorities you want to accomplish tomorrow. Get it down on paper and you won’t spend hours trying to fall asleep thinking about what your day might look like.
5. Set yourself up for success
The night before prepare your outfit, your breakfast and lunch or complete other tasks you may tend to take care of in the morning. The fewer tasks looming over you, the less you have to keep going over in your mind to remember to do and the happier you will be getting out of bed in the morning.
6. Nix the screens and read a book
Power down about 60 minutes before bed. Turn off all your devices – laptops, smartphones, TV, and whatever else you might be using. Bright light is one of the biggest triggers to our brain that it’s time to be awake and alert, so change that signal early.
Reading in bed has been thought to be a relaxing, right? Yes….and no. One of those page turners, action-packed mystery or any other book that stimulates your emotional and intellectual attention can be more distracting than relaxing. Opt for a lighter reading before bed and keep it to the couch or your favorite comfy chair.
7. Pay attention to what you eat and drink
Don’t go to bed hungry or stuffed. Avoid heavy or large meals within a couple hours of bedtime. Stomach discomfort may keep you awake. Nicotine and caffeine are to be used with caution too. The stimulating effects take hours to wear off and can be a train wreck for quality sleep. Your afternoon jolt stays in your system longer than you might think. It is recommended to lay off the caffeine by early afternoon to guarantee it won’t keep you up in bed later.
Drink up! You will be going 6-8 hours without any liquid at all, drink plenty of water throughout the day and before you hit the sack. This is essential to keeping yourself hydrated. Try adding Lavender Vitality™ essential oil to you water or herbal tea for a calming influence. Shoot for 60 minutes before bed, so you aren’t waking up in the middle of the night for bathroom visits.
8. Go easy on the alcohol
In the 21st century alcohol remains one of the most common sleep aids on the planet – we tend to prize alcohol’s sleep inducing effects. A nightcap can make it feel easier to fall asleep and sleep more deeply. But when your buzz wears off later in the night, you’re more likely to wake up more frequently. According to the findings, alcohol also tends to reduce REM sleep interrupting your normal sleep pattern. To reduce your risk of disrupted sleep know when to put down the wine or beer and reach for the water.
9. Nap wisely
Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep. If you choose to nap, limit yourself to 30 minutes and avoid doing it late in the day. If you work nights, however, you might need a nap late in the day before work to help make up your sleep dept.
10. Evaluate your room
Create a room that’s ideal for sleeping. This means cool, dark and quiet.
Keep it cool. Generally, a cooler room is more favorable to sleeping, as cooler temperature tends to promote sleep. But don’t make it too cold or too warm. A room that is too hot and a room that is too cold can both mess with your sleep. Find the right temperature for you.
Consider putting on a pair of socks. When it comes to optimizing your temperature for sleep, the ideal balance is a cooler core and warmer extremities. Wearing socks can lead to to a more balanced body temperature for snoozing.
Keep your room dark. Light exposure may make it more challenging to fall asleep. Consider using room-darkening shades. If you can’t seal up all the light sources in your room, use a comfy eye-mask.
Keep it quiet but not too quiet. Noises like whining electronics or ticking clocks can easily be left outside the bedroom. For snoring bed partners, blaring car horns or barking dogs outside your window that are more difficult to avoid. Try a handy pair of earplugs. For some people , when your sleep haven is too silent that you can hear a pin drop, every occasional bump in the night can become much more disruptive. You might want to consider using a fan, sleepmate or other devices to create an environment to suite your needs.
Introduce aromatherapy. Diffusing Lavender, Stress Away™, Peace & Calming® or your favorite blend of Young Living essential oils with comforting aromas as you are crawling onto the sheets. Apply a couple drops of the Lavender essential oil to the bottoms of your feet, back of the neck or stroke it through your hair. Rubbing a drop or two between your palms and brushing them over your pillow right before hitting the sheets can also boost the relaxing aromas.
11. Hide your alarm clock
Set your alarm and then get those glaring red numbers out of sight. Turn your alarm clock away from you in the bed room. Even the most inconspicuous glow – like that of a digital alarm clock – can disrupt your shut-eye.
Personally, I struggle with feeling the need to watch the minutes tick toward morning on my bedside clock. But the fact is looking at the time only increases anxiety about going to sleep and getting enough of it. The solution is to have the confidence that it will sound when it is suppose to! I mean really, when has it failed me?
12. Resist the urge to hit the snooze
Sleep caught between sounding the alarm is just not high-quality sleep. The snooze button often disturbs REM sleep, which can make us fee groggier that when we wake up during other stages of sleep. You don’t have to launch out of bed in the morning, but setting the alarm for slightly later time and skip a snooze cycle or two could bring big benefits.
What helps you get your best rest? Let us know with a comment below.