Sleep. How do I get more sleep? How much sleep should I be getting? How do I get to sleep? How do I stay asleep? Will I ever feel rested? Ever ask yourself any of these questions? I know I have.
We’ll cover 10 ways to set yourself up to go to sleep fast, stay asleep and wake up feeling rested. But first, why is sleep so important? Our bodies can be amazing vessels if we use them the right way. They need time to recharge which comes through sleep. During sleep, our amazing bodies heal damaged cells, boosts your immune system and it recharges your heart and cardiovascular system for the next day. Research shows that most people need 8-10 hours of sleep per night for this recharge of our system to take place properly. Think about how fast your body can start to deteriorate if you’re not giving it enough sleep. When your physical body feels like crap, your mood starts to tank, and your sharp thinking skills are just not as sharp. Lack of sleep can cause long-term damage if we’re not careful. So let’s talk about how to go to sleep faster and more efficiently so that you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day!
Here are 10 tips on how to go to sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.
- Create an evening routine. We understand that this is important for children but why don’t we do it for ourselves? We have our children take a shower, brush their teeth, have a snack, read a book, then they understand that its bedtime. We should be creating a similar routine. What’s your routine after the kids go to bed? Maybe you want to just crash in front of the TV and I get it! But set a timer for yourself and be disciplined enough to get up and start your evening routine when the timer goes off. The next 9 tips will give you some ideas about what to include in your routine.
- But first, turn off the electronic devises at least an hour (some studies suggest 2 hours) before you lay your head down to sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “using electronic devices before bedtime can be physiologically and psychologically stimulating in ways that can adversely affect your sleep.” I know you know this. You’ve heard it over and over again. So why is it so hard to do? Welp, smart phones, TV shows, social media, and all the other app that keep us glued to a screen are designed, yes, scientifically designed to keep us wanting more. Just one more pin, just one more meme, just one more episode. Not to mention, they emit a blue light that actually emulates the sun so your brain thinks its still daytime. Your body is very confused. Knowing that they are created to be addicting is our first line of defense to combat it. Once you know that these devises are using mechanisms to keep you engaged as long as possible, then you can intentionally and consciously make the choice to turn them off. Research suggests that you should turn them off about 2 hours before you intend on sleeping.
- Do something that relaxes you. Read a book, meditate, do some yoga. Whatever helps your body and mind calm down from the day and start preparing itself for rest.
- Tap into your senses. Light a candle or some essential oils. Put on white noise or calming songs. Use your senses to tell your brain and your body that its time to start winding down.
- Take a bath. I know that’s not always possible with small children, or children in general, for that matter but try to take one at least once a week. Put it in your schedule. Give your spouse a heads up that they’ll be watching the kids for 30 minutes on Saturday night because you’re taking a bath. Did you know you can order a monthly subscription box that delivers a bath product AND a book every month through cratejoy.com. I haven’t had the pleasure of signing up yet but I follow their beautiful Instagram page @booksbathco and its on my wish list.
- It can be as simple as using the 5-5-7 breath technique to “trick” your body into relaxation. You take a deep breath in for 5 seconds, hold it for 5 seconds, and exhale for 7 seconds. Doing this at 10 ten times reduces the stress, and allows your mind and body to relax. I had a client use this technique when she would wake up in the middle of the night. She was back to sleep before she reached 10.
- Have a snack. Yep, I said to snack before bed. There are a whole lot of foods that help increase melatonin in your body that naturally helps you fall asleep. Foods like tart cherries, olives, cucumbers, and walnuts. And your mom was right, warm milk can help you fall asleep. For more information and more foods check out this article from the Alaska Sleep Clinic, List of Best and Worst Foods for Sleep.
- Prepare for tomorrow. Most of the time the thing that keeps me up at night is thinking about all the things I need to do tomorrow (or avoiding thinking about what I need to do tomorrow, thanks Facebook). So instead of stressing over my to do list for the next day, I go into my notes on my phone and put everything in there. Or use a good old pen and paper and write it out.
- It also helps to do brain dump. If you’ve written down tomorrow’s to do list and your brain still won’t stop, then get it all out on paper. Something about emptying those thoughts out of my mind and knowing that I can revisit them tomorrow, if I want to, gives me the peace I need to sleep.
- Not only is it good to clear out the clutter in your brain but clearing the clutter in your bedroom can also create a more relaxing environment for sleep. Studies show that clutter in your home can cause stress, depression and anxiety. Think about when you go to a spa, everything is very simple, clean, clutter-free. It makes you want to relax…sleep. Now think about your bedroom. How does it compare? If its cluttered, I would encourage you to do one thing today that would create a more relaxing space in your bedroom. For more tips on clearing the clutter check out this article by at Psychology Today, Why Mess Causes Stress and 8 Remedies.
Getting enough sleep can is one of the four foundations that can build a healthy lifestyle. Along with hydration, nutrition and movement, sleep can do wonders for your well-being. I hope some of these tips will help you go to sleep easier and feel more relaxed when you wake up!
To Your Health,
Coach Leslie Salling