My 8 Deep Sleep Secrets
Everyone knows (especially those of us with little ones running around) that a good night's sleep is important, but nearly impossible to attain! If we're truly mindful of our health, we have to make a conscious effort to get better sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to serious health problems; besides reducing alertness and performance, sleep deprivation can affect mood, cause restless leg syndrome, and even contribute to the onset of diabetes. Some studies have shown that driving tired is comparable to driving while intoxicated. Luckily, I've found these few small changes really help to achieve a better nights sleep:
- Create a routine - There's a reason this works so well with children - set a bedtime and create a bedtime routine (or ritual) that sends your body a cue it's time to sleep. This can include 10-20 minutes of reading or washing your face and brushing your teeth. Just partaking in a few nighttime rituals before bed will help prep your body and mind for a good night's sleep.
- No phone zone - Sorry, but scrolling Instagram is seriously impacting your sleep. A 2008 study showed that radiation from mobile phones makes it more difficult for your body to enter deep sleep, leading a more restless night. Invest in a traditional alarm clock or fitness tracker with alarm and leave your phone in another room for the night.
- Be cool - Our body temperature naturally drops when we begin to fall asleep. You can mimic this temperature shift and help your body begin to shift into sleep mode. Take a hot bath before bed, keep your bedroom a few degrees cooler than the rest of your house, or even invest in a cooling mattress pad or sheets. Bonus: a fan not only cools you down, but provides background noise to help you sleep soundly.
- Stones for sleep - Amethyst and howlite are both great stones to promote healthy sleep cycles naturally. Try wearing these stones consistently to kickstart your new healthy sleep routine. If the reason you can't sleep is stress or excess monkey chatter, you can also try natural amazonite.
- Background noise - Silence is golden. Except when you are trying to sleep! Many people struggle to sleep in complete silence. A white noise or nature sounds machine is a great option, but a fan, sleep sounds CD, or even an app can help you drift off during quiet nights (only use the app if you know you won't be tempted to browse Facebook all night).
- Meditation - So, this may seem a bit out there for some of you... but simply going through a brief "body scan" before bed can help settle your mind and relax your body. Simply get comfortable, close your eyes, and focus your mind on each part of your body. Send all of your thoughts to that part and then relax it entirely and move on to the next. For example, start with your shoulders, then arms, then hands, and so on. Consider it an upgrade from counting sheep.
- Nap smarter, not harder - The chronically exhausted will love this tip - take a nap! But limit yourself to just 20-25 minutes. Set an alarm to ensure you don't oversleep and end up feeling groggy and throwing off your sleep schedule. Twenty minutes is just enough to feel refreshed and energized without sacrificing your nighttime sleep schedule.
- Exercise early - Regular exercise can benefit your sleep schedule as long as you aren't working out too close to bedtime. Consider it part of your sleep schedule! Set your alarm 30 minutes early and squeeze in a moderate workout before work. Not a morning person? Commit to spending your lunch hour taking a walk or getting in a mini weight session at the gym.