We all know we should be getting between seven and nine hours of sleep a night for maximum health. But when you are feeling anxious or chronically stressed, even if you plan to rest and unwind during an early hour, you aren’t always going to fall asleep right away or sleep through the night. How frustrating!
Yet, a lack of desired sleep can lead to a dysregulation of brain chemicals and an increase in stress, amongst other unwanted issues (like digestion, inflammation and weight gain - reach out to work with me 1:1 firstname.lastname@example.org). In addition, stress can cause sleep disorders and sleep deprivation. With a lack of sleep + increased stress you can find yourself in a vicious cycle.
I put together a few ideas to help encourage optimal health related to sleep regimen. Of course our self care products, sweet dream tea + pillow sprays with lavender and other sleep promoting ingredients in them are excellent aids in the unwinding and relaxation portion of your routine!
Start a sleep schedule: Just like any change you wish to make, it's all about creating new habits and routines. The trick is sticking with them long enough to last and to feel the results. If you can do it, your body will get used to and be ready for the times to sleep and wake up daily.
Mindful Eating close to bedtime: “Disruptive” options like spicy, sugary, high-fat foods like fried choices, or alcohol aren't the best ideas. Instead, try: a good source of protein + healthy fats like avocado or walnuts, or something with higher levels of melatonin + magnesium like milk, cherries or bananas.
Reduce the consumption of caffeine: Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and they can take some time for their effects on the brain and body to wear off. By not consuming caffeinated food or drinks a couple of hours before bed (or more if you are really sensitive like me,) you can potentially experience a more restful night's sleep. Alcohol can also disrupt your sleep cycle and brain processes as the alcohol is leaving your system.
Limit screen time + none the last hour before bed: Of course we want to stay current and up-to-date with friends, family and what's going on in the world. But turning off notifications throughout your day or setting certain times a day to scroll can be useful. A lot of what we surround ourselves with, including some down or depressing news, can increase our stress + anxiety levels. Also blue light will keep our brains stimulated, so it is a good idea to reduce this as it gets closer to winding down at night. This light can suppress your melatonin levels. Try changing the color of your screens at night or wearing blue light blocking glasses.
Create a dark + cool environment: Our circadian rhythms are our internal clocks, which makes light very important when it comes to sleeping well. You can wear an eye mask, keep hallway lights off so light doesn't sneak through the cracks, keep your shades down/windows covered, keep electronics off in the room and start dimming lights an hour or so prior to going to bed. Regarding temperature, your body will naturally cool down at night to help get you ready for sleep and warm up closer to waking up. If you tend to have hotter body temperatures this can cause sleep interruptions. Keeping a cooler room, between 60-68 degrees, can keep you asleep more comfortably. Dark + cool also keep melatonin levels higher and helps you fall asleep quicker.
I hope these ideas help to give you restful nights ahead; happy sleeping!
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