How to get better sleep
One of the ways to address elevated levels of anxiety and stress in your life is to look at how you can improve your sleep quality. Lack of sleep is linked to higher rates of inflammation, lowered immunity, anxiety, stress, and even depression. It also accelerates aging. And, not just the superficial aging we see on the outside, but your body’s internal aging also accelerates if the amount of sleep you get is continually compromised.
The secret to getting good sleep starts when you wake up. Once you have set a routine for yourself in your morning, this is guaranteed to make going to bed and getting good rest a more pleasant experience.
Start with the basics.
Our biology is best suited for routines. When it comes to sleep, make an agreement with yourself to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. After you wake up, make your bed. By completing this simple task, you’re showing yourself that you’ve already accomplished one thing in your day. This is good soul medicine in its simplest form.
The other positive outcome of making your bed in the morning is that when you get ready to go to bed at night, you have a lovely and tidy bed waiting for you. It closes the subconscious loop of feeling accomplishment and becomes the punctuation that concludes your day.
Here are some other things that I’ve experimented with and find to be helpful.
Turn your phone to night mode all day long. This means that the background screen will be black instead of white. The stimulating blue light coming from our phones and our computers interrupts our circadian rhythm and confuses how our brain secretes melatonin (the sleep-wake hormone regulator).
Use the flux app on your computer to adjust the tone of the light coming from your screen. At night, your screen colors will reflect warm light while during the day the light will be more similar to sunlight.
You can also consider investing in a pair of blu-blocking glasses to help reduce the amount of blue light entering your eyes. Blu-blocking glasses can be used for the computer or if you are out at night in bright day-lit spaces.
Create Evening Rituals
Eat your last meal at least three hours before bed in order to allow your body enough time for digestion that will not interrupt your body’s nightly repair routines.
Ayurveda, the ancient Indian health care system that is over 5000 years old recognizes sleep as one of the pillars of health. It recommends taking a short walk after meals. Two to three hundred steps twenty minutes after eating will aid your digestion.
Try to minimize caffeine as early in the day as possible. Coffee at 4 pm can still affect your sleep eight hours later. Be mindful to stop consuming caffeinated tea, coffee, chocolate, and sugary caffeinated sweets by early afternoon.
Take a teaspoon of raw honey one hour before bed. The sugar from the honey produces glycogen in the brain which can produce deeper sleep. If this suggestion speaks to you, Dave Asprey has some other sleep-enhancing food suggestions here.
Set up your bedroom for good sleep.
First, keep your bedroom clean and neat. Remove anything that has to do with work. If for some reason your bed and office are in the same room, create a “good night” ritual to put away your computer and any related material to transform your space into a bedroom.
Think of your bedroom as a place for three things, and only these three things: sleep, relaxation, and romance.
Anything else does not belong in the bedroom. This includes, yes, I’m going to say it: your television. The light from the TV is the same light that comes from your computer and your phone. It’s a sleep disruptor. Your brain thinks it’s daytime and melatonin secretion decreases.
Some newer televisions have a blue light setting you can turn on, however, in general, it’s a good idea to start to turn inward versus constantly being outwardly engaged with the world. Watching the news, an intense documentary or scary movie before bed will stimulate your body’s cortisol (stress response) production.
Cortisol interrupts your cycles of deep sleep, or Delta Wave sleep.
Delta wave sleep is when our body is the most effectively healing and repairing. It’s also the sleep cycle that helps us produce happier emotions and boosts our memory.
In general, when we go to bed with higher cortisol levels and thereby experience shorter or less Delta Wave sleep, we are more likely to develop physical issues such as hormone imbalances, immune issues, mood changes, and digestive issues.
Meditation, Yoga Nidra, Restorative Yoga, and deep breathing all can support shifting your body into deeper relaxation and support your body in achieving deeper, or Delta Wave, sleep.
If you have the flexibility to do so, consider the size of your bedroom. Some cultures consider the bedroom more beneficial for sleep if it’s a smaller room versus a larger room. The idea of being in a cozy place to sleep with not a lot of space around harkens back to when we were in utero and had just enough space to do everything we needed to do, including sleep.
Make sure the temperature of your bedroom is cool. You can still have a blanket and be warm in bed, however, cooler room temperature will support better sleep. The ideal temperature for sleep is 18C/66F.
Keep your phone off and outside the bedroom.
If you use your phone as an alarm, consider getting an alarm clock. I am a big fan of the Philips Wake Up Light that mimics both sunset and sunrise light settings. Waking up to the sound of nature and soft light is a much more pleasant experience than flinging an arm out of the covers to snooze the phone.
Get some nice pajamas.
Forget the old t-shirt and comfy pants that have been with you for too long. Make your sleep attire just as important as what you would wear during the day. I love silk pajamas and recommend them as a worthy “better sleep” investment. Not only do they feel nice but they keep the body temperature balanced. Silk fibers are also known to be good for the skin in general so you are doing something healthy for yourself while you sleep!
Establish sleep rituals and routines
After dinner, make a nice bedtime or evening tea of some kind. I change it up between a sleepy herbal infusion and Reishi tea. Both work well, and Reishi, in particular, has properties that support developing healthy sleep cycles.
Turn the phone and computer off, if possible, at least two hours before bed.
Have an oil and supplement routine.
If you find that you need something to unplug and get deeper sleep, I recommend the following three natural supplements.
• doTERRA Serenity Softgels
• doTERRA Adaptiv Softgels
• doTERRA Copaiba Softgels.
Most nights, I take a combination of 1 Serenity and 1 Copaiba soft gel.
Adaptiv soft gels are great for deep sleep and I find they help if you are coming home from an event, or still feel “on” and want to get to bed, fast.
Load up your essential oil diffuser.
Set your diffuser to the five-hour setting and add your favorite grounding and calming oils. Make sure the diffuser light is turned off before you go to bed.
Some oils I love for sleep are:
• Serenity Blend
• Balance Blend
• Roman Chamomile
• Adaptiv Blend
• Wild Orange (Wild Orange is great if you have a very talkative mind before bed)
You can blend the above oils, or use them on their own. You’ll want to add 7-8 drops (in total) to your diffuser.
Next, apply 1-2 drops of Cedarwood or Serenity Blend over your chest, inside your wrists, and/or behind your neck. You can also give yourself a nice foot rub and dilute 1 drop of these oils to the bottom of your feet.
Important to note when you’re working with oils, please only work with 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils.
Next, brain dump.
Write down everything you have on your mind in your journal. You can also have a separate “brain dump” list alongside your journal that can become your “to do” list for the next day. But, essentially, a brain dump is just that – get it all out on paper. It doesn’t have to make sense or be well organized, what’s important is that you free up your mind from all the little messages and stories you are carrying around.
Following your brain dump, free write in your journal or write a gratitude or kindness list. A gratitude list would be acknowledging the things you are grateful for from that day. A kindness list is writing down all the ways that others were kind to you and ways in which you were kind to others. Make sure to include ways you were kind towards yourself on this list.
After writing, you can practice legs up the wall (Vipariti Karani) for ten minutes or read. In the aim to be tech-free, reading an actual book versus a kindle feels more natural and aligned with good sleep habits.
If you find yourself easily disrupted by noise, consider earplugs and an eye mask to tune out noises and light. Avoid the plastic earplugs and get natural wax earplugs to assure you’re not bringing chemicals into your body.
And, finally – set your alarm clock and say goodnight.
That’s what works for me, and I will update this blog as I learn and experience other sleep-enhancing experiences. In the meantime, wishing you peaceful and grounded sleep and hope you continue to cultivate good sleep habits to support your total health.
Please note this is not intended to be medical information nor directed towards individuals with chronic sleep issues. Please talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing chronic sleep issues.
If you wish to learn more about the all-natural sleep supplements and essential oils for sleep, message me in the contact form below.
I offer a complimentary one to one wellness program consults in private online meetings. My passion (and job) is helping others to start using more all-natural solutions to support your health and happiness.
With gratitude and love,
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