Holistic Living Series - SleepSep 23, 2022
In a world where everything seems to shout at us to move and do more, we often find that sleep becomes elusive, and no wonder! With so many things vying for our attention, it is hard for our brains and bodies to calm and slow.
The fact remains, however, that sleep it vital for recovery of both our bodies and our minds - we cannot effectively reduce stress in our bodies from movement and everyday living without adequate sleep. We also cannot recover from the mental and emotional stresses of life without proper rest.
But how do we get good sleep? The peaceful, restorative sleep that rejuvenates us, and has us jumping out of bed before our alarms each morning?
We can start with a few, simple ways to help our brains and bodies relax and calm enough to help us drift to sleep.
1. Have a consistent bedtime. Whether it is a work night a weekend night, try to keep a similar bed time each night - the consistency helps your brain know when to begin its regular relaxation routine.
2. Reduce or eliminate "blue light" for 2 hours before bed. Phones, computer screens, tablets, even televisions emit a blue spectrum light that actually signals to our brains that it is time to wake up - the sun actually emits a blue-type light, which our primordial brains interpret as a wake up. When we use these devices, especially when they are close to our eyes as handheld devices often are, we signal our brains to get ready for the day, quite the opposite of sleep!
3. Have a calming, pre-bed routine. Whether it is 10 or 60 minutes, having a routine that regularly helps your brain and body to relax can help immensely in your goal to get to sleep. Start perhaps an hour before bed with a mug of golden mylk or herbal tea, or even just a small glass of water. While drinking, perhaps listen to calming music or read a familiar and calming book. Dim the lights. Then do your regular pre-bed routine - brushing your teeth, washing your face, putting on your pyjamas, etc. You could even do a few minutes of "legs up the wall", where you elevate your legs on some pillows or a chair or a wall to help promote feelings of relaxation. When you get into bed, try perhaps some essential oils, like lavender or peppermint, to encourage slower breathing and feelings of calm. Try to stick to this routine even on the weekends or nights you don't have to work. Again, the routine brings the familiar, which encourages your brain to relax.
4. Above all, try to give yourself enough time to sleep - the next time you have a few days off in a row, notice your natural sleep and wake cycles; when you go to bed, and when you naturally wake up. Many people are surprised to find that they will sleep for 7 or 8 hours easily, when they normally only get 5 or 6 on a work night. When you chronically deprive yourself of adequate sleep hours, you will be unable to "catch up" on weekends and days off.
These are just a few ways to help you get some restful sleep. Stay consistent with your routine, keep at it for a few months and see how much better you feel!
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