I love sleep. I love sleep so much that I refused to come out of my mother’s womb. My twin had to be born first because I was still sleeping. I kept hitting the snooze button. That’s what happens when it’s warm and cozy and comfortable. I was born 51 minutes later.
When I was a shift worker in my early twenties and doing back-to-back evening, morning, and evening shifts, I would count down the hours until I could go back to sleep as soon as I woke up. It was during this time in my life that I was diagnosed with a chronic illness with fatigue being the the overarching symptom. My sleeping patters were irregular, I was tired allthe time, and my mood was stuck on irritable. If you’re thinking, that’s me too, know that you can have a refreshing and rejuvenating sleep just by making a few simple lifestyle changes.
There are many restorative processes that take place when we are sleeping. Ideally, we should be aiming for around eight hours of shut-eye every night. The truth is that people who sleep for less than six hours a night have a shorter lifespan compared to those who sleep for seven to eight hours. Most of us are cutting back on sleep to fit more life into our days, not realizing that we are actually sacrificing the days of our life and are probably suffering from sleep-induced health issues that are lowering our quality of life.
Are you ready to trade in sleepless nights, diminished energy, brain fog, and mood swings for sleep-filled nights, abundant energy, clearer thinking, and a happier, healthier you?
Here are my top ten tips for a sweeter sleep:
1. Keep your bed and wake times regular to set your body clock (sleeping between the hours of 10 PM to 7 AM is best).
2. Exercise during the day to improve your sleep, but don’t exercise two hours prior to bedtime or you may find yourself wide awake.
3. Don’t nap during the day! Napping can make it harder to fall asleep at night and decreases the quality of your sleep by interfering with your natural body rhythm, the circadian rhythm, which in turn makes sleep less refreshing.
4. Don’t consume alcohol or any stimulants like caffeine, up to two hours before heading off to bed.
5. Create a bedtime routine and wind down with activities such as a warm bath or shower, a cup of tea, reading a book, relaxation exercises, and generally, keep the light and sound levels low.
6. Try not to worry or dwell on problems in bed. Instead, write them down before you get into bed and focus on your breathing to help you fall asleep.
7. Make your room an oasis. Remove the gadgets, control the temperature (not too hot or cold), use aromatherapy oils, be generous with blankets and cushions, and get comfortable!
8. Avoid late night snacking as your body will be busy digesting instead of sleeping. Try not to eat at least two to three hours before bedtime.
9. Get out in the sunshine everyday to help set your body clock and wake up with the sunlight streaming into your bedroom in the morning.
10. No clock watching!
Like any new skill, improving your sleeping patterns will take time to learn, but you will not only be rewarded with better quality sleep, but also a better quality life. Sweet dreams and good night!
This article was happily contributed by:
Brooke is a twenty-something singing teacher from Melbourne, Australia and Holistic Health Coach-in-training with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition based in New York. Since being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 2010, Brooke has been on a journey of healing, which has ignited a passion for health and wellness in body, soul, and spirit. She shares her journey on her blog, Seed Bearing Fruit. Brooke loves to paint, sing, read, write, teach, travel, and create in the kitchen. Connect with Brooke on Facebook and Instagram to find our all about her health coaching practice!