If you feel that a full night of rest isn’t really important, think again. Without restful sleep and enough of it, your entire health suffers. Sleep is important for youthful skin, mental clarity, a strong immune system and for maintaining a healthy weight. Not to mention you’ll make healthier food and lifestyle choices then if you’re tired and lacking motivation. Even if you eat well and exercise enough, but just aren’t seeing the results you desire, it could be your sleep to blame.
Minimize Media Time
It seems most people are on their phones all day. I am like most people, except that once I realized that the light emitted from my phone (along will all my other devices) impacts sleep quality, I replaced checking my phone or computer before bed with better habits. What happens is that our electronics and energy-efficient lightbulbs all produce artificial light. When exposed to this light in the evenings, our bodies circadian rhythm is thrown off. During the day, these blue lights are actually meant to keep us alert, but at night they are harmful to our health. These artificial lights will disrupt the secretion of melatonin, the sleepy-time hormone that influences our circadian rhythm. A lack of melatonin and working the night shift has been linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity (source: Harvard Health Publications).
So, what to do? Minimize exposure to blue light at least an hour before bed. You can also install dim red lights which have the least impact on melatonin and circadian rhythm. You can also purchase a pair of ultra-sexy, blue-blocking glasses. They actually aren’t cute at all, but if you’re someone who has to be on your computer or up working late, I’d definitely consider buying a pair.
1. Create Calming Nighttime Habits
So now that you won’t be using your electronics before bed, you’ll need a replacement nighttime routine. Instead of browsing Facebook in the evenings for probably the 100th time that day, I have some tips of other things to do. Remember those things called books? Try reading one. Had a stressful day and have a ton of things on your mind? Journal or try coloring in a coloring book. Feeling achy? Take a warm shower or bath. Have a significant other? Talk to them. Or try some of these other recommendations below.
2. Use Essential Oils
I have an essential oil for nearly every situation or ailment, but nighttime is when I use my oils the most. Lavander, chamomille, ylang ylang, cedarwood, bergamot, and sandalwood are some of my personal favorites for calming my body. There are a few ways to use essential oils, although my preferred methods are to diffuse them into the air using a diffuser, or use them topically on the soles of my feet, on my wrists, or behind my ears (the oils can be used topically on other parts of the body too). Sometimes I will sprinkle a couple drops of oil on the bottom of my steamy shower so that the scent can rise all around me. Other times I will put a couple drops on a tissue, then rub it over my pillow. Just make sure you get quality oils, like the ones from doTerra, which are certified therapeutic grade.
3. Use Magnesium
Even if you’re getting enough magnesium in your diet, the body can actually only absorb about 50% of it. Magnesium is beneficial for sleep in that it moves calcium for your bones to your bloodstream, thus acting as a natural muscle relaxant. If you are someone who really struggles with sleep, I absolutely recommend taking magnesium supplements, bathing in a magnesium bath, or using magnesium oil. To see what else magnesium can help with, check out its 101 uses.
There are different ways to go about meditating, so figure out what works best for you. To calm my mind and body before bed, I like to drape my lavender-filled eye mask over my eyes while I focus on breathing. I start with even breathing by inhaling through my nose for about four seconds, then exhaling through my mouth for four seconds. After breathing like this for a few breaths, I then switch it up to the 4-7-8 method so that I’m breathing in through my nose for four seconds, holding it for seven seconds, then exhaling through my mouth for eight seconds. Try this at least three times in a row. If I don’t do this, I also like to use the meditation app called Headspace. It takes ten minutes of your time a day and is particularly great for those new to meditating.
Try out all these tips for quality sleep. If you are still having trouble sleeping or are continuing to wake up feeling exhausted, then let’s talk. Schedule a complimentary 50-minute consultation with me and we will get to the root of your health concerns!