How to Sleep Deeply and Wake Up Refreshed
Eating real foods and moving your body everyday often get all the attention when it comes to your health and wellness, but sleep is arguably the most important. It literally helps every function of the body and mind.
Sleep helps regulates your hormones, mood, weight, organ functions, cell turn over, brain function, metabolism and immunity. It literally allows you to function the next day. You know that feeling of getting little to no sleep, it is disorienting and exhausting - no fun. But when you get amazing sleep, you wake up with a "everything is possible" attitude. You feel alive, energized and clear headed.
In your go-go-go day, it is crucial that you create a solid bedtime routine, especially in the colder months where it's been statistically proven that you need an average of 2 more hours of rest each night.
Here are my best recommendations to get amazing, quality sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.
Finishing eating 2-3 hours before
Digesting takes a lot of energy and keeps your body internally active so instead of eating a heavy, late night dinner and lots of snacks on the couch, pause eating for the day 2-3 hours before you catch some zzz's. This will allow your body to downshift and go into rest mode easier. If you notice a desire to munch on something (might be out of boredom or a way to self-soothe) have a warm drink like herbal tea or warm milk with honey and cinnamon. It's like a hug in a mug. :)
Wind down with a chill activity
It's helpful to integrate a relaxing and fun activity before crawling into bed. This can happen after you are done with work and tasks and are leaning into your first wave of fatigue. For me that can happen around 7:30pm or 8pm. Things like brushing teeth, changing into pj's, watching a funny show, reading a book on the couch next to the fire, stretch on the living room floor, do a craft or take a short walk.
It's also key to have a place to channel your worries, fears and doubts as evening time can bring those feelings to the surface as you become less productive. Journaling, singing, standing outside under the stars, drawing or scheduling to see your therapist this week are wonderful outlets.
Create a cozy, inviting sleep environment
Set the mood, set the tone for restful sleep. Outside your sleep space, close kitchen, dim lights (turn off overhead and turn on lamps and accent lighting) and light a candle or incense. Near your sleep space, make your bed and the immediate area around in tranquil, soft and inviting.
Have clean sheets with nothing else on the bed except bedding, have a clean bedside table with only items that encourage a restful night ahead a like a book, journal, a meaningful picture or nic nac, a plant, crystal, or oil. Keep your sleeping space sacred and clutter free and you'll fall asleep easier. Also, keep the air temperature at or below 68 degrees F for an optimal sleep.
Be in bed by 10pm
It's ideal to be in bed and sleeping by 10-10:30pm. According to science of Ayurveda, universal energy from 6-10pm goes down, making it easier to wind down and do less. After 10pm there's an energy shift that goes up, making it harder to fall asleep fast and stay asleep. If you stay up past 10pm you catch your "second wind" making it easier to stay up later. When you do this, your quality of sleep goes way down and no matter how much you sleep in, you'll still feel tired and groggy in the morning.
When you go to bed at or before 10pm, you fall asleep easily and decrease your chances of that 1-3am wake up. Doesn't that sounds dreamy?!
Keep your phone away from bed
This will make the biggest positive change in your quality of sleep! Move your phone away from arms reach when in bed. Do not, I repeat, do not keep stow your phone in your bed or on your bedside table. The blue light from a screen will suppress your release of melatonin, the content will keep your mind active and (let's face it) you're probably going to scroll when you didn't want to. Looking at your phone near bedtime keep you in high alert and making micro decisions you don't need to make late at night.
Instead, keep your phone at the other end of the room, or better yet, in another room. If you use your phone for an alarm, now you will be encouraged to get up and turn it off in the morning. It's a win win so you aren't tempted to always press snooze.