I don’t know about you, but I used to have the most difficult time falling asleep. About 7-8 years ago I even got to the point where I became nervous about bedtime…that’s right…sounds crazy huh? I would always dread the evening because I knew the later it became, the closer it got to trying to make myself fall asleep. The more I tried to fall asleep, the most restless I became. I started taking a light sleeping pill, which helped for a while, but I knew that I didn’t want to become dependent on this drug. I began reading about bedtime techniques that could help me with my insomnia issue. After implementing some of these new techniques, I found what works best for me, and even came up with a few of my own.
Deep, restful, sleep is a crucial part of our healthy, bodily function. Not only is sleep imperative for a healthy immune system, but it is also essential in preventing disease; sleep promotes a youthful appearance, and a positive mood.
There are still times here and there when I have a little difficulty falling asleep, but generally it’s because I have not practiced my sleep rituals and my mind is going 100 mph. We all have better days than some and more restful days than some; the important thing is that we hopefully have more wonderful days than the latter.
1. Create your space! Evaluate your bedroom, situation. The bedroom is for two things: sleep and love making (maybe some reading, lol..but you know what I’m saying). It’s true. Your mind and body actually begin to associate certain places with feelings. You want your body to be immersed in relaxation mode the moment you step foot into you bedroom. Maybe try painting your bedroom a relaxing color like aqua, light blue, warm yellow… Your bedroom is your sanctuary. My advice is to create a simple, zen-like bedroom space that has nice light during the day with a cool temperature and lights out (completely) at night time.
2. Hot bath and aromatherapy! These two things top the list when it comes to sleep rituals. I will be honest and say that I do not take a hot bath every night…I love the idea of it, but sometimes I just can’t get around to doing it. The one thing I can testify to, is that the nights when I actually DO take a hot bath, are the nights that I sleep the best.
Some of you may know how much I adore aromatherapy/essential oils. I think they are life changing and can solve and heal so many physical and mental issues. I use Young Living therapeutic essential oils, and my top bedtime oils are Lavender, Stress Away, and Peace & Calming. (If you want to learn more about essential oils, please with email me directly with the subject Essential Oils in the subject: [email protected])
3. Avoid eating heavy meals 2-3 hours before bedtime. Heavy meals can cause bloating, discomfort, and indigestion. Risk of developing esophageal cancer increases if you go to bed (aka lie horizontal) immediately after eating. Your food needs to digest properly in your stomach while being upright. Nobody wants esophageal cancer, so don’t eat so darn late! 🙂
4. Cut the caffeine out by 1:00-3:00pm. Studies show that caffeine stays in our body longer than we realize. I notice with my own body that the older I get, the earlier in the day I have to stop drinking caffeine. This rule applies to any beverage (coffee, tea, etc).
5. Exercise! Studies show that people who regularly exercise have a higher tendency of longer, deep sleep! Exercise any time of the day, but never exercise when your body actually needs rest. Per my experience, sleep comes first. Learn to listen to your body – your body will tell you when it has had enough! Be gentle with yourself, and recognize when you need to rest and when it’s appropriate to stop and go to bed. I know we all try to be superman, but honestly, we can’t do it all, and that is okay! 🙂
6. Keep a consistent Sleep/Wake schedule! This ritual is the hardest one for me. This is the one that I have to constantly work and remind myself on. I have a difficult time (especially living in Las Vegas) keeping a consistent sleep schedule.
7. Power down the technology an hour before bedtime! Bright lights is one of the biggest triggers to our brains telling us that we need to be alert and awake. Do your mind a favor and give it a hour break each day before bedtime; I feel confident that this alone will help you sleep!
8. Take deep breaths and say a prayer! Deep breathing is scientifically proven to provide ultimate relaxation to the body by slowing your heart rate. Just the breath alone may be the key to curing your insomnia. I also recommend a guided meditation. I often listen to a guided mediation before I go to bed. One of my favorite people to listen to is Kelly Howell.
Please tell me your sleep rituals below in the comments!