Everyone deserves a full, restful sleep every night! Here are some tips to make peaceful slumber a reality for you:
Make Sleep a Priority
Don’t use your hectic schedule as an excuse not to get an adequate night’s sleep. Listen to your body. How many hours do you require to wake up feeling rested and ready for the day? Cut back in other areas of your life and make room for a restful sleep!
Follow the Same Routine Every Night
Create a nurturing, nightly, ritual by doing things such as going to bed at the same time each night, taking a soothing bath 1 hour before bed, stretching, reading something positive, deep breathing, muscle relaxation, meditation/prayer or massaging your feet. Whatever you choose to do, do it consistently every single night and eventually, your body will recognize these actions and patterns as signals to start relaxing and preparing for sleep.
Create a Soothing Oasis
- Use your bedroom for sleep only…and sex of course (wink). Do not use your bedroom for working, eating or watching TV.
- Spend lots of time in the sun; 30 minutes each day is ideal if possible but avoid bright light before bed…especially the artificial kind. Remove as many sources of artificial light from your bedroom as possible. This includes alarm clocks, phones, TVs, computers, HDMI switches etc.
- Keep your room as dark as possible, investing in room darkening blinds or curtains if necessary.
- Use soothing colors to decorate the space. Use light blues, earth tones or soft, muted colors to promote sleep instead of bold, bright, stimulating colors.
- Choose scents that evoke relaxation such as lavender and chamomile and use them only at bed time.
- Feng Shui the room to increase positive energy flow. There are many online resources for tips on this subject.
- Do you find that certain sounds help you sleep better? The buzz of a fan, rain, trees blowing in the breeze or the bubbling water of a fish tank. Or perhaps you prefer complete silence. If you aren’t sure, try experimenting!
Physical activity reduces stress allowing for easier sleep and increased time spent in deep sleep. Aim for 10-30 minutes of aerobic activity each morning. Since exercise leaves you feeling energized, stimulated and warmer, avoid it too close to bedtime. Ideally, your core temperature should decrease before bed.
- Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables every day is a great start to overall health, including a fantastic night’s sleep.
- Melatonin, valerian root, vitamin D magnesium, B vitamins and chamomile tea are some of the supplements shown to aid sleep.
- Avoid caffeine after 1 PM, including coffee, soda and chocolate. Caffeine is a well-known stimulant.
- Avoid night caps. Drinking alcohol before bed causes unrest and makes it difficult for you to stay asleep.
- Eat a light dinner. Big dinners prolong digestion and can lead to heartburn and indigestion late into the night and early morning.
- Drink lots of water throughout the day…but not before bed. Stop drinking liquids approximately 60-90 minutes before going to bed…especially if waking up to go to the washroom in the middle of the night is an issue for you.
Be Positive & Mindful
- Read something positive or spend some time meditating or praying before going to sleep. Don’t focus on your mistakes or the long list of things that stress you out. Instead, focus on your successes. Be mindful and take control of your thoughts for a worry-free sleep!
- Avoid negativity including anger, negative conversation, complaining and gossip before bed.
- Keep a notepad by the bed for those thoughts that swirl around in your mind, preventing you from falling asleep. Get them out of your mind and onto paper! Besides, who can solve all of life’s problems in those moments before sleep? I know I haven’t been successful in this area so far! Tomorrow is another day.
Prepare for the Next Day
Waking up and starting your day right is important too! If you are like me and struggle with mornings, you will thank yourself for putting these tips into action the evening before a busy day:
- Make your lunch and leave it in the fridge, ready to grab and go in the morning.
- Prepare for breakfast. Set out your plate, bowl, frying pan…whatever you might need for a quick morning meal.
- Have your soap, shampoo, wash cloths and anything you need for morning hygiene out and ready to go.
- Choose what you will wear the next day and put it all together in one spot. It even helps to select small things such as jewelry, makeup and undergarments to save time.
- Leave your keys, wallet, parking pass and purse etc. in the same place each night to prevent frantic searching in the morning.
It goes without saying that you need to be comfortable to fall asleep quickly and to sleep well. Invest in a comfortable bed, mattress, pillows and sheets. Keep the room cool and fresh with air conditioning, a running fan pointed away from the bed or an open window. Sleep naked or with as little clothing on as possible. If you’re cold, wear socks and heap more blankets on the bed. Helping your body get to a lower temperature faster can encourage deeper sleep. Studies have shown that sleeping in temperatures between 60 and 68 degrees is best for optimal sleep.
Avoid Sleep Interruptions
- Go to the washroom before bed and as mentioned earlier, stop drinking 60-90 minutes before you hit the hay to help prevent those super-early-morning-treks to the bathroom.
- For some of you, this may sound harsh but for various reasons, I do not recommend letting your children or your pets sleep with you every night. Everyone deserves their own sleeping space and the right to a fabulous night’s sleep.
- Turn off the phone… or at least put it on silent! Unless it is an emergency, it can wait.
- Being overweight can increase your risk of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep meaning the brain and body may not be getting enough oxygen for proper rest.
Smoking regularly can wreak havoc on the body’s natural sleep routine. Circadian rhythm interruptions, difficulty falling asleep and insomnia are often side effects of smoking.
Reflexology increases circulation, encourages relaxation, removes toxins, stimulates the nervous system, reduces pain, helps relieve stress and anxiety and stimulates the release of the sleep-inducing hormones melatonin and serotonin. Not coincidentally, these are all effects that improve sleep as well! There are plenty of personal testimonials attesting to the link between regular reflexology sessions and healthier sleep patterns. Contact your local reflexologist today to schedule an appointment!