How to get some serious Zzzz’s
Well hey there, and welcome to another awesome week of life! In today’s blog post I thought it would be a great topic to discuss sleep. This seems to be a hot topic right now and I really feel that people do not invest enough time in ensuring themselves enough sleep and quality sleep. So as your Wellness Boss, I am going to share with you some ways to get some serious z’s.
Now you all know that I am a big fan of food that nourishes our body mind and soul. And one thing I know for sure is that there is nothing on this planet that will replace a good night’s quality sleep. Caffeine and sugar are short term bursts of energy that leave you feeling even more tired. And supplements are like a quick fix band aid. So the only way to ensure your body and mind is getting ample energy is to ensure quality sleep.
Research states that in order for our Brain’s to Properly Function, we need a minimum of 6.5-8 hours of sleep. That is when the human growth hormone kicks in and allows you to enter into the replenish zone which keeps the body young and builds muscle. The last hour and a half is when the body does the most cleansing. Our immune system does the most healing when the body is in a deep sleep.
You may or may not have heard me preach about the importance of creating a killer morning routine and the only way you will be able to create such a killer morning routine is if you have a quality nights sleep as you need to have enough energy to spring you out of bed and then sustain you for your whole day. So here are my surefire sleep tips to get you on the right path for balancing out your energies and slaying your day.
Number One: Create a power down hour. And yes, this includes unplugging. Did you know that your body will naturally produce melatonin? My kids are always whining to me that they can’t sleep – I tell them that I have the solution to their problem – it’s a big secret that no one knows about, are you ready for this?
They look at me dumbfounded. Like, what? Seriously, unplug. If you keep looking at your phone, or your tablet or your computer, the blue light triggers your dopamine – your dopamine makes you feel happy – your dopamine keeps you awake. Even if you are relaxed, your body will not produce enough melatonin. If you unplug an hour before bedtime and create yourself a power down hour, including the all mighty hardcore chore of unplugging, this will allow your body to stop making dopamine, start making melatonin – naturally, and you will be able to sleep like a baby.
Are you still with me?
More insider sleep tips here…
As part of your power down hour here are some things to try.
Journal – doing a brain dump before bed creates an energy release. So that anything that my be lingering on your mind or troubling you, or things that you need to remember – get it out of your brain, out of your energy and safe and sound in your journal or day planner. Get everything out, your to do’s, feelings, worries, and fears. Leave it all on your pages.
Have a salt bath – the magnesium is a sleep promoter, combined with hot water and if you want, light a candle and add some lavender drops to your bath. All of these unwind your mind and your muscles, and begin the process of natural relaxation and melatonin production. Don’t have time for a bath, just grab a heat pad – put that on the core of your body and do some deep breathing. You will pass out in no time.
Timing – go to bed at the same time every evening – even on the weekend. We are creatures of habit and believe it or our bodies thrive on routine. Even our sleep routine and evening habits. You will adjust and you will find that your body will crave your bed time power down hour and this will improve your sleep habits.
Posture – Posture in bed is just as important as posture is while standing or sitting. When we are lying down our body is compressed by gravity in a different way which changes our body alignment. Our bodies need to be fully supported by our mattress and pillow. Keep it cool, your body naturally produces melatonin, helping you to fall asleep. Keeping a lower body temperature as you sleep will help you achieve a deeper sleep and wake up feeling rested and energized. Invest in a mattress that helps to regulate your body temperature or keep the window open, sleep with lighter blankets, or consider sleeping in your birthday suit to keep you cool the whole night through.
When it comes to optimal sleep habits and comfort a pillow is not something to forget about. A pillow that holds your head too high or too low increases your risk of neck and shoulder pain. A proper pillow should feel comfortable but also support your head and neck supporting spinal alignment.
De-Stress – Stress, anxiety, and rapid thoughts have become so common now a day that it can be difficult to know what it feels like to be truly relaxed. Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation to relax your muscles by deliberately tensing them one at a time to build up tension and then slowly let go to feel each muscle relax. Start with your face and work your way down to your toes.
Try a Beditation – (Meditation at Bedtime) Tune into a guided meditation at bedtime to help your mind relax and shut off. Guided meditations will help to lull you into the comfort of a deep sleep. The key to a great sleep is to fully surrender to “Relaxation” in your muscles and your mind.
Receive Reiki – If you are attuned to Reiki, then do some Reiki on yourself in bed before going to sleep. If you are not attuned, then seek out a practitioner and treat yourself to a Reiki session. Reiki promotes sleep and relaxation.
Did you know that we never have the same sleep twice? Some people believe that they sleep in one position throughout the entire night but our bodies can change positions up to 40 times every night. This is because our bodies need to stretch and relax as we sleep.
By making a conscious effort to change your bedtime habits you will notice a huge difference in mind shift and your sleep patterns.
Try Yoga or stretching
Bedtime stretching – try a basic body stretch or some bedtime yoga to help alleviate any tension that you accumulated through out the day. Yoga Poses to help: Waterfall – Lay on your back flat on your mattress or on your yoga mat, lift your legs up in the air and bend your knees. Raise your arms straight in the air while keeping your shoulders down. Try straightening your legs in the air. Hold this pose for 30 seconds. Happy Baby – Lay on your back and lift your legs up in the air and bend your knees. You can either grab both feet or lock your fingers in between your big toe and second toe and push your legs out as far as you can (just as a baby does) Rock gently from side to side. Hold for 45-90 seconds. Corpse – Lie down and let your legs fall where they land naturally. Place your arms down beside you, palms up. Focus on your breath inhaling for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds and then release for 5 seconds. Repeat for 5 cycles.
These are a few things that you can do to include in your power down hour and get your mind and muscles ready for bed. There are also things you can do during the day – start prepping your body and mind for sleep during your daytime wakeful hours.
Get Busy- Usually, after a very full day we are more than ready to fall asleep once bed time hits. If you walk or exercise, or have a very full day physically or mentally (and usually it’s those mentally crazy days where we are energetically DONE!) try some yoga or light stretching to relax your mind. If you’ve been run off your feet, a few light stretches before bed would ease the lactic acid running through your body and help to ease your mind and body before sleep. An evening walk will help to promote sleep too.
Hydrate – Make sure your body is well hydrated to avoid muscle cramps or body tension at night. Drinking enough water during the day to make sure that your muscles are hydrated will help to reduce restlessness. But make sure you cut off early evening so that you are not waking up to use the washroom.
Cutting out alcohol – While it might relax you and make you feel tired, initially you may even fall into a great deep sleep, but it won’t last long. Alcohol raises your body temperature which makes you wake up in a sweat, or severely dehydrated and messes up your total sleep pattern. Minimizing alcohol consumption close to bedtime will help you to achieve a deeper, longer sleep and you will feel rested in the morning.
Try Supplements – a few that I recommend to help with reducing body aches and pains and to help your mind and body relax include magnesium – take 2 at night. And vitamin D during the day. If you suffer from arthritis, joint, or hip pain – add in your vitamin D. This can be taken any time – but you want to aim for 3-5000 units if you are not getting enough sun.
And finally, here are some insomnia busters if you are really suffering or if you wake up and can’t get back to sleep: try journaling or doing another brain dump, deep breathing – slowly in and out count to 10, have sex, read, change where you are sleeping (sometimes just going from the bed to the couch helps) change your temperature – are you too hot, too cold?
Let me know how you get some serious Zzzz’s!