Better Sleep = Better Life (Routine Included!)
I started having a hard time sleeping in the past few months. Not sure why, but my body wouldn’t relax and mind wouldn’t stop racing. At first I thought it was stress, so I was sure to meditate a few hours before bed. Still no sleep.
Then I thought it was my pillow. Got a new, more expensive one from a friend (thanks Candice!) but still no sleep. I knew that my schedule got busier and I was getting to bed later than normal, but I was still confused that I couldn’t pass out after a while of laying still in bed.
What was happening to me? After another few months of this, I became concerned. I started to do some research on how to get a good night’s sleep and began to experiment.
The first thing I learned is that it’s important to set the scene for your body to relax before bed. It’s like I need to re-train my body to gain a regular sleep pattern. Your body is on a time clock, and like a newborn baby, the body needs to be informed when to sleep. So I needed to re-build this habit in order to have the highest quality of sleep.
The second thing is the IMPORTANCE of high quality sleep. Here are some of what happens as you sleep well:
Skin cells rejuvenate
Hormones are balanced
Metabolism is regulated
Make healthier choices (with food and lifestyle)
Mind is more clear and sharp
Mood is better and more consistent
I also learned some important tips that can alter the quality of your sleep:
Avoid napping during the day. It can disturb the normal pattern of sleep and wakefulness. If you do nap, make it short!
Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol too close to bedtime. As well as TV, loud music, talking on phone or social activities While alcohol is well known to speed the onset of sleep, it disrupts sleep in the second half as the body begins to metabolize the alcohol, causing arousal. Any stimulant that causes high brain activity will be difficult to pacify during sleep.
Exercise can promote good sleep. Vigorous exercise should be taken in the morning or late afternoon. A relaxing exercise, like yoga, can be done before bed to help initiate a restful night's sleep.
Food can be disruptive right before sleep. Stay away from large meals close to bedtime. Also dietary changes can cause sleep problems, if someone is struggling with a sleep problem, it's not a good time to start experimenting with spicy dishes. And, remember, chocolate has caffeine.
Ensure adequate exposure to natural light. This is particularly important for older people who may not venture outside as frequently as children and adults. Light exposure helps maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
Establish a regular relaxing bedtime routine. Try to avoid emotionally upsetting conversations and activities before trying to go to sleep. Don't dwell on, or bring your problems to bed.
Associate your bed with sleep. It's not a good idea to use your bed to watch TV, listen to the radio, or read.
Make sure that the sleep environment is pleasant and relaxing. The bed should be comfortable, the room should not be too hot or cold, or too bright.
I love this Well + Good Article with other deep sleep suggestions and tips.
After all the research and practices, I FINALLY found a healthy sleep routine that works!
"SamoraLife Sleep Routine" is my 8 hour, deep, fully rejuvenated sleep program that keeps me energized, focused and clear through my long work days. It helps me feel more excited about my life and love it even more.
SamoraLife Sleep Routine
1. Regulate Essential Routines
Having a healthy eating and exercise routine makes your body more regulated in all it’s functions including sleep. It’s best to exercise in the morning and eat before 8pm at night. Try to also be in bed between 9:30pm-10:30pm for the most optimal rest. Everyone’s body is different, so play with routines that work best for you!
2. Evening Elixir
Enjoying a nice warm beverage before bed soothes the body and soul. I started boiling a full banana with the peel on, and drinking the water. Bananas are full of potassium and magnesium, which are both natural muscle relaxant which is a good way to get into sleep mode.
3. Eliminate Distractions
I start turning off the TV, turning lights out and putting my phone in sleep mode so that I set the mood for my sleep. I actually don’t have any gadgets in my bedroom (I don’t even charge my phone in the bedroom anymore) as a way to create a sacred space for sleep.
4. Feel Clean + Smell Pretty
I like to take a quick shower or bath before bed. I usually take a shower in the morning as well but bathing at night makes me feel like I’m rinsing off the day and going to bed clean. I also like to spray myself and my bed with some essential oils like lavender.
Although there’s mixed messages about meditating right before bed. I at least like to do some conscious breathing to clear my mind and calm my body. This also helps me breathe better during sleep!
And when I have my very hard to sleep episodes I take these natural sleep aids:
Melatonin: I take one 2mg pill an hour before bed and it has helped me fall asleep fast. “Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that’s released in cycles throughout the day. It keeps us alert during the day and at rest during the night, and it is what our body needs to in order to sleep,” Dr. Frank Lipman
5-Hydroxytryptophane (5-HTP): Helps with sleep and mood and can also regulate eating patterns. This natural supplement boosts serotonin and gets you a good nights rest. I usually take 2-3 pills daily when I can’t get deep rest.
Other natural sleep aids to consider is recommended in the Well + Good Article.