Lately a lot of friends tell me they have trouble falling asleep, or can’t sleep through the night. I don’t think we should take this lying down! (Okay, I just had to.) Seriously though, restful sleep is ridiculously important. Who wants to move through the day like a zombie worthy of appearing on “The Walking Dead?” Coffee can only do so much. That’s why I’ll give you tried and true tips for restful sleep and inspire you to create a calming bedtime routine. Check the end of my post to learn how to get my FREE relaxing bedtime sample routine, worksheet PLUS my best tips for a great night’s sleep!
What’s the Big Deal about Sleep Anyway?
I have always been a big fan of sleep since I seem to require a lot of it. I regularly get 8 hours of sleep a night. Some people find that incredible, but there’s an abundance of research about why sleep is important. During sleep:
- your brain forms new pathways of learning*
- your body repairs your heart and blood vessels*
- the brain rids itself of amyloid proteins, the buildup of which is present in Alzheimer’s patients
That last one alone is enough reason to get a good night’s sleep. Check out this article from the *National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to learn more about why sleep is important.
What happens if you routinely don’t get enough sleep? Healthline reports that:
- you may gain weight
- your libido lowers
- your risk of cancer and diabetes increases, among other things
So now that we’ve established that sleep is a good thing, how do we get the 7-9 recommended hours of sleep each night? (For adults aged 25-64)
Tips for Restful Sleep
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends.
- Don’t eat or drink too much before bed.
- The best atmosphere for sleep is a cool dark room.
- Make sure you have a good, comfortable mattress
- Nap in mid-afternoon only, no more than 10-30 minutes
- Be physically active during the day (don’t exercise within 4 hours of bedtime)
- Cut caffeine after early afternoon
- Avoid blue light from screens (TV, computer, e-readers) before bed which affect our circadian rhythms
This article from NestMaven explains exactly how technology ruins your sleep and what you can do about it. Great read. Your teens should read it too!
Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Creating a relaxing bedtime routine tells your body that sleep is coming, priming you for a good night’s rest. Here are things I do to ensure I will be ready for the sandman when my head hits the pillow. Feel free to use my bedtime routine or borrow aspects of it that speak to you. The point is to create a little ritual to wind down your day.
- Review my next day’s schedule and write down any to do’s. I do not want this kind of stuff running around my head in the middle of the night.
- Drink a cup of calming tea (I love Tranquil Dream from Teavana!)
- Spend a few minutes in meditation. My favorite app is Calm, but Headspace is also popular. Play around until you find one whose voice you find soothing. One person’s soothing is another person’s annoying 😉
- Self-Care including my favorite hand lotion Wish by Lollia It’s thick yet not greasy, smells ah-mazing!! and a little goes a long way. I also apply lip balm and cuticle oil. Having these in my bedside table ensures I will take a few seconds each night to take care of myself.
- Read. As in a book. Because of that whole blue light thing. If you’re curious about my favorite books follow me on Goodreads. At this writing I am reading “The Girl Who Wrote in Silk” by Kelli Estes. Based on true events, it highlights a little known chapter in our history.
- Turn on my essential oil diffuser loaded with a calming scent. For many that contains lavendar but my favorite scent is bergamot.
- Turn on my Homedics white noise machine (small/inconspicuous with 12 sounds to choose from)
- Close my eyes and think of at least 3 things I am grateful for that day
And that’s it. This routine doesn’t take long but makes all the difference in the world for how ready I am for my zzzz’s. Restful sleep makes all the difference in your attitude the next day, your productivity and your health.
Do you worry about your children’s sleep? Be sure to check out the “Children’s Sleep Guide” from the Sleep Help Institute.
Remember to grab your relaxing nighttime worksheet and tips!
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