And Other Helpful Tips to Making Your Sleep the Most Restful It Can Be
When it comes to simple health habits with massive long-term consequences, few things can compete with a night of proper sleep. But if you’re anything like me, you know that catching a solid night of zzz’s can sometimes be easier said than done. So I want to share a few quick tips on how to get better, healthier, more productive rest. These aren’t magic tricks,they’re simple steps you can take to boost the incredible power of those eight unconscious hours.
Teas Before Zssss
One easy and delicious way to get some relaxation in pre-bedtime is to brew up some nighttime tea. My favorite is Sleep Remedy from Doc Parsleys. It’s got a blend of stress fighting ingredients that induces relaxation and tends toknock me right out. Best of all, tea engages with multiple senses. Remember that the more senses you can engage as you begin to adopt new nighttime habits, the better your chances of sticking to them.
Write It Down
One particularly helpful exercise for me has been the inclusion of journaling before bedtime. I like to take a few minutes to jot down what happened during the day, anything I feel particularly grateful for, and then write out what the next day’s activities and adventures might hold. Now I know what some of you are probably thinking – wouldn’t writing down what I have to do tomorrow increase my anxiety and stress? As it turns out, when you transferthose to-do lists and anxious thoughts to paper, they no longer have a need to reside up in your head. You’ve created a home for them outside your mind and given them the right type of attention. Worrisome thoughts don’t need to be ignored, merely given the appropriate spaces to live in – and for some of us that space might very well be on the page before bed.
The soft glimmer of phones and TV’s, especially at night, can often signal that the day is done, and relaxation time has begun. The downside, of course, comes in the form of blue light. The greatest source of blue light that we all experience day to day is actually the sun. And while studies have shown that blue light is necessary to maintain proper health, blue light’s relationship to the waking world can have some downsides when it comes to getting ready for the sleeping world. Namely, blue light often signals to our brains that it’s time to be up and active. Not the most conducive of messages when we’re trying to get ready for rest. So, a few suggestions:
-Try to end phone and TV activity about an hour before you head off to bed, to give your brain time to wind down.
-Avoid distressing TV shows or movies before bed, as well as news feeds – all these outlets have a tendency to ramp up stress and make relaxation harder.
-Don a pair of blue-light blocking glasses when watching a screen at night. The ones I use are made by Swanwick and they do an excellent job of keeping blue light from stimulating the parts of my brain that are winding down for the evening.
Going to bed should be the cherry on top of every day. Moreover, the list of benefits from healthy, regular sleep, is ever increasing. That makes finding a routine that works for you all the more important. As you continue to invest in what you eat, how you exercise, and how to build better daily habits, give some more intentional thought to that oh-so-important eight hours a night.
Sleep well. Live well.