We’re constantly bombarded with messages that in order to be healthy, we need to workout, eat properly, hydrate and prioritize self care. One thing that isn’t mentioned as often, and takes up a massive part of our lives, is SLEEP.
What are your sleep habits like? Do you make sleep a priority? Do you have any sleep-better strategies or techniques?
Sleep seems like it bares little to no importance, because we have no idea wtf is happening while we do it, and we usually don’t remember how those 7-9 hours passed somehow. A 7-9 (…or 10-12) hour DAY can seem like it drags on forevvvvver. But all those hours of sleep? If you’re lucky, you hit the hay, have a restful snooze, and wake up wondering how it could possibly be morning already. (Damn you birds!)
When we don’t get enough sleep, the rest of our healthy efforts can be sabotaged. This is something I ignored for ages and just suffered through as I didn’t think it was a big deal, it was just merely annoying.
I was notorious for taking AGES to finally fall asleep. Seriously. Sometimes hours. S. Plural. Tossing and turning, looking at the clock, trying to get comfortable… all the while my husband snoozing soundly beside me. #Jelly
I won’t go on and on forever about what used to happen to me, I’ll just tell you this: I’ve started to really nail the healthy sleep habits game, I think. I am falling asleep faster, I am waking up (slightly) more refreshed (#notamorningperson), and I feel less tired in general even at the end of a long day. I am working hard to make sleep a priority, and it seems to be paying off.
(Note… all this talk about “healthy sleeping” is basically null and void if you are a new mom, or even have a child under the age of 1. Or over the age of 1. Or any child at all, really. Unless you are one of the lucky few who has a great sleeper. Because while sleep is totes important, children will almost always throw a wrench in your dreamy and idealistic sleep plans. I have an almost-2-year-old, and I’m *usually* able to practice these habits and follow through. Not always; but usually. There are phases and regressions and all that stuff comes and goes. So I thought maybe a #momlife disclosure statement was necessary.)
Here are some of the key players to my roster for becoming a sleep superstar:
1. Regular Sleep and Wake Times
This one is tricky, as sometimes you just want to do #allthethings while you can (especially if you’re a parent and cherish your precious kid-free evening hours). It’s tempting to stay up late just because you can, even though you aren’t really doing anything important. (Or, maybe you are doing a lot of very important stuff? I’ll never know!)
Either way, work to make your “bedtime” the same every night. Also try to make your “wake time” the same every morning. This helps to program your internal clock, which in the long-term, does wonders for your old bod.
I try to get to bed by 10:30pm at the latest. That might be way too early or late for you… the point is to find a time that is realistic and works well with your wake-up time so you get the right amount of hours for you. I need 8. Maybe you need 6. Or 9. Whatever works!
(But like, if you must get up at 6am and you neeeeeeeeeeeduh 11 hours… midnight is not a realistic bedtime. Just sayin’.)
2. No Phones
I know it’s there, even if I’ve never been in your bedroom. Your phone charger is living in an outlet near your night table, isn’t it? Isn’t it!? I KNEW IT!
Besides the fact that we now know looking at the light of your phone disrupts your circadian rhythm and is NO BUENO prior to falling asleep, it’s also just a bit cray cray in general that we would keep these things so permanently attached to ourselves when so little is known about the long-term effects of their usage. (Like, in this study, for example, where students tested the effects of cell phone radiation on plants over time. We’re not plants… but it sparks some interesting insight nonetheless.)
Try moving your charging location to across the room, or even better, in the kitchen or somewhere else. Say “goodnight” to your phone and you’ll see it in the morning. Promise.
Bonus: this allows you to not spend 5-10 (or more?) minutes of time-sucking/wasting energy scrolling your social news feeds every morning. (More about my fav morning efficiency tips later.)
What’s that? Need it as your alarm? OK, GET AN ALARM CLOCK THEN. Remember alarm clocks? You can even wake up to the sounds of your local radio station! OR, an annoying beeping sound! Either way, you can’t lose. It’ll get the job done.
3. Evening Sip
I try really hard to start slowing down when bedtime is approaching, and while my evening usually does include some TV, it also usually includes some crocheting or reading, if possible. Part of this “slowing down” includes having a cup of (decaffeinated) tea, or as of late, a night-time recovery blend that is meant to help increase levels of melatonin and improve your REM sleep quality. It’s naturally flavoured with chamomile and peppermint, and it includes ingredients like zinc and magnesium which are minerals that help improve sleep quality. It also includes specialized protein to assist with muscle recovery while you sleep. Yeah buddy!
If you want to know more information, check out the Canadian-born (and all natural, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free) supplement shop Paleoethics. They have lots of great stuff!
My diffuser goes on every single night. I diffuse lavender and cedarwood oils to assist with my “fall asleep” process and it has seriously changed the way both myself and my husband experience falling asleep. (TBH, though, he didn’t really require assistance here… but he agrees the diffuser makes a difference!)
Using essential oils to support sleep (and everything else) requires consistency, so I have a diffuser that lives on my nightstand (it takes up the old space where my phone used to sleep). Lavender is probably my most used oil because it can be used for so many other things too in addition to sleep quality. Get some. Make sure its the purest and best quality available, though. The last thing you want is something that’s 2% actual lavender oil and 98% fillers and synthetic fragrance. Only the therapeutic-grade oils can affect your body! It’ll probably be a bit more expensive but it’s WORTH IT! Trust.
Well I guess that’s it… but I would really like to know if you practice any other helpful habits that I could benefit from adding to my arsenal? Please comment below if you have any gems!
Now go move your phone charger out of your room.
Thanks for reading,
**Title image courtesy of Pexels.com