Every aspect of our mental, emotional, and physical health is affected by the quality of sleep we get each night. Proper sleep is essential to deep healing, vitality, and life force. Modern times demand us to be clear, motivated, and well rested to complete a multitude of tasks each day. This requires almost constant energy output, and most of us find slowing down to be quite challenging.
Creating an environment and routine that supports deep relaxation and fully restorative sleep is a key component of feeling & looking our best. It’s also imperative for increasing our immunity, decreasing overall inflammation, and supporting our long-term health.
Use the following tips to support deep sleep
::: Create a supportive sleep environment Remove all electronics from the bedroom. If you need an alarm, use one that is battery operated, but if you can’t leave your smartphone, make sure to put it on do not disturb mode. Keep room temp between 60-67 degrees as it helps to regulate body temperature throughout the night. Use a fan or white noise to block out sounds and simulate the womb; this offers a deep sense of safety and comfort to the unconscious mind. I love to use Spotify playlists of ASMR rain sounds. Clean the air and soften the lighting with a Himalayan salt lamp. Keeping the room as dark as possible enhances melatonin production. If need be, use a sleep mask to block out the light.
::: Set a sleep schedule We get the most beneficial hormonal secretions and recovery by sleeping during the hours of 10pm to 2am. If you’re sleeping from 1am to 9am and getting eight hours of sleep, you are still missing that prime time when beneficial hormonal secretions like melatonin and HGH (human growth hormone) are at their peak. Clocking a solid 8 hours (from 9-6, 10-6 or 11-7) always feels best for me, but see what works best for you! Shoot for the same time every night, so your body gets into a routine. The goal is to wake up feeling refreshed and energized before your alarm clock goes off.
::: Limit your caffeine intake Caffeine is highly stimulating to the nervous system and overconsumption increases cortisol and adrenaline production. Do your best to consume any caffeine in the morning, before noon is best and never later than 2pm! This will give your body ample time to metabolize and fully detox the caffeine from your system.
::: Move your body Regular exercise lengthens and deepens sleep. Our ancestors spent most of the day moving and slept when the sun went down. Movement is necessary for connecting our body to the natural rhythm of nature and aligning with our internal circadian rhythm. Be sure to workout 2 hours before bed as movement generally spikes adrenalin and cortisol.
::: Incorporate magnesium-rich foods Magnesium is the anti-stress mineral. It helps to balance blood sugar, optimizes circulation & blood pressure, relaxes tense muscles, reduces pain, and calms the nervous system. By incorporating more magnesium-rich foods into your diets, such as dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, spirulina, and brazil nuts, you instantly reduce internal stress and improve your quality of sleep.
::: Avoid screens before bed Artificial blue light emitting from your electronic screen triggers your body to produce more daytime hormones (like cortisol) and disorients your body’s natural preparation for sleep. Programs like Iris are fantastic ways to protect yourself from too much screen time. To get your body into a deep state of relaxation, shut down all electronics 60 mins – 2 hours before you hit the hay. Allow your mind and body to shift from work mode to sleep mode. This will improve your sleep quality almost immediately. If you have trouble doing this, try turning off your notifications. This is a simple way to detach yourself from your tech device.
::: Relax with a bedtime ritual Slow down with a bedtime routine that promotes deep relaxation. Take a hot bath with lavender essential oil & magnesium bath salts. Sip on a warm cup of chamomile tea. Take a pump or two of CBD. Incorporate some slow stretches to relax your muscles. Listen to calming music, meditate or use hypnotherapy to release your mind from its stressed cycles of endless thought. Practice deep breathing to soothe the nervous system and prepare your body for a deep slumber.
::: Give thanks Part of the reason people have anxiety and trouble sleeping is a fixation on the things they haven’t done or what they don’t have. Take a few rounds of deep breaths to center yourself and reflect on the day. Think of all that you have to be grateful for in your life right now & write or recite 5 things. Drawing your awareness to a sense of gratitude before bed sets the tone for a peaceful rest.
::: Use calming scents Aromatherapy oils like chamomile, juniper, lavender, marjoram, rose, and sandalwood all have sedative effects when inhaled. Rub a little bit on the insides of your wrists, on your temples or on the bottoms of your feet and allow the scents to carry you off to sleep.