Make a Sleep Plan
Sleep health seems to be the topic of the week with my clients. I thought it would be helpful to share what I suggest to others and use myself.
Sleep is a basic necessity for ongoing health and vitality. It is critical to our overall well-being. Your temperature, heart rate, and brain activity all change during sleep. Your cells synthesize proteins, tissues repair themselves, and hormones are released. A great deal of research shows how necessary sleep is for the brain to process and organize information captured during the day. It is important to support all these physiological processes while you are sleeping.
Everyone has different needs as far as the amount of sleep. One of the best ways to determine if you are getting enough sleep is to check in on how you feel when you wake in the morning. If you feel refreshed, then you are on the right track with the amount of sleep that you are getting. When you feel cranky and have difficulty focusing, this is a sign that your sleep needs have not been met.
Here is my suggested routine for good sleep hygiene:
1. Go to bed at the same time each night (I start moving in the direction of bed at 8 pm with my goal of lights out at 9 pm)
2. Take a warm bath with Epsom salt about an hour before your desired lights-out time.
3. Read something light. Avoid electronics.
4. Employ meditation and breathwork:
I suggest the 4-7-8 breathing technique: breath in for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. This breathing pattern promotes sleep by reducing anxiety and increasing relaxation.
5. Play some relaxing music
6. Sleep in a cool room (60-65 degrees).
7. Stick to the same routine each night.
If you wake and find it difficult to fall back asleep:
1. Have a warm drink. Herbal teas are great. I use Sleepytime by Celestial Seasonings and Nighty Nighty by Traditional Medicinals
2. Try a glass of warm water with a magnesium supplement. I use Calm magnesium powder.
Other practices that will contribute to more restful nights:
1. Stop using electronics a couple of hours before bed.
2. Get some exercise each day.
3. Make sure your mattress and pillow are comfortable.
4. Try weighted blankets.
5. Wear your favorite pajamas!
6. Try Bach flower remedies – lavender and roman chamomile are both great sleep promoters.