Catching “z’s”, nap time, night nights, or simply that thing that is seeming to evade us all lately, sleep. Sleep?! What’s that? Do you remember a point in your life B.C. (before children), where you felt “so exhausted” or “so tired you could just drop”? I look back and think of what I know now about sleep deprivation and I laugh to myself. Or what I like to call SLBF (sleep life before forty). Thanks a lot hormones! I find that sleep is something I not only need, but also want so desperately and aside from having kids under the age of ten, who keep me up (seriously, someone is always awake), work stress, family stress and general everyday-shit stress keeps me up! One would think I would have all my laundry folded and clean floors, nah I check Facebook and post randomness between 2 and 4 am. I digress. I long for the days when I could fall asleep easily and STAY asleep. Thanks a lot forties! Which leads me to the point of this all, aside from sleep envy. Getting rest is essential to overall health. Good sleep contributes to the regeneration of our cells, restoration of the brain and helps boost our mood. Having a complete sleep cycle every night is important and contributes to our whole body selves! So I offer up some sleep hygiene tips that are useful and easy to follow!
First, get your bedroom in order. Try to de-clutter and clear your sleeping space. Freeing up space makes energy free flow within that space, and it just feels good to clear it out! Your bedroom should be for the three S’s; silence, sleep and sex (did you laugh out loud at that part?). Now I realize it’s a tall order to say no television in your bedroom, as this is a personal choice, however, it is reasonable to monitor your television consumption in the bedroom. Television while we lay in bed getting ready for a sleep cycle can be disruptive and over stimulating, not to mention you can have some pretty crazy dreams! Try to turn of the television! Read a book; listen to some music (there are some great ambient channels on Pandora). Use the time to catch up on your day with your partner or start that amazing book you always wanted to read. I tell my students to just read my required textbook for class when they are tired, works every time.
Second, invest in some amazing sheets. Now, you may be reading this and think, what’s so great about sheets. Well, if you’ve gone over 500-thread count you know what I am talking about! Beautiful linens feel great and you sleep better! Whatever the thread count, make sure you love your linens! It really makes a difference and it just feels good! Additionally, invest in a good mattress! This makes a huge difference in how well we sleep. There are plenty of great retailers out there that offer some great deals on some amazing mattresses!
Third, deep breathing. The breath is the most ignored physical function in our bodies. We take the breath for granted, because, well, it’s always there. How we breathe is essential to rest and calmness. Remember what we tell small children when they are upset? Slow down, just breathe. Well, we need to practice what we preach. Practicing diaphragmatic breathing at bedtime is a great way to connect to our bodies by delivering precious oxygen to our brains to prepare ourselves for the sleep cycle. Some great apps to try on your smartphone or tablet are (free to low cost): Simply Being (guided mediation), Relax Melodies, Insight timer (meditation timer), Relaxing sounds of nature, Relax and Rest (guided mediation) and Bowls, authentic Tibetan signing bowls.
Here is some more sleep tips aside from my top three: (some are easier than others)
¢Get regular exercise (3x/week)
¢Keep bedroom cool
¢Sleep in a comfortable bed
¢Do not drink or smoke excessively before sleep
¢Do not eat too much or too little at night
¢Avoid strong smells
¢Don’t nap after 3 pm (not sure who is doing this, but just in case, lol)
¢Cut back on caffeine
It’s not easy to achieve great sleep (picture that NyQuil commercial in your head right about now), but with small steps and some great tips, you are on your way to sleep success! Sleeping Beauty will have nothing on you!
Learn, Love, Live with Coach Kenna
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