5 Tips to Improve Your Sleep

IMG_4295

I know I don’t need to mention how important sleep is for everyone – yet so often it becomes the #1 thing we neglect in our day to day life.  Sleep is needed for rest, recovery, leveling hormones, improving circulation, aiding in healing – I mean…really the list could go on and on.  So to help you recommit to your sleep routine, I’m sharing my 5 favorite tips that will have you drifting off to dreamland a little smoother every evening.  Ready to learn more?

1. Essential Oils

IMG_4296

I’m planning to do a deeper dive into essential oils and their benefits soon; however, in the meantime, let me just say, if you’ve been toying with the idea of trying out essential oils – do.  You won’t regret it.

I utilize my oil diffuser whenever I’m needing a little extra assistance getting zen.  I have found a few favorite blends via Saje, but don’t be afraid to make your own.  If you do choose to make your own, just be sure to buy oils that are pure and not mixed with any other fillers.  Those fillers may result in a cheeper price tag, but will ultimately work against your diffuser and turn it into a goopy mess. #yuck

I turn on my diffuser about 15-30 minutes before turning out my lights, and it is damn near a Pavlov’s Dog experience.  When my diffuser kicks in, the scent fills the air, and my eyelids immediately begin to droop.  I never kick out faster than when I have my diffuser working for me.

2. Black Out Curtains or Mask

I’ve lived the last 10+ years of my life in two of the busiest cities in the world.  Having black out curtains or a sleeping mask is a non-negotiable for me.

If there is any light streaming into my bedroom, my brain is triggered into thinking it’s daytime will continuously struggle to drift off into a deep sleep.  Investing in quality curtains and mask has been a total game changer in regards to getting my ZZZs every night.

3. Herbal Tea

flower-3343892_1920

If I find I’m having a particularly challenging time winding down for bed, I will bring a cup of tea into my routine.  Be careful not to brew anything with caffeine because obviously that works against our primary goal.  Instead, turn to a calming, herbal blend of chamomile or peppermint and let the warm cup of goodness center and ground you from within.

Slowing down over a warm beverage is always a great time to meditate, clear your mind, or gather yourself.  Before bed, it can provide the perfect opportunity to organize the thoughts floating around your head.  Let the warm liquid soothe your mind and aid your aching muscles.  You’ll be curling up and counting sheep in no time.

4. Turn Off Your Screens

iphone-410324_1920

I’m sure this is the tip that no one actually wants to own, but the truth of the matter is your late night Instagram scrolling or Facebook stalking is arguably the #1 reason you find yourself tossing and turning at night.

For one, studies have shown that the blue light emitting from our screens tricks our brains into thinking it’s morning.  At the point of the day when you should be unplugging the most, you are stimulating your eyes and mind with imagery that makes it nearly impossible.  Also, I don’t know about you, but the things I browse late at night rarely send me to bed with happy, positive thoughts.  Those after-hours scrolling sessions are always when I fall into the trap of stalking an ex’s profile or playing hardball on the game of envy.

If that pattern holds true for you too, aim to do what I do and set a curfew for your phones, tablets, and televisions.  I usually turn off my devices 1 full hour before actually turning out my lights and drifting off to dreamland.  What can you do without your phone?  You could read a book, meditate, journal, do light yoga or breathing exercises… Really the decision is up to you as long as you remain screen free and the activity is aimed towards helping you wind down.

5. Be Consistent with Your Bed Time

time-371226_1920

This one may seem silly, but when I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, rebuilding my circadian rhythm made a huge difference in correcting my stress and sleep patterns.

Prior to diagnosis, I was sleeping inconsistently.  Some nights I’d crash for 10 hours, other nights I’d only get 3-4, and my bedtime always fell all over the map.  Some nights I’d be up until 4AM, other nights I’d be passed out by 9PM.  The point is, it left my body bewildered and confused.

So to aid my failing immune system and to begin bringing down my body’s inflammation, I went full grandma status.  I set my bedtime at 10pm and stuck to it for nearly a full year.  In addition to that, I turned down any and all appointments that wouldn’t have granted me a full 8 hours each night.

Now, you by no means need to go that extreme – I only did because I had to work fast in order to help heal my body.  Still, having a consistent “to bed” time will build a natural rhythm within your body that will have you naturally waking up before your alarm.  Isn’t it incredible what you can train your body to do??

Bonus: If all else fails, try magnesium

Now, I admit I’m hesitant to recommend this because magnesium tends to be one of those supplements that people overdo.  It’s easy to assume that if a little is good, than a lot is great.  In truth, it is possible to overdose on magnesium, and while it won’t make you super sick or physically harm you – your body can build up a tolerance to it, making it ineffective.

I actually recommend using magnesium via a topical cream vs a pill.  There are some amazing lotions featuring the supplement available via Amazon and they work wonders when you need them.  If you find you’re having trouble sleeping, massage a quarter sized amount into spots known for fast absorption/trigger points for relaxation.  The balls/arches of your feet are always an excellent place to start, as are the base of your palms, upper shoulders, or temples.  Rub the lotion gently into those spots and allow it to work it’s magic.  I bet you’re snoring in dreamland before you know it.

Do you have any favorite bedtime tips that I didn’t mention here?  Be sure to comment below with what helps you achieve those extra Zzzs.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s