We all know that sleep is super important, but a good reminder, especially in times of stress, can be helpful.
Sleep affects your mind, body, and spirit- as any new parent or exam cramming college student could likely tell you! Getting enough sleep aids in mental clarity, memory, and even regulates our hunger hormones (ghrelin and leptin). Without enough sleep, our ghrelin, or hunger hormone rises, and leptin, our satiety hormone falls, so we are hungry and less satisfied at baseline. One of the main functions of sleep is to allow the body to rest and recover, which is important for physical well being, but also our mental health. As a bonus, good sleep helps us turn those short term memories into long term memories.
So, where do we start?!
How to get more sleep:
- Set up a bedtime routine. Put on some relaxing music or read a book. The key is keeping it the same each night so your mind can start to prepare for sleep as soon as you hear the music. Dedicate a candle or even essential oil (my favorite is Lavender or Peace and Calming) to your bedtime routine. Since smell is closely associated with memory, a smell can trigger your sleep routine and help you be consistent. Put on actual pajamas. This falls into the routine category, too. Pajamas are a physical reminder that you are preparing to go to bed soon. This shouldn’t be exercise clothes or workout shorts. Try not to change into them until about 30 minutes before bed. Go ahead and take your multivitamin with a glass of water! I like the Best Nest Mama Bird vitamin and usually get it off Amazon.
- Turn off all blue light 30 minutes before bed. Lights from television, phones, and other forms of technology signal our brain to stay awake and actively involved. Turning them off before bed, helps your brain transition into sleep mode.
- Try not to eat about 3 hours before bedtime. When we are sleeping, our bodies main job is to recover and rest. Eating right before bed means our bodies are now working to digest food and don’t get into rest mode as well. For a night cap, I like to make a cup of hot lemon water and add in this Natural Vitality Calm Magnesium powder.
- Exercise. Sure, we are tired, but that is largely mental exhaustion from daily work and interactions. To really sleep well, we need to be physically exhausted too! Have you ever been on a vacation like Disney or toured a European city and noticed how quickly you fell asleep each night? That’s because your body got the needed daily activity to actually be tired. Aim for 30 minutes every day and start with any activity you can. The key is consistency.
- Keep a notepad next to your bed. Jot down ideas that come into your mind and tend to keep you awake. Put anything you need to accomplish tomorrow on that list instead of trying to remember it all night. Write down a bible verse and repeat it in your mind over and over again. When any other thought comes into your mind, replace it with that verse or saying.
Finally, try this alarm clock. It's designed to mimic natural sunrise to help you wake up more gently and feel more energized when you do! You can adjust the brightness to your liking. The "sun" begins to rise 30 minutes before your alarm is set making it easier to rise and shine on time!
There are so many reasons you could be having trouble sleeping and it’s a good idea to talk with your healthcare team. If you are ready to work on your own habits, these 5 steps can be a great place to start!