Sleep hygiene – really – that’s a thing?
I’ve always been an amazing sleeper and loved to get 9+ hours a night… and then I hit 40. Now, it is tough and I have to prioritize getting to bed so that I don’t wreck tomorrow. There is usually one night each month (hormonal much?), where I’m up until the wee hours and that one night wrecks my whole week.
We wanted to write this post so that WE have a reminder of what to do and what not to do to get amazing shut eye.
Your body needs 7+ hours of sleep every night. That is the time that your brain takes to reboot itself. Your mind basically empties the recycle bin, archives memories and organizes things for the next day. You need this sleep time to mentally function optimally.
The first thing to consider when getting proper rest is how you wake up in the morning. Do you hit snooze or do you pop out of bed? It is important to get up and out of bed when your alarm goes off. Scientifically, hitting the snooze button is a huge mistake. In her book, The 5 Second Rule, Mel Robbins explains why snoozing is a horrible habit to develop.
“We sleep in cycles that take about 90 to 110 minutes to complete. About two hours before you wake up, these sleep cycles end and your body starts to slowly prepare to wake up. When our alarm rings, your body is in wakeup mode. If you hit the snooze button and drift back to sleep, you force your brain to start a new sleep cycle that is 90 to 110 minutes long.”
When your alarm goes off again 9 minutes later, you jolt your body out of a sleep cycle and you will be way more tired for several hours because of it.
Helpful things to do during the day to sync your body’s circadian rhythms include:
Exercise – preferably earlier in the day – if it's too close to bedtime, you boost your cortisol
Get some sunshine and natural light
Lay off the caffeine in the afternoon – or altogether
Be sure that you are getting enough magnesium in your diet
Ideas to help you relax in the evening as you prepare for sleep:
Take a bath with Epsom salt to boost magnesium
Reduce your use of electronics to reduce stimulation as a progress – stop working at 6, no internet at 7, no phone at 8, no tv at 9, lights out at 10
Plug in your phone outside of your bedroom – you will still hear it
Keep your bedroom sacred – no electronics allowed – only used for sleep and sex
Black out drapes and cool temperatures help your body adjust to staying asleep
Eye mask and ear plugs are amazing to keep out distractions
Create a ritual before bed – maybe you have a cup of tea, then read for 20 minutes
Try CBD oil (more info on that to come – but do some googling now)
Be careful with sleep aids – they override your natural sleep cycles and are not for long term use. Even melatonin should be used sparingly, if at all. Once your body gets the 'drift' that you will supplement, it stops making it on its own. Don’t cause yourself more problems down the road.
The mattress that you sleep on is also important. Look for one that is firm enough to support you all night, is cooling and organic is best to reduce chemical off gassing – look for another post on mattress selection coming in the future.
For now, lay off the late night Netflix binges – those shows will be there tomorrow. We promise.
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