In a world of always plugged in, the question of how to rest becomes increasingly more important to answer. With issues such as illness, depression, anxiety, etc., increasing, the need to rest and digest, to relax, and simply to sleep, have become more important than ever.
Just a quick note before you begin – if you are looking for a magic, immediate, instant gratification fix for right this minute then this is probably not the post for you. Adjustments to lifestyle can take a little bit of time! So if you decide to try some of these out, try them out for a least a few nights, maybe even a few weeks, before you give them up and reach for the medicine cabinet. Have patience with yourself and give your body a little time to adjust to new routines!
And please don’t feel the need to try all of these solutions at once! Just pick your favorites and maybe try one or two at a time. That being said, without further ado…
Here are some simple tips you can start today to improve the quality of your sleep:
- Turn off the electronics. That’s right. Shocking. I might as well have just told you to cut off your arm, you say? Well if you do nothing else on this list, try this one first. Noises, lights, etc., can all disrupt our nervous system and keep it in an active, panicked state. The sense of quiet and security can help soothe and settle our nervous system, allowing it to switch off to sleep mode. Re-regulating our nervous system can take time though! So again, be patient with this one!
- Switch your device screen to night mode. If you need to use an iPad or your phone for any reason, switch it to night mode. Night mode adjusts the color spectrum and brightness of your device screen away from the sleep-preventing blue light to warmer colors. Research now suggests that exposure to the blue light spectrum found in our mobile devices and TVs can disrupt the production of melatonin – an important chemical the body produces to create sleep! So stop disrupting your sleep chemicals! I’ve even started switching my screens to the night mode color spectrum all the time now. I’ve found, for whatever reason, I have way fewer headaches this way!
- Use lavender essential oil. Hate lavender oil? Try chamomile essential oil instead. I usually just sprinkle a few drops on my pillow or on the carpet, or you can get a fancy essential oil diffuser and go that route. And hey, it doesn’t hurt to freshen up the smell of your room either! Especially if your husband’s socks are really stinky…But seriously, lavender oil can help with relaxation and inducing sleep.
- Drink hot, herbal tea. While I don’t recommend drinking a whole glass of liquid right before bed (since that might make you have to get up in the middle of the night to pee!) I DO recommend wrapping up your day with a nice herbal concoction about 1-2 hours before bedtime. Consider chamomile tea or Celestial Seasoning’s Sleepytime tea. And drink it hot! The hot tea, combined with the fragrant smells and the properties of the herbs can really help settle and soothe your body into a calmer state.
- Create a consistent sleep routine. If you constantly change the hours you wake up at or sleep during, this can really throw off your body’s internal clock! Our bodies like a certain rhythm for our days. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning.
- If you don’t exercise, then start! You don’t have to do much. You don’t have to start running marathons. But if you don’t exercise, that could be WHY you can’t sleep! Our bodies are not made to sit all day, all evening, lay down all night, then spend time sitting in a car. We need to move, to release any pent up energy, or to boost our mood with endorphins, and exercise can also help calm our minds! Notice the theme here – when our minds and bodies are quiet, it’s MUCH easier to sleep!
- Try meditation. The act of meditating can help calm down our thoughts, improve our ability to relax, and therefore help us to sleep better! The point is not to turn off our thoughts completely, but to learn how to not obsess over our thoughts and keep our minds too busy and frazzled to sleep.
- If you want to read something, read ONE book. That’s right. One book. Not your phone. Not an article with links to other articles that lead to links to other articles. Not anything online that can trap us into an ever-spiraling-out-of-control rabbit hole to another world of thoughts and awake-ness. Read something printed in your hands, or turn off your wifi and data so you can ONLY read your online book and NOT surf the internet. Too often we get caught opening tab after tab and hours slip by without our notice! Hours during which we could’ve been sleeping! Keep your book light and easy, nothing too complicated or intense or thought-provoking. Literally just some light bedtime reading.
Try some of these tips out and let me know what you think! What did you find helpful? Is there anything else you’d like to add to this list? Leave me a comment below and let me know!