Sleep — we all need it, most of us love it, and many of us don’t get enough of it. Sleep is arguably one of the most important yet underrated modifiable factors that impact our health and wellness. This theory can be tested scientifically on a short or long-term basis but, without getting too in depth, I want you to think about how you feel when you don’t get a good night’s sleep. Now, think about how you (would) feel or how your health could be impacted in the long run if you’re in a chronic state of not achieving a healthy sleep pattern… A sleep routine can greatly affect our quality and quantity of sleep and (bonus!) it takes very little to create a sleep routine.
There are various studied associations between sleep and its impact on our health. Some areas that are impacted include cortisol and stress, recovery, weight management, and our general mental and physical health. Lack of sleep and irregular sleep patterns increase our stress hormones and are one of the biggest issues to address for stress management. The goal is to try to aim for 7-9 hours per night of restful sleep — prioritize this someway, somehow. Because sleep is so important, it’s emphasized in The Cultural Shift Method, in the Stress Management Workshop.
To provide some insight into this topic, I’ve put together a quick list of tips and tricks on where to start when you’re looking to incorporate a healthy sleep routine. Bonus: I even added a section where you (followers) shared your favorite bedtime rituals that get you ready for a night’s sleep. Hope you enjoy, in health!
Create Your Sleep Routine
Your guide to creating a sleep routine and improving sleep patterns starts here:
1). Routine: creating a habitual routine as much as you can, to tell your body that it’s time to get ready for sleep — from shutting work or the TV off at a specific time to instituting a typical bedtime. Remove objects of stress or ones that aren’t associated with the bedroom. Whether it’s decluttering, making your bed, or separating work from personal life (lots of work from home for many of us, and removing any signs of work from the bedroom for an ounce of separation is important), these are a simple tips that can help with winding down and easing your thought process. Consistency is key for healthy sleep patterns.
2). Get Ready for Tomorrow: If you’re one to be thinking of what you should be doing, set your morning (and sleep patterns) up for success by prepping for the next day. Pick out your clothes, make your lunch, etc.
3). Brain Dump: it’s hard to sleep if you’re constantly worried or thinking about too much. Keeping a journal by your bedside or creating a nightly routine can be helpful to improve your mindset and release these thoughts and put them to bed.
4). Meditation: calming the mind, being present, preparing the body and mind for sleep. Other benefits of meditation include improving focus, emotional health, and general mindset.
5). Heat: hot bath, shower, sauna, or warm beverage to turn on the relaxation response.
6). Essential Oils: Using aromatherapy to create a calming state — either diffused, applied topically, inhaled, or sprayed on your pillowcase (please see FDA guidelines for standards and read labels to choose the best ones for you).
- Some examples of calming and relaxing oils include lavender, lemongrass, chamomile, bergamot, cedarwood, Ylang Ylang, Frankincense, jasmine, and more.
- Using aromatherapy with heat packs (filled with rice or seeds) on shoulder, neck or back; even stomach for potential calming effect.
7). Screen time: decreasing use of computers, cell, and electronic use at night due to blue light (keeps us up and alert). If using electronics close to bedtime, you can incorporate blue light blocking glasses, but be sure to check out ones that block out all blue wavelengths (color of lens will be orange or yellow to be fully blocking all blue light vs. clear, which doesn’t fully block).
8). White noise apps: soothing sounds to fall asleep to (ex: rain drops, ocean waves, overhead fan etc..)
9). Natural supplements associated with sleep, relaxation, and or stress relief (ex: adaptogens), such as magnesium, melatonin, ashwaghanda, CBD oil, and more. *Please consult a health care professional before incorporating into your routine.
In addition to the tips presented, there are a few extras that members of my Instagram audience shared when we connected over this topic. Some sleep routine secrets from followers (some of you!) include:
- Temperature control (cooler temps in your room at night from AC or a fan)
- Slow body movement such as night time stretching or yoga;
- Light control (dim lights; eye masks, or blackout shades to block light)
- Personal preference of acts that allow you to wind down — listening to a podcast, reading a book, and even watching a TV show.
That’s my list that has been helpful for creating a sleep routine that sticks. My hope is that they’re helpful for you to create your own bedtime routine and healthy sleep patterns. If you have any tips to add in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.