8 Tips for Restorative Sleep
Let’s get one thing straight; don’t try to talk to me before I finish ALL of my coffee!
Waking up is a daily struggle for those of us who are consistently short on, or have poor quality, sleep. For this reason I have researched some of the top tricks and tools to garner quality rest at night. As we all know, sleep is essential to our mental and physical health.
There are so many sleep studies that point to the incredible healing and restorative benefits of sleep.
When you live a busy lifestyle, unfortunately decent sleep can become a luxury. Therefore it’s so important to really make the most of the sleep you are able to get.
Here are my top 7 simple hacks and tools you can use to create your ideal sleep routine.
1. LIMIT THE LIGHT
Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland that controls our sleep cycles (aka circadian rhythms). Short-wavelength, “blue”, light effects our brain and suppresses the normal production of melatonin. Blue light is primarily emitted by electronics such as a mobile phone or TV. Even regular electric lamps can have an effect.
Chronic melatonin suppression has a lot of other health consequences such as obesity and heart disease. It’s important to turn off your lights and devices a couple hours before bed to give your brain enough time to produce enough melatonin.
2. COVER YOUR EYES
Ambient light while sleeping can also interfere with a quality snooze. You can use black-out curtains at home and if you’re on-the-go, a sleep-mask will do the trick!
A moulded mask that doesn’t touch the eyelids is much healthier as it is less likely to cause sweating and eye infection.
3. TREAT YOURSELF
Most of us have heard how eating too much before bed can cause frequent waking, but do you know that a small carbohydrate rich snack before bed will actually promote a more peaceful rest?
I like to have apple slices and peanut butter or simply a piece of toast with jam. All you need is something small to stabilize your blood sugar for the night.
I’ve always been a fan of Epson salt baths as the magnesium is absorbed easily through the skin. You can even add lavender essential oil for an even more calming effect.
Magnesium is known to support the nervous system, ease muscle tension, help brain function, and support normal sleep cycles.
5. STOP WORKING
Evidence suggests that continuous exposure to radiofrequency fields like wi-fi can cause headaches, anxiety, fatigue, sleep disorders and lessened melatonin secretion.
Obviously, avoiding wi-fi completely is impossible but you can limit your exposure by unplugging your router before bed and turning your phone on airplane mode.
Not only will this help you sleep more soundly on a cellular level, but your mental state will improve overtime as you give yourself a break from being constantly “plugged-in” and available to others. We need to be able to think and feel deeply on a daily basis without interruption for our mental health, at least for a few minutes.
6. MEDITATE AND BREATHE
Meditation is proven to help many different conditions like chronic pain, anxiety and more. It soothes your nervous system and stops sleep-stealing ruminations in their track.
One study showed that adults who practice mindfulness for at least six weeks report less insomnia, fatigue and improved quality of sleep! Sleep deprivation is associated with many mental health issues, so it’s no surprise that individuals in the study also experienced positive changes in their mood.
I recommend trying Kundalini yoga for weekly maintenance and a short 5-10 min guided meditation before bed. I can almost guarantee that your sleep will drastically improve.
7. TEA & OILS
Romance, romance, romance! Bedtime is time to turn inwards and focus on yourself. Turn the lamps off and light some candles. Sniff some lavender essential oil or another calming sent. Spray a sleep blend on your pillow and serve yourself some hot chamomile tea.
Sometimes those who suffer from insomnia start to associate bedtime with struggle and that is not conducive to a good nights rest! I’m order to stop this negative feedback loop, we need to replace negative bedtime associations with positive ones. Make sure bedtime is a peaceful time that welcomes you. Enjoy!
BONUS TIP! USE A JOURNAL
If you struggle to let go of a stressful day and it keeps you tossing and turning, you must find a way to get your thoughts out into the tangible world! This will help you create a blank slate in your mind until morning.
And don’t let the bedbugs bite!
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