Sleeping. Sometimes we wish we didn’t have to live with it, and we definitely can’t live without it. Typically I really enjoy the moment when my head hits the pillow in the evening. But there has been many times I’ve wished so badly I didn’t need sleep in order to function. Whether it was cramming for a test or having the night of my life and wishing it would never end… all of it ended in sleep and always will.
Take Back Your Energy
I know that you can relate. No matter if your sleep is perfect or if it is screwy, we can all relate to the woes of sleep on some level. Most often, it isn’t the lack of sleep that gets us down but it is the lack of energy that comes with it. Sometimes it can seem like no matter how much you sleep, you will still feel tired. But what if I told you that you have the power to change it, would you give it a try? You deserve to feel rested and energized; and now is time to take your energy back!
Respect Your Body
The first step in re-energizing ourselves is to begin showing respect to our bodily shells. Our bodies are literally the house for our souls. And our souls are the metaphysical entities that have important things to get done on this planet. Imagine being given a roadmap for the adventure of a lifetime but then being handed the keys to the junkiest car you’ve ever seen. The two just don’t go together. Living our dreams can feel impossible if our bodies aren’t maintained respectfully. Begin noticing what your body takes in each day and noticing the control you have over that.
Fuel-Up For Sleep
Our bodies need maintenance, self-care, and nourishing fuel to thrive. These are all ways of showing respect. These simple duties are the first steps to getting yummy sleep. Swap out the junky packaged foods for apples, bananas, dates, hummus, guac – whole, plant foods. These foods provide an anti-inflammatory response in our bodies. Because these foods are simple to breakdown our bodies get a chance to relax and quit working so hard. Though the junk food is something we have the choice of taking in, but our bodies don’t see it as fuel. Our bodies have to figure out what to do with the strange ingredients that make up these food-like substances. With plant foods, our bodies can spend less time on digesting and more time regulating our hormones, which are vital for a good night’s rest.
Routine Is Key
Next, stick to a routine. The best time of night for our bodies to rest and repair, according to Anthony Williams, is between 10pm and 2am. The natural circadian rhythm of the human body signals us to go to bed by this time as well. Have you ever noticed having heavy eyelids around 9:30pm but then get a second wind around 11:00pm? Then staying up until 2:30am watching tv becomes so easy! This has happened to me numerous times and I always know that it is because I didn’t respect that 10pm-2am time-frame.
Your Bed Is For Bed
Third, keep your bed just for sleeping… and make it as cozy as possible! This is a tip that gets passed around a lot. But when we let our beds become our desks, our couches, our tv rooms we create a habits in our mind. These habits crowd out the message that says “Hey, it is time for bed” at 9:30pm, when you walk into your bedroom to turn down the sheets. Make your bedroom & bed sacred. Buy cozy, soft, organic sheets. Add an essential oil diffuser. Bring your salt lamp onto the nightstand for low-light reading before catching your z’s. Make it a place you could really see yourself getting the best night’s sleep ever.
Cut The Caff.
Fourth, reduce/eliminate caffeine! We are so so addicted to caffeine. I will never forget the public radio story I heard about college students drinking caffeine. It basically explained that the latest someone can drink caffeine and expect it to be out of their bloodstream by midnight, is 2:00pm. 2PM!! So if we are trying to go to bed by 10pm that means we need to cut the caff at noon. And that doesn’t mean switch to decaf at noon, it means no more caffeine. Caffeine (no matter how immune you think you may be) interrupts our sleep cycles because of the amount of adrenaline it encourages our bodies to produce. It also drastically dehydrates our circulatory system. Both make it much harder for us to get a restful sleep.
A few supplements that can help people sleep a little better are magnesium and melatonin. All of us are deficient in magnesium, something that offers our nervous systems support and relaxation. It can help release tension and ease the mind. This sense of calm will help aiding in a peaceful sleep. Melatonin has gotten a bad rap over the years. It has been labeled as habit forming and has funny side-effects, but it is actually the opposite. We produce our own melatonin but may be off balance due to the lights in our homes and blue light on our screens. An over-the-couner synthetic version could be just the trick to getting back on rhythm when taken before bed. Of course, speak to your doctor before adding these supplements in especially if you are taking a daily medication(s).
Key Foods For Sleep
*Foods that promote a good night’s sleep:
- Leafy Greens
- Lemon Balm Tea
- Lemons & Limes
- Licorice Root
- Raw Honey
- Sweet Potatoes
Hit The Lights
Next, turn all-night light sources from the bedroom. The means televisions, glowing screens, router lights, night lights, outside lights, all of it. The smallest glow can signal to your brain that it is morning and throw your system off. This might mean taping over tiny accessory lights, charging your phone in the kitchen, turning off tv’s, and getting curtains. Even if you are use to some of these types of lights being on, it is time to take the next step and turn them off. Your body will finally get a chance in making up on some of that lost sleep!
Lastly, remember that we are all cyclical. Our bodies are on a pattern no matter if we are conscious about it or not. Different times of the month may bring more restlessness than others. The same goes for different times of life. Keep trying to implement these sleep rituals and eventually your body will readjust. If the first night doesn’t go well, it is okay to try and try again. True wholesome change takes time and there is no better time to begin than tonight. Sweet dreams!
Additional Note: I have seen time and time again, my clients struggling with sleep. After learning this, I give them a homework goal for the week to stop using screens/electronics one to two hours before bed. Then, magically, the next week they report the best sleep they have gotten in months. Electronics before REAL problem that we need to take seriously and practice discipline with. Please, unplug before bed. Try reading a book or solving a sudoku puzzle instead of scrolling Instagram and see your sleep improve quickly and drastically!
*Suggestions based off of information from Anthony Williams