Sleep, the struggle is real
As I ease into the next chapter of life, I realize how essential sleep is for healing, hormone function and problem solving. Missing just one night of ideal sleep (7.5-8 hours) results in brain fog, cravings and some seriously bad decisions. If I slip into a second night of bad quality sleep, I'm guaranteed to feel ill — let the shivering and flu-like symptoms begin. Once I started my education as Health Coach, I became intensely interested in exactly how lack of sleep influences our lives.
On a medical note, it's important to be aware that lack of sleep can translate into:
- Weight gain/Insulin resistance
- Crappy mood
- Poor skin quality/elasticity
- Brain fog
- Lack of libido
- Compromised immune system
- Long-term health issues - for example, Alzheimer's (fascinating TED talk below)
But sadly that's not all, poor quality sleep can perpetuate a lack of overall energy and stamina. In fact, lack of sleep can keep us stuck in a life, career or relationship that doesn't serve us anymore. This is where routine and self care comes in, if you don't have a great ritual or a comfy space I suggest you try some of the items below to help break your current habits.
Some ideas to tempt you into creating good sleep habits
1. bedding and Mattress
It's not about being a fancy or creating a luxurious space. Soft bedding can help us relax and disconnect from our busy lives. Consider how long it's been since you've replaced your mattress, pillows, and bedding. It's worth the investment to upgrade. I'm personally in love with the All-Around Australian Wool Pillow from Bed Bath and Beyond and the PB sheets from Potter Barn. A simple change like soft sheets can make a big difference — the PB sheets helped to make my mattress feel even more comfy.
When you're travelling or in anxious state, supplements can be helpful for a short period of time. Often magnesium can help soothe muscles and induce sleep. However, when I do need something that will ensure a deeper rest, I reach for Super Sleep from Webber Naturals. It's got an impressive combination of relaxing herbs paired with 5 mg of melatonin. Personally, I can usually fall into a deep sleep within twenty to thirty minutes with one dose. One important note, make sure to cycle this supplement or any melatonin based supplement — we produce melatonin naturally, so you don't want to become reliant long-term.
This is the most boring podcast you've ever heard! Drew Ackerman, the host, drones on and on about absolutely nothing! It's genius :) Try it out, it could work for you. If this isn't your type of thing, you could try a TED talk or Freakonomics. Either way, I suggest you invest in some wireless headphones so you can place your phone in a drawer and let yourself tune out without the distraction of the light from the screen.
4. Aromatherapy and lighting
Nightlights, not just for children anymore! We now know that colors influence your mood, it's a proven fact. You can choose a basic plugin that emits a variety of soft colors or upgrade to one that projects patterns and colors on your ceiling.
If a scent is more your thing, try a diffuser with essential oils. Make sure to invest in one that cleans up easily since they do collect dust and other allergens if they aren't tended to regularly.
5. bathing Ritutal
Taking a bath or shower before bed allows us to disconnect from the TV or other media. Making a routine with your favorite products (think masks and epsome salts) and candles can help to further the experience. It's not about jumping in and out; it's about taking your time and letting yourself wind down from the day. This ritual also helps to takes the pressure off getting up early enough to take a shower in the AM.
6. Help with anxiety
Tuning into Insight Timer (this one is totally FREE) or any other meditation app can help a lot. It's about exploring and finding a guided meditation that works for you. If you feel this is way beyond what you can do, I suggest seeking help from a pro that can direct you professionally.
If all else fails, remember that when you get less than seven hours of sleep, you are operating as if you are legally dunk! Don't fool yourself, more is more in this case.