Secrets to More Restful Sleep
I’m excited to share with you my personal lifestyle tips for a truly soothing bedtime routine!
My top secret: CONSISTENCY!!
We all need good rest at night so we can be at our best during the day.
So here is what I do…
Disclaimer: The following article is for educational purposes only and not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, illness or injured condition of the body. It is in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling. Anyone with a disease, illness, injury or medical condition should consult a qualified health care professional.
Sleep is essential for a person’s physical and emotional health and wellbeing.
For example, sleep is involved in healing and repair of the heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
REM sleep, when dreaming occurs, is essential to our minds for processing and consolidating emotions, memories and stress. It is also thought to be vital for learning, stimulating the brain regions used in learning and developing new skills.
How do I support more restful sleep? Here are my lifestyle tips for a truly soothing bedtime routine:
- I avoid light sources such as cell phone, ipad, tablet, computer, TV at least one hour before bedtime; I do not keep cell phone, ipad, tablet, or computer in your bedroom at night;
- I avoid laying in bed “planning” my next day, I try to sit down at least an hour before bedtime and write down tasks, appointments, reminders, and thoughts about my next day, freeing up my mind when going to bed;
- sometimes I take a relaxing bath with 4 drops of soothing essential oil such as Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Frankincense, Ylang Ylang or a blend called Serenity; best is to add the drops of essential oil to 1 oz of pink Himalyan salt or dead sea salt first, then empty the salts into the running water; when I don’t feel like a bath, I make a relaxing foot soak with the salts and oils instead;
- then right before going to to bed, I apply 1 drop of Serenity Essential Oil Blend to the back of my neck and traps (that’s where we carry so much tension and stress), under the sole of my foot, to the inside of my wrists and rub them together;
- when I have a lot on my mind and I have a hard time “calming” my thoughts, I’ll apply a drop of Vetiver under the sole of my foot and onto the inside of my wrist and rub my wrists together;
- I will also add 2-4 drops of a calming essential oil (or oils) to my diffuser such as the Serenity blend or Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Copaiba, Cedarwood, Spikenard, or Vetiver; if you do not have a diffuser you can add 1-2 drops to a cotton ball and place it next to your pillow (scent stays on cotton balls for up to 24 hours) or create a mister with soothing essential oils and spray your pillow;
- once I lay in bed, I practice diaphragmatic breathing (breathing into my belly, raising the belly and counting to four, holding my breath counting to four, breathing out counting to four) – I will repeat 3-5 times then breathe normally; then I’ll repeat the cycle for a minimum of 5 minutes;
- after my soothing breathing routine I will focus on the crown of my head and let go any tension I might be feeling there, then I’ll walk down focusing on back of my head and face, again letting go of any tension especially in the jaw and back of my neck, I try to completely relax and work my way down my body, from my shoulders, you upper back to my lower back, from my chest to my belly, down to the legs, feet and toes, focusing on each body part, relaxing any tension I may hold in those areas;
- when I go through phases where I have trouble waking up during the night and not being able to fall back asleep, I make sure my diffuser runs all night; I’ll reapply my soothing oils to my wrists and over my heart area; I’ll repeat my breathing routine and try not to get up (hence I keep my oils on my nightstand always!)
- I try to make my bed an “island” or “oasis” of relaxation and peace; I avoid “planning” my day ahead when laying in bed; sometimes I play relaxing music or water sounds which turn off automatically; I will think of at least one thing that I’m grateful for not matter how difficult my day might have been and try to make that my last thoughts before drifting off;
- I work on reducing feelings of stress during the day as I know that stress has a great impact on how we sleep at night (see my program “The ABCs of Stress Management & Living Well“)
Essential Tip: It takes 21 days for the body to adapt to a new sleep rhythm.
Developing a CONSISTENT routine every night can make all the difference!
Here some Additional Thoughts on Waking Up During the Night
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, our internal organs work to a 24 hour ‘clock’, with certain times of day being peak times for that organ. Chinese medicine believes that his is the time that the organ will carry out its most essential functions.
The schedule is as follows:
Large intestine: 5am-7am
Small Intestines: 1pm-3pm
Endocrine system/pancreas: 9pm-11pm
Gallbladder: 11pm -1am
Liver: 1am-3am (also 2am-4am)
In Chinese medicine, any repeated issues that occur at a particular time of the day suggest a possible imbalance in the corresponding organ. For example, if we often feel excessively tired at around 6pm this could be an indication that the kidney function is not in balance.
As you can see from this schedule, 1-3am is ‘liver time’. One thing the liver needs to carry out it’s restorative function is energy, and for that it uses glycogen from the body’s sugar stores. The problem is that adrenaline production also uses up glycogen, and adrenaline is what we produce when we are stressed and when our blood sugar levels are unstable.
So if we spend the whole day stressed and with your blood sugar levels going up and down by the time it gets to 1am, there will not be enough glycogen left for the liver to carry out it’s regenerative functions. In this scenario, the body has to produce adrenaline as the energy source to compensate – and as adrenaline is designed to keep us awake, we will wake up and have a hard time going back to sleep.
So, if Chinese Medicine is correct, reducing stress is key to a good night’s sleep!
Hope my lifestyle tips for a soothing bedtime routine may prove helpful to you to get better rest at night, wake up refreshed in the morning, and have the energy you need for your day ahead!
Sending Wellness and Peace Your Way thank you for reading!
Please reach out to me with any questions or if like to try any of my essential oils.