Sleep is vital for us to function properly. When we fall into patterns and cycles of bad sleep, we become less focused, less connected, less inspired, less motivated, etc. It’s important to nourish ourselves with rest and create healthy sleeping patterns as much as possible. Lack of sleep can lead to poor food choices, poor eating habits, compromise our digestion, and cause nutrient deficiencies. When we go about our day on little sleep, it’s easy to become stressed, anxious, and irritable. In addition, it throws our hormone levels off which causes some major imbalances in the body. We’ve all been through periods of time when our sleep gets compromised, myself included! It doesn’t feel good, and a lot of people become so used to it that it begins to be a norm (which is also not good). One of the best ways to start getting your sleep back on track is by creating evening regimes that can help you unwind.
The optimal hours in which we should sleep are between 7 and 9 hours a night according to some studies. Having said that, it’s whatever works for you and whichever hours make you feel rested and energized. It’s about the quality of your sleep as opposed to the amount of sleep you are getting. Our REMsleep is what’s important for revitalizing our health. For me, 8-9 hours feels amazing, but if I get at least 7 hours of sleep I am good to go. If I get less than 6, then I am definitely not myself. I used to be able to function off 5 hours of sleep, and that just horrifies me now (I don’t have kids, and I know I’ll have to appreciate getting even 1 hour of sleep when that time of life comes around).
IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP: Poor sleep can affect weight, blood sugar, hormones, mental health, physical health, eating patterns, digestion, immunity, etc…
SLEEP INTERFERENCES: Deficiencies, stimulants, digestive troubles, newborns, children, hormonal imbalances, stress, anxiety, medications, deadlines, etc…
So, how do we improve our sleep? By creating evening routines! Building routines around sleep is so important, it sets yourself up for a good night’s rest. Today I’m sharing 6 routines you can easily add into your evening to help you achieve quality sleep so you can wake up feel revitalized, optimal, and like your best rested you!
1. DESTIMULATE: When we are constantly stimulated by things like the computer, our phones, the TV, and any electronics close to bedtime, it causes our thoughts to race. Many people say as soon as they hit the pillow their mind is racing. This is likely because a lot of us go throughout our day unconsciously and disconnected, which means we don’t process our thoughts right away and begin to process them once we are laying down and present with ourselves. When we don’t address our thoughts as they are, we aren’t able to detect them and let them go throughout our day. Do you ever have those nights where you keep looking at your clock and tell yourself “If I fall asleep now, I’ll have 8 hours of sleep”, then an hour later “If I fall asleep now, I’ll have 7 hours of sleep” and the cycle goes on until you’ve lost most of your nights sleep? When you hyper focus on trying to get sleep or keep saying “I’m not a good sleeper”you simply won’t sleep because that is the energy you are sending out. Give yourself permission to let go before you go to sleep. Let the day be what it was, let your body and mind rest, and begin again in the morning. Put the electronics down and be done with them when it’s close to your bedtime, or try using an orange light on your electronics to help enhance your body’s wind down in the evening. I have my phone automatically set on orange light for 7:00PM so I am not constantly exposed to the stimulating blue light electronics give off. Most phones have “Night Mode” option in the display/brightness settings. There are also apps you can download to your phone for orange light if it is not a setting your phone provides.
2. DIFFUSE THE AIR: Invest in a diffuser! They’re amazing for enhancing your sleep. One of my favourite aromas to wind down with at night time is Lavender. It’s an essential oil that is calming and relaxing. Any essential oils you find calming and relaxing are ones you should be diffusing in the evening. I use the Saje Aromaom Ultrasonic diffuser. It’s perfect for diffusing the bedroom and easy to move around to different rooms to diffuse the air elsewhere. You could also rub essential oils on your neck, chest, arms, or even under your nose so you can smell them while you doze off.
3. HEALTHY EATING: Imbalanced blood sugar levels can really mess with our sleeping patterns. For some of us, balancing our blood glucose levels can be very challenging. When we eat well throughout the day to keep our blood glucose levels in check it can do wonders for our sleep. Incorporate meals that are high in protein, healthy fats, and fiber. Don’t forget to hydrate with water throughout the day as well, this will help you avoid dehydration which can also disrupt sleep.
4. EXERCISE: Moving our bodies enhances our overall health. It also helps improve our sleep. Try to get at least 30 minutes of movement in, and exercise whichever way you love and enjoy. When we workout the way we love to, and listen to our bodies, exercise becomes a lifestyle habit as opposed to a chore. Add some movement into your day and see how it improves your sleep and overall well-being. Go for a walk, hike, run, hit the gym, do an at home workout, run around the park with your kids, go to a workout class with a friend. Try an in class or at home evening yoga session to help you unwind, deep and long stretching movements is great for relaxing the mind and body, especially before bed.
5. ADD MAGNESIUM: I love epsom salt baths in the evening. Salt soaks help the body unwind and release physical and mental stress. Epsom salts deliver magnesium which helps relax us. Magnesium tea is another great way to enhance your sleep. Sometimes I make myself chamomile tea and add some magnesium powder (sparingly) to it for some extra sleepy vibes. Magnesium is a mineral so many people need more of due to all kinds of factors such as stress, environment, digestive troubles, and sweating (especially for athletes). If you want to try adding magnesium into your evening routine, use it moderately, and always check in with your doc before adding in any new supplements so you can get yourself on the right one.
6. SLEEP SOUNDS: Meditation music (guided or unguided), relaxation music, and the sounds of nature (rain, waves, thunderstorms) can really help amp up your quality of sleep. It’s especially beneficial for shifting our mental focus into something more calming and peaceful. I created a Sounds of Sleep playlist on Spotify for you to check out for some sleepy sounds inspiration.
SOME MORE WAYS TO IMPROVE SLEEP: Evening infrared sauna session, go through a list of things your thankful for, sleep with white noise, stop eating 2 hours before bed, cut off caffeine by noon, drink chamomile tea, invest in blackout curtains, set a time to put your phone on “do not disturb”, have everything prepared before bed for the next day so you don’t have to think about all the things once you lay down, focus on the positivity in your life, journal.
Do you have any favourite sleep tips or remedies you like to use to enhance and nourish your sleep? Be sure to let me know by commenting below! I love seeing what works for others. Maybe we share some of the same sleep rituals. If this blog post inspired you today, be sure to hashtag #thenourishedvibe or tag @thenourishedvibe on Instagram so I can see your sleep inspiration!