This might be a diversion from my typical post topics, but if you’ve been feeling fried after this year, well, you’re not alone. When we’re stressed, sleep is often the first thing to go haywire, and it’s also the first thing to try to fix to improve everything else.
The benefits of better sleep are vast. Your energy will improve, for one – you’ll be much more prepared for the day ahead. Your mood will improve – you’ll feel better, so you’ll be happier. You’ll be healthier, as sleep is connected to our heart rate and nervous system. You’ll likely have more sex with all that extra time in bed. You’ll even wake up skinnier – there’s a direct correlation between lack of sleep and increased glucose levels. Adequate sleep supports weight management and even weight loss, if that’s what you’re after.
That’s all fantastic news, of course, until your sleep is thrown off course by stress. Though there are many tips out there, from dietary changes to white noise, here is what has worked for me.
- Make a routine. To keep your body’s circadian rhythm in sync, go to bed and wake up around the same time every day. During the day, get outside if you can – take a walk, get exposed to some daylight hours, which help to balance your melatonin levels later. Create a conducive space for relaxation – cool, dark rooms (I like a 68º F / 20º C temperature) offer the best sleep. Finally, a warm shower before bed and a few minutes reading a book have been of great help to me.
- Meditate. Start by closing your eyes and saying thanks for all the good in your life. Gratitude is an excellent way to calm the mind and focus on the positives. Try some gentle, restorative yoga or even a simple practice of stillness with your eyes closed. Make relaxation your goal. Whether you meditate by focusing on a mantra or on focusing on your breath in equal 4 counts, you divert your attention from all the day’s noise. Everything else can be filed away for later.
- Move your phone. We recently upgraded our mattress, and while we were waiting for the new bed slats to arrive, we had our new mattress laying on a sheet on the floor. Surprisingly, I found I slept better than I had in years! The old mattress needed replacing, for sure, however the bigger difference was that my phone was no longer sitting right by my head on the nightstand – it was now 20 feet away.
This seems to be more than coincidence – I woke up more refreshed, happier, and less anxious from all that constant chatter of our phones (or, of waking up to read the news in the middle of the night). Some friends swear by keeping their phones in a basket in the kitchen – I guess I’m too tethered to try it. However, out of reach is a great place to be.
If you have tips to share, please comment below! As I’m putting the finishing touches on our new Goddess Mastery program, to create a virtual ‘inner circle’ to bring out the best in each other, I welcome your thoughts!