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Have you ever wished for a few extra
Sleep is important to so many of our bodies internal processes. It helps us to reset our cardiovascular systems. Allows our brains to recharge. And sleep even helps with hormone production. It’s easy to see that sleep is an important part of our routines.
Now that we know why sleep is so important. It’s important to ask: what happens if you don’t get enough? And how much is enough sleep anyway?
What is Sleep Deprivation?
The American Sleep Association has done a lot of research on sleep deprivation and our sleep needs. Sleep Deprivation is considered any amount of sleep that is less than adequate total slumber. The average required amount of sleep for adults is 7-9 hours per night depending on the person.
- 37% of people ages 20-39 report that they suffer from sleep deprivation
- 35.3% of adults get less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep each night
- Daytime Fatigue
- Lack of Focus
- Increased Chance of Accidents
- Increased Appetite
- Unexpected Weight Gain
How Can You Fix Your Sleep Deprivation?
I often joke that if I ever won an award for anything, it could be sleeping. In the past year, however, I’ve lost a lot of zzz’s. I was sleep deprived, unfocused and constantly fatigued. Sleep Deprivation can worsen depression and anxiety. So, I decided I needed to improve my own sleep hygiene to get more rest.
Sleep Hygiene is defined as “a variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness.”–National Sleep Foundation
How to Improve Your Sleep Hygiene-
Below is a list of tools and tips I used to improve my sleep hygiene. This list helps me fall asleep quickly,
Sleep Better with Meditation-
Meditation is the practice of isolating one’s mind and using deep breathing to connect with one’s self. Meditation decreases stress and anxiety, as well as lowers blood pressure. Which are important for a restful snooze.
Additionally, Meditation helps to increase our natural production of the neurochemical Melatonin. Melatonin is responsible for restful sleep and stress reduction. Just 5-10 minutes of meditation before bed can greatly reduce your restlessness.
Try the below meditation for sleep if you need more guidance on where to begin.
Use Blue Light Filters for more Restful Sleep
Blue light from electronics like your cell phone, tablet, laptop, and even your T.V. can trigger your brain to stay awake much longer than needed. Blue waves keep your brain active for 2-3 hours after exposure. Therefore, using your phone in bed is one of the worst things to do to fall asleep quickly.
Since I spend a lot of time on my computer each day writing and using social media, too much blue light can definitely be a problem for me. For the last few months, I’ve been using these blue light filtering glasses from Amazon. I love them.
They are cute and high quality. And are under $20! I’ve noticed a slight difference when it comes to sleep. But, more noticeably they’ve helped me with eye strain and a reduction in headaches.
Decompress with your Gratitude Journal
Practicing gratitude is a form of mindfulness that allows us to focus on the good things in our lives. Gratitude practice decreases stress and increases optimism. Writing down your gratitude before bed is a great way to reflect on your day and end it on a positive note. Additionally, it decreases stress levels which helps produce more of the drowsy neurochemical melatonin naturally.
Breathe Deep with Lavender Essential Oil
Relax your nervous system with the calming scent of lavender. Lavender helps to calm your mind and eases stress. This study verified that lavender aided patients in improving their quality of rest, due to it’s positive, relaxing effect on the nervous system.
Different ways to add Lavender to your sleep routine:
- Add Lavender Essential Oil to your diffuser
- Use a lavender linen spray to scent your pillow/sheets before bed
- Make a lavender sachet to put inside your pillowcase
- Use an overnight face mask with lavender essential oil added
Complete a Restful Yoga Sequence
Yoga relaxes more than just your muscles. A simple yoga routine before bed can help reduce your stress level and increase your natural levels of melatonin. The National Health Interview Survey found that 85% of yoga practitioners notice stress reduction. And 55% noticed improved sleep as a result of yoga. Deep breathing and slow movements are the roots of a good bedtime yoga routine.
Yoga with Adriene is one of my favorite youtube stations to follow. She has everything from yoga for weight loss to wind down bedtime yoga. This 12-minute sequence below is a perfect routine to get you ready for a more restful nights rest.
Drink your Water Early in the Day
Although staying hydrated aids in restful sleep, too much aqua can be a bad thing! Getting up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break is one of the leading culprits for sleep disruption.
Aim to drink your water throughout the day. Two hours before bed avoid drinking more than one glass of water. This will help avoid frequent trips to the restroom during the night.
Have Less Anxious Sleep with a Weighted Blanket-
Weighted Blankets reduce movement and increase serotonin and melatonin production at night. They are filled with weighted glass beads, from which soft and constant pressure is produced. This provides a calming sensation similar to that of a firm hug.
Weighted blankets are used to treat anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Select a blanket that is approx. 10% of your body weight for maximum assistance sleeping.
Practice the 15 Min Toss and Turn Rule-
Chances are if you’re tired and ready for bed you should experience calm and relaxation within 15 minutes of lying down. However, the longer you lie in bed when you’re not actually asleep the more it tricks your brain into tossing and turning.
If you experience more than 15 minutes of tossing and turning at night, get out of bed and do a simple boring task. Try to avoid blue light waves if possible. Read a book, fold a load of dishes, or fill out your journal. Once you begin to feel tired again, go back to bed and try again.
Removing yourself from bed for this short period of time helps you to return for a more restful night by:
- reminding your brain that you are indeed tired
- prevents your body from overheating in bed
- quiets your mind and takes the focus off of the inability to fall asleep.
Relax with a Shower or Bath Before Bed
Taking a shower before bed increases and then decreases your body temperature. Doing so lowers your blood pressure and relieves stress. This helps your body to relax and decompress, releasing tension.
By taking a shower a few hours before bed it allows your temperature to restabilize which makes falling asleep easier. Showering before bed also helps to wash away any germs, dirt, and grime from the day. Creating a clean and inviting environment for you to drift off in.
Avoid Eating 3-4 Hours Before Bed
Food is fuel for your body, by eating close to bedtime you are actually fueling your body for activity. Thus causing your body to gain energy. Trying to sleep on a full stomach can cause restlessness, make it difficult to fall asleep, and may cause some pretty wild dreams.
However, sleeping on an empty stomach can also be difficult for some people. If you fit into this second category try snacking on something light and low on sugar, 2 or more hours before bed.
Get Calm with Magnesium Supplement –
Magnesium is a very important mineral for our health. It aids in over 300 different types of cell reproduction. And most adults in America suffer from magnesium deficiency! According to the Sleep Doctor Michael J Breus
My favorite magnesium product on the market to help with sleep is Calm. It’s a powdered drink mix that comes in several different flavors. I love the Raspberry Lemonade flavor. You simply add this powder to 2-3 oz of hot water and stir until it stops fizzing, then add cold water and drink up.
This supplement is made with Magnesium Citrate and tastes a little sour but not unpleasant. I recommend taking this at least 2 hours before going to bed. Make sure to follow the instructions on the package. Magnesium Citrate can have a laxative effect if taken in too large a dose.
CBD Oil for Improved Rest and Relaxation –
CBD Oil is derived from the Cannabis Sativa or the hemp. Unlike Marijuana, CBD Oil contains little to no THC (less than .03% THC). Which means that it doesn’t cause a head high.
CBD Oil instead is cannabidiol, which interacts with your bodies natural endocannabinoid receptors to help us relax, reduce pain and more. Our endocannabinoid system regulates sleep, appetite, pain, and immune system response.
By adding CBD Oil into your sleep hygiene routine you can fall asleep faster and for a longer period of time too. CBD Oil is available in a variety of types. For better rest, I recommend trying a full spectrum CBD Oil tincture like Nuleaf Naturals or Receptra Prime.
Tinctures are placed under the tongue for 1-2 minutes before being swallowed. Tinctures have a long-lasting effect on the body and are perfect for getting a full night of rest. They usually take effect in 25-30 minutes.
If taking a tincture doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, try using a topical CBD. This Tranquility Roll-On is CBD Oil combined with lavender, chamomile,
Enhance Your Sleep Hygiene with Exercise
Enhance your sleep hygiene by adding exercise into your daily routine. For ideal effect try to exercise 3-6 hours before your bedtime. To improve sleep quality aerobic exercises are preferred. Such as, running, jogging, swimming, etc. Thirtyminutes of moderate-intensity exercise each day is suggested for improved sleep quality.
Exercise improves your snooze by:
- Reducing blood pressure
- Lowering your resting heart rate
- Increasing blood flow to the brain
- Boosting your immune system
- Reducing Stress
- Increasing Serotonin
Let’s get some more zzzz’s
The tips above can be used all together. Or you can pick and choose which tips work for your lifestyle. I’ve tried all of the above tips and some of them worked better for me than others.
Sleep Hygiene that works best for me-
- CBD Oil
- The 15 Minute Toss and Turn Rule
- Blue light filters
- Diffusing lavender essential oil
I’ve reduced the time it takes me to fall asleep by about 20 minutes each night. I usually only get up once a night now. A few months ago I got up regularly each night 4-5 times.
I sleep more restfully and have an easier time waking up and starting my day. This has helped me to maintain a better focus and get more done throughout my day.