4 Tips to Help You Get Optimal Sleep
Getting sleep in a fast paced world seems to be impossible on some weeks. Sleep is a key thing that my clients always have to prioritize.
We often will think about what we lose out on if we go to sleep (unfinished tasks, dirty dishes, miss favorite TV show, ext) but the truth is that what you gain with optimal sleep is beyond what you lose.
Did you know that you can never “catch up on your sleep”? That is a myth. You may feel that you are catching up, but in reality your body is simply displaying how tired it really is and it’s need for consistent sleep.
Having a healthy circadian rhythm is so key to optimal health. A lack of sleep has been linked to mental disorders, weight gain, hormonal imbalances, type 2 diabetes and depression. It also increases your risk for heart disease.
No wonder! When you are asleep, your body goes through daily detox, assimilates information from the day, your brain cleans house, your heart rate and breathing slow, your blood pressure lowers, you pump out growth hormones and regulate hunger hormones, just to name a few things.
Sleep is the number one thing, with food right behind it, that we disregard when life gets busy, and yet it is so important for our health. Today I share 4 tips to help you get your optimal sleep.
Let’s start thinking about how much we gain from sleep, rather than what we lose and say yes to sleeping. It will be a challenge in the beginning, but once you get there, you will not want to go back. Your energy and your ability to focus and get more done in a short amount of time will soar.
Prioritize your sleep. It may just be the difference in your future health.
1. Land the plane
What would happen if a plane went from 40 thousand feet in the air to ground zero instantly? Yes, it would crash. I talk to my clients about “landing their plane” in the evening and it is one of the key things to start making that shift from no sleep to more sleep.
Landing the plane for my clients means, how are you going to slowly move towards bed? We often provide this for children but as adults we need this too. I have clients find their “landing the plane” activities or triggers and it has never failed to help the transition.
Some examples would be herbal teas, coloring, a fiction book or magazine, any non-screen activity, journaling or deep breathing. To incorporate this, calculate what time is your best time to be asleep. If it is 10pm, then you want to start landing the plane at 9:30p.
Choose something that will get you into the bed, like a good book or a journal. My kids use legos, gratitude journals and books. I use magazines, my bible, journal or a fiction book if I am reading one. If you normally go to bed at 12am, then start the transition in 15 minute increments each night, (11:45p, then 11:30p, then 11:15pm) until you get to your optimal time.
Even if it takes you a whole week, you are slowly making changes that will prove to last longer than an instant crash landing or switch to the optimal time.
2. Temperature Matters
Experts believe that your core body temperature has a lot to do with the success of your sleep at night. Your body will naturally lower its temperature 1-2 degrees as you fall asleep. If your environment is at a hotter temperature, your body may have trouble regulating its core temperature. This could cause fragmented or restless sleeping patterns.
Your body will sleep better when the room temperatures are cooler. The optimal external sleep temperature is between 70-75 degrees. We lower our temperature at night and then bring it a few degrees up in the morning. If you lower your temperature in your home, you will find that it could make a huge difference in your sleeping patterns.
3. Plant Remedies and Supplements
Sometimes we need help with our sleep. The circadian rhythm is so key to balancing out sleep and our body regulating, but if you are already in a cycle of no sleep or poor diet, you will find that it is a never ending cycle and one thing can cause another that can cause a lack of sleep.
There are some plant remedies that may help the body to relax and fall asleep more deeply and also stay asleep. Some key essential oils that will help you sleep better are Lavender, Vetiver, Roman Chamomile and Sandlewood. Be sure and use as directed as essential oils are very potent.
Flower essences can also support the body to sleep. I love the Bach Remedies. You can read more in the link but this one has really helped a few of my clients. These remedies are safe for both kids and adults if used as directed.
Sometimes supplements are needed to help your body calm down and move into a sleep cycle. Magnesium products have helped many of my clients to be able to sleep deeply. Magnesium comes in spray, pill and powder forms and it is important to ask a health professional for which one fits you best.
Others may need for short periods of time melatonin, but make sure that a health professional is walking with you through this to see the root problems and help aid you in eventually sleeping without melatonin.
4. Turn the Lights Off
Light stimulates the nerve pathway from the eyes to the brain which control the hormones and body temperature as well as other functions that play a key role in whether or not you fall asleep. In order to sleep well, especially if your circadian rhythm is off, darkness is so important.
Your body clock is run on light. Even if you close your eyes, if there is light in the room, your body will not adjust completely to a deep sleep cycle. A cool dark room signals to your body that it is time to sleep. Light is the key factor in determining our circadian rhythm. One study showed the link between too much light and depression.
Keeping TV, computers and even phones in rooms outside of your bedroom is very important. It keeps you less tempted to look at them before bed and allows you to focus sleep in your bedroom with darkness. If you have your phone in your bedroom for an alarm clock, make sure it is in airplane mode and about 15 feet away. (This will also make you get up when the alarm goes off rather than hit snooze)
I hope this helps you think about sleep more and the importance of making it a priority. If you want to talk more about your sleeping habits and need personal help to transitioning to better sleep, contact me here and I am happy to help you!