Are you struggling with your daily life? Have you lost creativity? Are you stalled with the new direction for your business? Are you feeling frustrated, irritable, and generally out sorts?
You may have what’s known as all the classic symptoms of having poor sleeping habits. More importantly, the quality of your sleep is lacking because you’ve never allowed yourself the benefits of having the right sleep routine.
There are some simple and easy solutions that can start making a dramatic difference in your life right now (and some of them are really fun to implement!)
Did you know… the routines, preparation, and thoughts you have before bed are all integral to getting a good night’s sleep?
The benefits in your day-to-day life are miraculous when you realize that sleep isn’t just a physical necessity, it’s also the very thing that recharges your brain.
Consider the possibility that your life could completely change by satisfying its need for rest.
Research shows that sleep is important for memory and that the dreaming may offer a crucial “incubation” period for the brain to process problems and come up with solutions.
Imagine this… if you commit to better sleep habits, your productivity, creativity, and success could completely transform the trajectory of your life.
Something truly remarkable happened in my own life, that I’ll share a bit later in the article. But first…
A decade ago, I suffered from anxiety and exhaustion.
I could always tell when anxiety was going to strike. It started with the way I’d breathe. I struggled to catch my breath. I’d be talking, run out of air, and couldn’t fill my lungs deep enough to satisfy the urge.
I felt exhausted. I managed to get through the day with coffee, but then, I was even more jittery at bedtime.
Lack of sleep was adding up, and I really didn’t feel spontaneous or happy. Instead, most of time I was just numb.
One day, my daughter said to me, “Mom, when I tell you something funny, you don’t laugh anymore….”
It was true. She missed my laughter, and so did I.
That was my year of transition. I was a single mom, and my last two kids were about to leave the nest, and I’d tragically lost my oldest child to bacterial meningitis years before. I knew I was still grieving, and loss has no timeline at all. But, I was finally ready to look forward to this next chapter of my life.
My daughter’s comment was a wake-up call that I couldn’t ignore.
I implemented a new sleep practice and I couldn’t believe how quickly my spirits lifted! Within a week, people remarked that I looked more rested. I began to get compliments on the look of my skin and my energy. Friends said I looked better than ever.
The side benefit was that my business success grew because I was well-rested.
And the greatest gift of all? I felt happy… happier than I had in years.
Sleep Survival Tactics
First, we need to look at the basics, and then I’ll share the fun part of restoring your body with sleep.
- Schedule a bedtime routine (we will do this later in the article)
- Avoid caffeine after 2:00 pm. (Ugh! It’s hard for me!)
- Turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bed. (another tough one)
- The cooler the room, the better the sleep. (The National Sleep Foundation suggests between 60 and 68 degrees.)
- Keep a consistent bedtime and wake-up time. (Your body will find its rhythm, and soon you’ll be sleeping without an alarm)
- Darkened rooms make for better sleep (consider blackout curtains)
Enhancements to Making Bedtime More Fun
Is it time to throw out those old sweats and tee shirts? Time to go shopping!Purge those old sleep clothes and make a few new purchases. Clean, soft, comfortable nightclothes make it much more appealing to slip between the sheets. You’ll feel more beautiful, too.
How does your room smell? I like to play around with aromatherapy misters. I love lavender and eucalyptus oils. I also love opening the window for a big rush of fresh air at the end of the day. Even fresh flowers by the bed can bring a soft, sensual feeling to your bedtime routine.
Make water as special as a glass of wine! Put your fresh water in a beautiful wine glass beside your bed, and drop in a sprig of mint for fresh breath!
Did you like bedtime stories as a child? There are several sleep apps such as Sleep Stories: A series of bedtime stories for adults from the Calm meditation app. Another is Sleepiest: This whimsical app can help with bedtime for children and adults.
Invest in good sheets and they will help you slumber for years to come. I buy two sets, so one can be in the cupboard for laundry day. I prefer cotton or bamboo, but there are lots of natural choices out there to research. I find the polyester sheets quite hot, and that bothers me. Read reviews when buying sheets, you’ll get a good idea as to their comfort and ability to last. You can spend a lot or a little. I paid $300 for one of my sets, and I don’t like them as much as the set I paid $80 for on Amazon.
Make your bed beautiful. If you have the opportunity, pretty pillows and a comforter can make a huge difference in the way you feel about your bed. You deserve a luxury sleep experience, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. I find so many beautiful comforters in Target, Kohl’s, and online.
Make your skincare routine a nightly spa experience. Sleeping is your skin’s time to go to work and rejuvenate.
“To put it simply, sleep is your skin’s best friend: It boosts the production of collagen; allows for skin repair and cell renewal; lessens breakouts; and helps skin stay hydrated, which contributes to firmness.”
When you fall in love with your skin-care routine, you’re rewarded with the benefits of youthful skin in your later life. Use the best products you can (for your budget), and then let sleep do the work.
Sleep enhances the sexual libido, and the other way around… It’s easier to fall asleep after sex. The Sleep Foundation says, “After an orgasm, the body releases hormones, like oxytocin and prolactin, that can induce pleasant and relaxing feelings. Sex also reduces levels of the hormone cortisol, which is associated with stress.”
Surprise Question: Why Should You Make Your Bed Every Day?
WebMD reports on a study done by the National Sleep Foundation:
People reported sleeping longer hours and feeling better about going to bed when their bed was made, their sheets were fresh, and their bedroom was comfortable.
I can’t leave the house without making my bed. I have always been that way, but became even more inspired by the book Admiral William H. McRaven wrote, Make Your Bed… Little Things That Can Change Your Life.He says it’s the little things you do on the daily that lead you to have more discipline, determination, and a positive attitude… all starting with making your bed. So I do it no matter what.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says adults need at least 7–9 hours of sleep a night to lead a healthy life. Calculate the time you should go to sleep to ensure a wake-up time that satisfies your sleep needs.
How do we meet these needs? We establish a bedtime routine that signals the body it’s time for rest.
Create Your Own Ritual
We often make the mistake of establishing a bedtime instead of a “wind-down” time. It’s like a warm-up before a workout… essential for preparing your body for the big sleep.
Create a mental and physical ritual, including things like hot baths, fixing a cup of herbal tea, reading, meditation, and prayer.
Then, darken your bedroom. Light can interrupt sleep. Even those tiny lights on electronic devices or clocks are proven to be sleep disturbers. I had to cover my house alarm pad because it was so bright. You might even be a candidate for blackout curtains or an eye mask if city lights shine through.
Keep your bedroom sacred. Don’t make it a place to work in bed on your laptop or watch TV at night. Your bedroom is the place to restore your body, and a place for romance, too! For couples, studies show that not having a TV in your room increases your likelihood of having more sex!
Make your list of steps that will lure you into bed on time.
Fantasize about the magical bedtime ritual that sends you into blissful sleep. This ritual will be so enticing, you’ll look forward to it… every single night.
This isn’t drudgery… it’s a luxury!
Here’s my routine:
- Begin winding down one hour before sleep time.
- Do my skincare routine, and sometimes take a hot bath, followed by my favorite silk pajamas.
- Prepare a hot cup of tea (my current fave is Trader Joe’s “Well Rested” Herbal Tea).
- I crawl into bed and turn on music set to the spa or nature playlist. I love hearing the sound of rolling ocean waves because I grew up near the ocean. I set the sleep timer to turn the music off after 30 minutes.
But Wait… Here’s a Life-Changing Bonus
Those minutes before sleep hold the powerful potential to manifest. Close your eyes and picture what you’d like to happen in the next 24 hours.
Focus only on positive outcomes. Imagine your perfect day within the criteria of your actual day. If it’s a day at work, picture a session with your ideal client. If you’re a writer, see yourself happily writing. If you own your own business, envision your ideal day. If it’s your day off… enjoy it!
Once you’ve visualized your perfect day, put your wishes peacefully to sleep with you. You’ve sent the message to the Universe, now let it get to work!
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”- The Alchemist Quotes by Paulo Coelho — Goodreads
Lastly, give thanks and gratitude for another day, and look forward to a night of blissful sleep.
The Surprise Benefit of Better Sleep… New Love… Really?
I had a bonus in my year of restoration… because I was well-rested and felt like a million bucks, I met the love of my life that same year!
Previously Published on Medium