08.30.2017

Wellness Wednesday || The 5 Ways I’ve Improved My Sleep

(Lounge Shorts | Knit)

A bad night’s sleep can throw off my entire next day…. and a few consecutive evenings of it will just make me a walking zombie (…. and take me right back to those newborn days….). While it doesn’t happen all the time, sometimes I find myself so tired throughout the day and then struggle to fall asleep at night. So. Frustrating. It’s as if my mind decides to solve all of the world’s problems at 9:45pm. Over the past few weeks, I’ve decided to put together an evening routine for myself, in an attempt to ameliorate the issue. While it doesn’t work 100% of the time (I’d say about 90%), I’d say that it has improved my sleep drastically. So, today I thought I’d share the four changes I made to improve the quality of my sleep…..

1. Electronics Off 30 Minutes Prior To Bed: I’ve heard the benefits of shutting down an hour prior to bedtime, but that’s just not possible for me. I try my best to turn off my social media scrolling thirty minutes prior to pillow time, but I do sneak in an occasional text here and there after that time frame. Yet, what I have noticed is that on evenings when I follow this closely, my mind isn’t racing as much…. which is likely due to the fact that I’ve given my brain some downtime before attempting to shut it off for several hours.

2. Evening Tea: I accidentally stumbled across this one at my parent’s house. My mom said she picked up one of the tea bags at a hotel they were staying at, and ended up letting me try it out one evening. I was hooked after that first night, and immediately went to the store the next day to buy a pack. Not only does it taste good, but the chamomile helps me relax and unwind from the day. Chamomile actually has loads of other health benefits, and I’ve found it hugely helpful in preparing for bedtime. On the first night I sipped it, I had one of the best evenings of sleep… I felt completely relaxed right before my head hit the pillow. It also had a slight cinnamon taste to it, kind of like a nice after dinner treat.

3. Incorporate Oils: I’ve become quite a fan of diffusing an evening blend right before bed, and in the first four hours of sleep. I’ve been doing it for about two weeks now, and I can definitely say that it has helped me fall asleep, and stay asleep, much better. About two hours before bed, I diffuse a blend of lavender, breathe, and frankinsence. Each has their own benefits, and when combined, work well to facilitate sleep. Lavender reduces emotional stress + anxiety and improves sleep. Breathe works to maintain clear air passages and promotes a restful night sleep… something that has been very helpful to me this season with my allergies. Frankinsence aroma promotes feelings of relaxation. So, the three together makes for a fairly powerful trio. I opt to diffuse them because I read that doing so reaches my brain within 22 seconds… and anything that works quickly when it comes to sleep is much appreciated. Along with the diffuser, I roll a little bit of the lavender oil on behind my ears and neck, as well as on the underside of my big toes. (I got all my info from my oils gal Katie).

4. Legs Up The Wall: This has been one of my go-to pre-bedtime stretches for years, but I stopped doing it when I became pregnant. I recently picked it up again, and I’ve noticed a difference in my state of relaxation (much better). Legs up the wall is considered a restorative pose in yoga, and is most often done at the end of class since it helps to promote relaxation. To read more about how to do it (it’s actually really simple) check out this article. I basically do this about 5-10 minutes before I head to bed, and hold it for however long it takes for the state of relaxation take over. Then, I head to bed.

5. Room Temperature: One of the quickest ways for me to improve my sleep is to ensure that my room is nice and cool. Fortunately, TJ likes the room cool too, so there aren’t any disagreements over that. We have the air conditioning running throughout the night (thankfully our place is small and doesn’t cost too much to do this), and with a light layer of clothing, and the perfect blankets, I never feel too hot or cold. It’s amazing what sleeping at the right temperature will do for a good night’s sleep. If you’re wondering, we set ours to 70°.

That’s it. Nothing was that big of a shift, but when combined, seem to have really helped improve my sleep experience!

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