“Stay Home, Stay Safe” is one of the easiest calls to action that’s ever helped so many people at once (“easy” as in physically), but it’s been wreaking havoc on sleep schedules. If you’ve found yourself getting less restful sleep than ever, you are not alone. Our entire daily routines have been flipped on their heads and our bodies don’t know what the heck is going on.
We get it. We’ve been experiencing this too, so here is a list of 10 things you can try for a better nights sleep. Pro-tip: try all of them!
Eat Regular, Balanced Meals
A good night’s sleep is a valuable thing, so it takes a certain amount of investment throughout the day. Even though your normal schedule may have been cast to the wind with the pandemic shut-downs, try to keep your meals on track. Three meals a day with some healthy snacks in between goes a long way in helping you sleep at the end of the day. Make sure your getting balance too; healthy fats, protein, healthy carbohydrates, and fresh fruit and vegetables will usually provide your body with all the good macro and micro nutrients your body needs.
Yes, the gyms are closed and some of us live in smaller apartments or houses. This is still important! Practicing yoga, going for a walk or run outside, or doing an indoor workout (there’s lots of videos you can follow on YouTube for all different levels) we help get you blood moving, mobilize healthy hormones in the brain and body, and keep you in shape! Exercise also helps ease emotional tension within the body that often prevents us from sleeping and causes pain in the body.
Staying hydrated throughout the day, as we’ve all heard a thousand times now, is important for good health, but it also helps improve sleep! Drinking enough water helps stop you from waking up from thirst during the night. On a physiological level, water plays an important role in bodily repairs and nutrient assimilation. Because our bodies do the majority of repairs during the night, it’s important to make sure it has plenty of the necessary ingredients needed before you hit the pillow, and you’ll be able to build those muscles you worked on during the day more effectively!
Keeping your bedroom cooler during the night can greatly improve sleep. Even if you already keep it cool, try dropping it a couple extra degrees or turning on a fan to see if that is the little kick you needed to get the quality sleep you’re looking for. Weighted blankets are also incredible for helping you get to sleep and they don’t get too warm during the night.
Scents to Improve Sleep
Using essential oils is a tried and true method for helping you sleep at night. Scents have the ability to bring our minds into the present. Find a scent that you like, such as lavender, eucalyptus, even if it’s not a “typical” scent for sleep, if it helps you, that’s the right one! Place a couple drops on a cotton ball near your pillow, use an oil diffuser of you have one, or make an essential oil nighttime spritzer to spray your bed at night.
Meditating, even for a couple minutes before you go to bed is a great practice to get into and helps calm your mind. You don’t have to sit in a perfect lotus pose and have perfect peace either. You can simply sit at the edge of your bed, eyes closed or with a soft gaze, and count your slow, deep breaths up to 5 or 10. You can do the same thing sitting in child’s pose, lying in bed, or seated in a chair!
Setting the Mood for Sleep
Turning out the lights except for a few soft lamps and maybe some candles an hour before going to bed is another way to harness the senses for better sleep! Bright lights tell our brains that it’s time to be awake and excited and doing things. By turning down the amount of lighting in your space and choosing warmer color lights, you signal to your brain it’s time to start calming down and relaxing.
Not the movie, but an actual notebook might help you sleep more peacefully. If you keep going over things you need to do and problems you need to fix while you’re trying to sleep, keep something by your bed to write in. When those thoughts come up, grab your journal or notebook and jot them down. Get them out of your head and onto a piece of paper. This helps in a symbolic sense, and also puts those thoughts safely in a place where you can go back in the morning and pick up where you left off.
In yogic philosophy, the mind is like an elephant parading down a market street, becoming distracted by all the shiny treasures and yummy treats along the way. The elephant picks of the various objects along the way, veering off the path and leaving a mess in his wake. But if the elephant is given a bamboo wand to carry down the street with him, he cannot pick up the shiny things and carries on down his path.
This is how mantras work. they are short, simple phrases that we can repeat over and over to help focus our minds and calm them down. If you are methodically repeating your mantra in your mind, the mind must pay attention to that simple task and won’t be as likely to go after the “shiny” thoughts that typically emerge when we’re trying to sleep. A simple mantra might be “I am peaceful,” or “I am calm.”
Finally, try being intentional with your bedtime. Instead of plowing through to the end of Tiger King and then throwing yourself into bed, take some time. Hold it in your mind that now it’s bedtime as you brush your teeth and turn the lights out. Take a moment to clear your mind (meditate), get your essential oil out, and tell yourself that you can worry about that stupid thing you said in the third grade all you want in the morning, but now is for sleep. Be intentional with your relaxation.
We hope this helps!
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