Did you know that one of the MOST important things you can do for your health doesn't require any sweating, ingredients-label-reading, or meal prepping at all??? Getting a full night's sleep is CRUCIAL for beautiful skin, a happy gut, and for everything in your body to be running the way it should. 😴 🙌
HOWEVER. About one third of adults say that they aren't getting enough good-quality sleep...which can lead to some MAJOR health issues down the road.
In today's fast-paced world, it can be easy to forget that our bodies need down time to reset and restore. Let's talk about five simple ways we can re-prioritize just that!
1. Embrace a night-time ritual. ✨
When babies are first born, they don't know how to fall asleep...it's literally their parents' job to teach them that falling asleep is okay and normal and good!!! 😭
To help infants connect those dots on a physical level before they can speak, new parents create some kind of calming, repetitive bedtime routine to let very young children know on a subconscious level that soon, it'll be time to rest.
Flash forward a couple decades: Do you have a nighttime routine? If you're having trouble sleeping, it might just be time to give your body a sec to slow down! Re-teaching your body how to prepare for rest through a calming evening routine may not feel like it's doing much, but over time it'll become muscle memory.
Your evening rituals will depend on what you like and where you're at in life, but some ideas might include a few minutes of stretching or journalling; brushing your teeth and washing your face; setting out clothes for tomorrow; reading or meditating; and brewing a cup of herbal tea to enjoy while winding down. 📓☕️
2. Create a helpful sleeping environment (and lifestyle).
Sleeping well isn't just something that you do at night! The decisions you make over the course of the day all build towards that blissful moment when your head hits the pillow. To biohack your way towards good sleep, consider the following:
- Try to get to bed around the same time each night (it's muscle memory again!!!)
- Keep your bedroom clean, cozy, and optimized for deep sleep. Think of the inside of a cave (slightly cool, very dark, very quiet) and you'll get the idea!
- Focus your intense workouts, work, caffeine, and any other mental or physical stressors earlier in the day, if possible - at least an hour or two prior to bedtime. ⏰
Researchers call these good habits sleep hygiene - which has nothing to do with how clean you are when you climb into bed 😂.
3. Focus on your breath. 🧐
Do you often find yourself trying to go to sleep...but your body and brain just don't seem to get the message? Sometimes, it's possible to help ease your body and brain to relaxation just by manipulating your breath. Practices like yoga and meditation are often centered around rhythmic breathing, and now, you can harness that same power to help you drift off even when your mind is busy! 🧘♀️✌️
The 4-7-8 breathing technique is simple: Start by breathing in over a slow count of four. Then, hold your breath while counting to seven. Finally, exhale for a count of eight. That's it! Repeat as needed.
What's that doing? Basically, breathing in this slow and measured way is optimal for getting oxygen to every part of your body, which is a crazy-powerful way to let you know on a physical level that you're safe. This gets you out of survival mode!!! 😅 It'll be easier for you to relax! Plus, all that counting helps your brain chill out, especially if your thoughts were running amok before you started. Give it a try!
4. Check your tech at the door. 👩💻📱
It's not news that screen time isn't the greatest for you, but it's ESPECIALLY not great right before you try to go to bed. There are two main reasons for this: blue light, and social media stress.
Blue light is the specific wavelength of light that tends to be associated with screens (phones, TVs, computers). It's very good at keeping you awake - which is GREAT for getting work done during the day, but can mess with your circadian rhythm and make it hard to fall asleep.
Don't get us wrong, we LOVE connecting with our friends through the various socials...but scrolling *immediately* before we try to fall asleep can get our thoughts whirling around at a time when we should be trying to slow down.
Simply trying to use your phone less before bed and leaving your laptop in the living room may be an easy fix that results in better sleep quickly!
5. Give yourself permission to rest. 💛 💫
If you're a student, if your job is demanding, or if you're just trying to survive the year so far, your plate is likely full and your to-do list miles long! It can be super tempting to consider staying up late just to get a few more tasks done, or to watch another episode, or read another page. Every once in a while, this is fine and fun, but learn to listen to your body. You'll be much more effective the next day if your body has a chance to heal overnight!
Our world values busyness and stress. Insofar as we're productive and happy, that's a good thing! However, if it's prompting us to run ourselves ragged, it's time to take a second and consider our health. By setting ourselves up to enjoy a deep night's sleep more often than not, we're taking care of ourselves and setting up a successful tomorrow!
If you needed permission to press snooze once or twice in the morning, now you have it!!! However, you'll find that getting better sleep will even make it easier to get up and at it in the morning...crazy, right!!? 😱
We can't WAIT to get some more serene shut-eye after we up our sleeping game!!! Do you have a nighttime routine already?!? What are your go-to de-stressing tips?!