If you want to be productive, healthy, vibrant and open to life’s great experiences, sleep is essential. It’s a fundamental part of your health and wellness. Sleep can make the difference between a successful, happy, productive life and a colourless, plodding existence. It is in your control and can take you from surviving to thriving.
To maintain optimum health, adults need between seven and eight hours of sleep per night. It is the amount of time our minds and bodies need to replenish, refuel and restore. Getting fewer than seven hours a night robs our health reserves and can lead to a worn-out immune system, lack of concentration, increased forgetfulness, poor decision-making and irritability. We lose our vibrancy and confidence.
There are some factors that influence both the quality and quantity of your sleep. Here are some soothing sleep rituals to nurture yourself and have you snoring in no time.
1. Consistent bedtimes
The most restorative time for your body to sleep is between 10pm and 2am. Get to bed by 10pm whenever possible to honour your body and mind.
2. Technology-free zones
Remove any electronic devices from the bedroom and buy an old-fashioned alarm clock. Some experts believe that blue light from devices has a negative effect on the body. This light interrupts the body’s production of melatonin, a fundamental chemical needed for sleep.
3. Technology curfews
Turn off televisions, laptops and mobile devices one hour before bed (ideally by 9pm) to allow your mind the time it needs to unwind before bed.
4. The slumber environment
Strive to make your sleeping area an oasis, with limited light, little to no noise, and a nice cool temperature. We create intentional sleep environments for babies with night lights and lullaby music, so why don’t we do this for ourselves? The same principles still apply for adults, and yet we try to complicate things. Our bodies thrive with a great sleep routine. Intentionally create an environment for unwinding. Light a candle; be mindful of the types of television show you are watching right before bed; have some relaxing herbal tea to calm the nervous system; do some stretches; write in a journal; use an essential oil on your temples to calm the mind.
5. Food and drink
Pay close attention to what you eat and drink in the evenings. Heavy dinners, caffeine and alcohol can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep.
6. Consistent rising times
Get up at the same time every day to make it easier for your body’s natural alarm clock. On the weekends when you need to top up your sleep tank, take a guilt-free siesta. This is the most effective way to keep your body in a rhythm for your weekly routine, but it’s not for everyone. For some of us it may impact negatively on our evening sleep. So, listen to your body and choose what is right for you.
7. Pillow heaven
Buy a pillow that you love and that your head can sink into. Give your body the comfort it craves.
8. Darker and cooler
A dark and cool room helps the quality of your sleep as your body works in rhythm with the natural light and air.
9. Attitude of gratitude
An attitude of gratitude makes you more aware of the good things in your life. This positive outlook helps keep pessimism and worry at bay. It’s no surprise that a number of studies have linked gratitude to greater happiness, satisfaction with life and optimism about the future. May your last thoughts be those of gratitude before you close down for the day.
10. Essential oils
Choose a relaxing, sleep-inducing essential oil and massage a few drops onto a specific part of your body, such as your forehead, neck, chest, wrists, hands or toes. Lavender is the perfect oil to start with as it helps calm the mind and reduce anxiety.