You’ve heard it before, and I bet you’ll hear it again - Sleep is important. It seems like such a simple concept. Just go into your bed, close your eyes, and boom, you’re asleep. If only it was that simple. While studying to be a health coach, the topic of sleep constantly came up. Sleeping in an hour more or exercising? How many hours of sleep is optimal? How do you fall asleep with your mind racing? To be honest, there really wasn’t a concrete answer to any of these questions. Just like everything else pertaining to health and wellbeing, every person has different needs. However, there are some things that can help everyone sleep better.
Write it Down
Keeping a sleep journal can be extremely beneficial. Before your nightly routine, write down everything you did and ingested up to 6 hours prior. This will help you detect patterns of what can be helping or hurting your sleep. For example, some people will sleep better after eating a high carb meal, while others will have the opposite effect. Don’t forget, this includes non-food consumption, like light, information, and emotions. The more detailed you are, the better! After just a month you’ll be able to see how every little thing you do plays a role in how you sleep.
Talk It Out
Have you ever noticed that after a long day of socializing, you are able to get a great night’s sleep? This is because socializing can be an amazing way for you to talk with your peers about things that are lurking on your mind. Even a phone call with a friend or relative can be helpful. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, use your sleep diary to jot down whatever is on your mind.
We live in a world where we associate recreation and inebriation with rest. Unfortunately, these are not the same. If you are constantly needing caffeine or a sugary snack to give you a boost of energy, that is an obvious sign that your mind and body need a break. Take a rest, either a nap or just sit in a comfortable chair and do nothing for a few minutes. Surprisingly, this little break will help your body sleep later on that day- especially if you reduce your caffeine intake.
Our brains are constantly being stimulated by information due to the increased use of technology. We can watch tv while working on the computer while communicating with multiple people at the same time. This doesn’t mean we should do it. This overstimulation can make it extremely difficult for your brain to go into sleep mode at night. Try doing one thing at a time, putting your phone on silent while you are doing an activity, and taking time to pause and let yourself be human.
Set Up Your Space
Creating a sleep-friendly environment is crucial for a good night’s sleep. Make sure all the clutter from the day is put away, and all your technology is out of the room, or at least far away from your bed. Try using a pillow spray or essential oils with calming scents, such as lavender or bergamot to help soothe your mind.