How many of you suffer from a lack of sleep? Total insomnia? Tossing and turning all night? Uncomfortable mattress? Mind racing? Too Hot? Too Cold? All of the above? If you have sleep problems, you are SO NOT ALONE! I can tell you that I had HORRIBLE sleep for the past 7 years- after my divorce- until truthfully, I started the bio-identical hormonal replacement treatment. Then EVERYTHING CHANGED.
Don't worry. This post is not about "Get BHRT and be sleeping like a baby overnight." Nope. In fact, I've made so many other lifestyle changes around my sleep situation - that my sleep has dramatically improved month after month.
I promise-- it's a process and you'll test out things that work for YOU but, just like when I had all that LOWER BACK PAIN suddenly appear in my life and nothing seemed to work to eradicate it, I read a book called Mind Over Back Pain (truth) and I SWEAR TO YOU- even though at the time, I thought NO WAY THIS CAN BE THE PREMISE OF THIS BOOK NO WAY CAN THIS WORK- guess what? I implemented the changes and I no longer have back pain. (yes, I will do another post on back pain and how to ideally get rid of it, most cases considered).
**Please note I am obviously not a doctor- so take my tips as just that, tips, if you have any serious medical conditions then consult with a doctor if needed. Hopefully that goes without saying.**
So- the past 7 years, I had sleep that required me to take PM every night- sometimes 3x a night to fall asleep. I could not relax, could not get my mind to stop racing and furthermore, my body temp had increased so I needed it really cold at night to sleep comfortably. (Actually research supports that sleeping in a cooler environment is optimal for sleep so consider that-- if you are going to bed with long sleeves plus sweats plus socks, think again.) I also got up several times during the night- and it led to me eating sometimes, which is BAD. I also could not fall back asleep. Overall, because of the extra tossing and turning and sleeping in, I'd waste extra HOURS. I needed 8-9 hours back then.
Today- I can fall asleep with no PM. I sleep easily and deeply and about 6- 6.5 hours. I naturally wake up at 5:45am. WHAT? Yes. I feel better and with all the improved sleep I am getting, I worry less, I stress less. I'm sure this contributes to the success as well.
So- here are my tips and part of my nightly wind-down routine that - when I have shared with others that had sleeping issues, they have experienced dramatic improvements. Ladies- especially- if you have extreme hot flashes or are really hot at night or have migraines or insomnia after incorporating all of this, you know I will say it, you probably have hormonal imbalance and should get blood-work.
I stop working by 8pm. Sometimes we have a client Twitter chat at 8pm but that's less taxing than WORK that requires me to be at my desk, with my glasses on. focusing. I step away from my office, shut my door, leaving my smart phones in my office.
I have my computers set to automatically shut down at 9pm. Sure, I can turn them back on if I want to, but I'm used to it now. I do not work.
Although I'll bring my tablet to bed, I do not open email or do anything related to work. The wind down time of the night is about doing just that- winding DOWN not revving up.
Pretty much every night I take a hot bath with Epsom Salts and Essential Oils.
The essential oils I add currently are Lavender and Tangerine. I have become such a believer in essential oils, I joined the business. So if you'd like to learn more - email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
I do not get headaches like I used to every night- but this partially was due to me finally needing reading glasses. That said, when I do get headaches, I don't head for the Excedrin like I used to- I use peppermint oil. Works for me!
When I have the bath time- it's all candlelight and relaxing music too. I have no phones nearby and I am just breathing and relaxing.
Psst. Want a hint of some outstanding music for relaxation? Solitudes. They have about 700 different CDs and wow they are all spa-like. And y'all know there is nothing I like better, well, almost nothing, than spa time.
After my bath time, I take TIME to take care of my skin. I now exfoliate every day and I usually do this at night. Exfoliating and really cleaning my skin before skincare-- it's the best feeling ever. I invested in the most awesome Clarisonic system and I am obsessed. I was neglecting my skin care routine for TOO long because I thought I didn't have time. WRONG.
SKINCARE. After I have exfoliated (hint: I do my face, my neck and my chest area ladies), I then apply my night cream and eye cream. (I have used Arbonne products for 7+ years and swear by them and YES you can order from me and even sign up to get 20% off all the time. Bammer. My Arbonne site can be found by CLICKING HERE.)
After I exfoliate, I floss. Yes. I floss and brush my teeth. Flossing - we all hate to do it, but it's not just about pretty teeth it prevents a whole world of bad health issues and the more I learn, the more I realize all things are connected in our bodies. All things. Take care of them.
I usually drink sparkling water before bed and I bring a bottle to my nightstand- in case I wake up in the night (rare) I have something to drink right by my bed.
I sleep in a QUALITY bed- I have been blessed with getting a Technogel mattress from our work with Technogel in the past and I cannot recommend this mattress enough - it's made of gel and as such does not conduct body heat. Everyone that has tested out my bed (that sounds wrong, but I mean hopping on to see what it feels like) has been wowed by the comfort factor. My sleep and body temp are so much better in this mattress and I'd say it's for sure worth looking in to. Some people start off with just their pillows- to experience the cooling feel of the gel, then upgrade their mattresses. You can check out their pillows on Amazon by clicking here.
Whether I am at home or in a hotel- THIS IS KEY- I cover up all LED LIGHTS in the room. Remember, I have no cell phone by my bed with blinking notification lights. I put a towel over my alarm clock to cover the lights. I make sure that the TV and DVD lights are off. My room is pitch dark for sleeping and trust me, if you have a ton of LED lights in your room, your sleep will suffer. Start covering up all the lights- and - see next tip:
Do you have room darkening shades? You want to make it possible for your room to be dark. If you are in a hotel, pack binder clips to hold your hotel curtains tight together otherwise the lights from outside peer in and it's the same as LED lights. GET curtains, shades, blinds, whatever. Close them! It counts big time.
Get high thread count sheets and soft pillows. Why do you think you sleep so well at some hotels? Personally I think Westin has the win on the bedding, mattress, pillows, sheets etc. department and wow- go figure, you can order at Amazon, just about everything but their mattresses. In fact I just saw they have their robes so I got me one!
Ambient noise. I use an app on my tablet called RELAX MELODIES- WONDERFUL. I put on my noise of rain plus wind or something- and it plays all night. It is great for tuning out the birds outside my window that decide to chirp at 4am too. ;-) Here is the link in itunes: CLICK HERE
I mentioned I bring my tablet to bed- I also read, but the only thing I do in my bedroom is read books for pleasure- NO business books. I use my tablet for mind-numbing Pinterest drooling.
I keep a ceiling fan on in my room all night long- also supported by studies that show the moving air assists with refreshed sleep.
I take 5mg of Melatonin before bed. DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO TAKE A LOT OF IT- it doesn't work that way. JUST take the 5mg. I use a chewable form right now from Trader Joe's and love it.
I'm now all about essential oils for bed - I put lavender oil on my pillow- ideal for sleep and so relaxing. I put Frankincense on my big toes, on my wrists and behind my ears (my new BFF and essential oil guide guru Marissa told me this is how it's done and she was not joking....there is a reason Jesus got this as a gift y'all. Just sayin) I have always loved Eucalyptus- from the spa, so I typically put some on my hands like they do at my massage and rub my hands together and inhale-- totally clears my sinuses out and smells amazing. Again- if you are interested in essential oils, ping me email@example.com.
I go to bed earlier- used to be at midnight or 1am! Now it's 10:30pm. Earlier to rise is not just a good idea, it's optimal for sleep cycles.
People-- this sounds like a lot but it's effortless and ultimately what I can tell you is that this routine makes me LOOK FORWARD TO MY SLEEP. SLEEP IS LIKE A RETREAT FOR ME, not just "part of my day". There is no stress around it-- even when I travel. I make time for it, I prioritize it. All these things added up have totally transformed my approach, my attitude and my sleep quality. I encourage you to adopt a new RITUAL, a new ROUTINE AROUND BEDTIME.....don't bring work to bed. Don't watch the news before bed. Don't watch scary shows on TV before bed. Wind down. Treat yoself. Come on now.
How many of you have AWFUL SLEEP? Do any of these tips sound dreamy to you? Doable? Do tell. And then, after you incorporate some of these- let me know how they worked!! I'm loving my new sleep life-- truth!! A whole new universe. For real.
**This post contains affiliate links.