One complaint I hear repeatedly is of folks not sleeping well or spells of wakefulness during the night. Consider your morning ritual. You likely shower, dress, drink coffee, read or talk to your family in roughly the same order on workdays. We don’t have the same concept of winding down and setting our selves up for sleep success as we do for winding ourselves up for day success.
Today is the conclusion of National Sleep Awareness Week. The National Sleep Foundation (and my Fitbit) recommend 7-9 hours of sleeps for adults. 30% of adults sleep less than 6. A little piece of trivia is that the average night’s sleep 130 years ago before the lightbulb was developed = 9 hours. Hello? 30% pay cut for your body. The pay cut to the body causes all kinds of hormonal repercussions! Who wants a hormonal train wreck in their body?
Maybe I’ll talk about the science of hormones another day, but after reading the research, I began a bedtime routine a few months ago. It seems so obvious now that I’m well underway that while I had already eliminated the ubiquitous “blue” light, I could do a little more to have deep restful sleep!
The amazing rituals are grouped by benefits.
- Slow down. Keep the lights low and avoid digital driven light. Eat at least 3-4 hours before bed (might have to shift to larger midday meal if you get home late). Exercise earlier in the day and if work or problems are circling your brain go for a short walk. Stretch.
- Unwind with a warm bath, create a tea ritual – make an herbal tea, which can itself promote healthy deep sleep, then do nothing else but sit, sip and savor the tea. Kind of like a tea meditation. Speaking of meditation, I have set aside 5 minutes to meditate right next to my bed before I crawl in. Avoid alcohol after dinner. Write in a gratitude journal.
- Set a regular bedtime like you had when you were a child. Wake up at the same time. Over a month or so your body will equilibrate and expect to sleep. Easy to say but use the same self-discipline that serves you successfully during the day to achieve superior sleep.
- Avoid over-stimulation at night. Defer taxing conversations and reschedule them for the daytime, refuse to rehash work stress with your partner, build resilience by reframing homework with your kids and other stressful activities as opportunities for growth. Use technology to watch the news and suspenseful TV shows in the morning, afternoon or very early evening.
With consistent attention, you can enjoy deeper sleep.