There has been a trend of sleep not being important, articles that say “sleep when you are dead” to promote productivity that lead to success actually end up doing the opposite. Bu the truth is by cutting your sleep you end up losing productivity. You see your body and brain needs to go through the entire sleep cycle in order to balance your nervous system, your immune system, your hormones and your metabolism. When you deprive yourself of your much needed sleep you actually ended up hurting yourself in the long run. This is why it is so important to give your body the exact amount of time it needs to sleep.
Are you sleep deprived? Do you wake up before your alarm clock rings feeling energized and ready to take on the day, or do you hit the snooze hoping to catch a few more minutes of zzz before you drag yourself out of bed? If you are hitting the snooze then this is literary your wake up call that you are sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation is real and the symptoms include weight gain, mood swings, fatigue, irritability and feeling cloudy headed. These symptoms can lead to you drinking excess amounts of caffeine or energy drinks that can cause your body to get dehydrated and unbalanced. In some cases your mood swings and irritability can cause you to be more negative and even rude towards the people around you causing you to have unstable and unhealthy relationships.
The time is NOW to take back your sleep and it all begins with these proven techniques that will leave you feeling healthy and energized every morning!
1. Commit to going to sleep at the same time everyday. Find a time that is realistic and that works for your schedule. For me I go to sleep at 11pm every night. This is essential because we all have an internal clock in our bodies that gets used to a certain sleep pattern time. The rule is to stay within an hour, but no more than two within your set bedtime. If you go over the hour, it will take your body another night or two to get back in-sync. Know that it will take a few months for your body to get used to your bedtime, so be patient with yourself.
2. Begin your night time routine 2 hours before bed. If you chose 11pm to be your bedtime, your nighttime routine should begin at 9am. During this time, dim all lights, limit screen time (if you have to be on your phone or computer set it to the dimmest setting and yellow tint). Why? Because even though technology has evolved into giving us light 24/7 it does not mean that our bodies have caught up. We have sensors on our skin that know what time of the day it is depending on how bright it is around us. This means if it is bright at night our body thinks it is daylight and will not omit the natural melatonin that will make you feel sleepy. There are supplements you can take, but I am a big believer in no short cuts. Your body has what you need to allow yourself to fall into a deep sleep, trust it.
Bedtime routine tips: Drinking herbal tea like camomile or a natural sleepy time tea will help prepare your body for deep rest. After the tea cools, hold the mug between your palms and wrap yourself up in a cozy blanket. This will naturally relax your nervous system. Meditation is also another great activity to incorporate into your bedtime routine, it puts your mind in an alpha state of consciousness that will make it really easy to fall into a deep state of rest. I use the InsightTimer app, lay flat on my yoga mat while elevating my legs with a strap or yoga block. There are timed quiet meditations and an entire library of guided meditations, even ones specifically created to help you enter a deep relaxed state of being that will prepare you for sleep.
3. Expose your body to daylight during the day. Make sure you are not in direct sunlight, and are always wearing sunscreen even indoors. I put my office desk by a window and open it to let it hit my skin just enough to let my body know it is daylight. Be creative with how you want to get your daily daylight, remember that every problem has a solution. The reason why this is essential is again we have sensors on our skin that will know that it is daylight, so when the sun sets our body will naturally begin to produce melatonin to help us go into a deep rest at night.
4. Blackout your entire sleeping room. This means any little glowing light needs to be covered with black tape and the windows need to be covered in blackout curtains. Again this is because our skin will be able to sense any light and not allow you to go into your deep rem sleep if any lights are still present. I use black electrical tape to cover those little glowing lights on my electronics.
5. Wake up at the same time every morning. If you went to bed at 11 and woke up 7am and still feel tired then chances are you need more sleep. If you do then add more time to your sleep by going to bed earlier or waking up later (if you can). The key is to find your sweet spot of the amount you need, you will know it when you naturally wake up before your alarm rings. It took me months but now I do not even set my alarm in the morning, that is how much I trust myself. It will take time, but eventually you too can get there.
Note: Women need more sleep than men, and even more while they are on their menstrual cycle. It is nice to go to bed at the same time with your partner, but if one of you is feeling amazing after 7hrs and the other is feeling sleep deprived then be aware that could lead to an unhealthy relationship. There are solutions to this, and you can both work together as a team to find what is best for you both. The key is not to criticize, judge or make the other person feel bad or guilty or need more sleep than the other.
It is also important to know that you will need more sleep if you have exerted yourself physically, mentally or physically. Give yourself permission to rest and allow yourself to recover. The most incredible things happen when you let go and allow your body to heal itself. Sometimes all we have to do is get out of our own way to let nature do the work.
You are a beautiful creature ready to live in your power. Remember to love yourself and be patient with yourself, give yourself rest and time to heal so that you can become the incredible being that God intended you to be.
Sending positive energy and blessings to you.