Out of my 5 Simple Steps to Healthier Skin, getting better sleep was the most difficult for me. I am a natural night owl, and my 5yo son wakes up ready to start the day at 6:00 sharp every day. I have had to train myself to go to sleep on time so that I can function well the next day. It hasn't been easy, but I have made it a priority because I know how important sleep is to my life.
When I don't get enough sleep is shows up in so many ways. I have less energy and am less productive with my day. I have less patience with my boys. My focus and concentration go out the window making it hard to get anything done. I am too tired to care about what food I eat, and I eat a whole lot more junk food. My eyes get puffy and dark, my skin turns dull, I am more prone to break outs, and my hormones aren't balanced as well.
Sleep is super important.
When life gets stressful and we get overwhelmed it can be easy to sacrifice sleep first. Our culture does not value sleep, it values work. However, I have found that when I sacrifice sleep, it shows up in the quality of my work, so if I value good work I should also value good sleep.
What Worked for Me
I read countless articles and tried numerous methods and tricks to try to get my night owl self to go to sleep at a decent hour. Below is a list of the ones that worked best for me:
1) Give yourself permission to sleep
I know you're busy. I know you have a thousand things to get done. I know those things are important. Sleep is also important. Getting a good night's sleep will help you work more efficiently. Sleep is also important for your long term health. Being drained and tired all the time is not benefiting you or anyone around you. The first thing you have to do to get better sleep is give yourself permission to get better sleep.
2) Screens off at 30-60min before bed.
This is because the light from your phone/tv/computer keeps your brain alert, and doesn't allow it to start releasing the melatonin that is needed to help you fall asleep. To help get your body ready for sleep try dimming the lights in the house and staying away from screens 30-60 minutes before bed time.
3) Mind Dump
One of the main things that keeps me from falling asleep at night is all of the thoughts running through my head once I hit the pillow. I think about what I didn't get done today, what I need to remember for tomorrow, what groceries I'm running out of, how my ceiling fan motor works, my brain is basically a big free-for-all at night. The best way for me to combat this is was to start writing my thoughts before bed. I grab a journal and I just start writing. I don't worry about organizing my thoughts, that can be done tomorrow. I just write. If it hits my brain, it goes on the paper. This helps to clear my head, because I know all of those important thoughts are written down where I can address them later. After that, when those thoughts run through my brain, I can reassure myself that it is written down so I don't need to worry about it.
4) Breathing and Meditation
The breathing excercise from my Stress article is a great way to clear your body of stress before going to bed. Simply sit in a quiet place and take five deep breaths. Inhale for five seconds, and exhale for five seconds five times. This is a quick way to calm your body and mind, and prepare yourself for a good night's sleep.
Another great breathing and meditation resource can be found on the Sleep Foundation's website here http://sleepfoundation.org/insomnia/content/relaxation-exercise
5) EFT Tapping
Tapping is an acupressure tool that can quickly start helping you get a good night's sleep. Gene Monterastelli of Tappingqanda.com has a great audio that you can use at night to help get a good night's sleep. His website also has a wealth of information on Tapping in general and the many ways it can benefit your life.
For the sleep audio visit http://tappingqanda.com/2010/07/get-a-good-nights-rest-tap-along-bonus-podcast/
For basic information about EFT Tapping visit: http://tappingqanda.com/learntapping/
Some light stretching before bed can help to clear the body of excess energy and stress without being overstimulating. Here are some great before bed stretches. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/31/yoga-for-sleep_n_3505226.html
Essential oils and plant extracts have powerful emotional benefits. Some great essential oils for sleep and relaxation are Lavender, Bergamot, Marjoram, Cedarwood, Vetiver and Roman Chamomile. Simply add your favorite oil to a spray bottle with distilled water and spray on your pillow and sheets before bed. You can also add your favorite oil to a diffuser and diffuse it in your room while you sleep.
I would love to know which of these tips you found most helpful, let me know in the comments below.
If you would like to learn more about how you can improve your skin from the inside out email me at email@example.com to set up a time to chat with me one-on-one.