Guest Author - Meredith Ball
Sleep is such an important part of our daily routine. With six to eight hours of sleep a night we are replenishing our organs, brain and blood supply. We know we have gotten enough sleep consistently when we are waking up with energy and focus.
Looking at what you do before you get to bed can help to make a difference in your sleep habits. A lifestyle that includes more than a moderate amount of alcohol, sugar, caffeine, high-fat and high-carb foods interferes with a healthy metabolism and regular bodily rhythm. As a result, we may not feel rested when our heads hit the pillow. Try eating six small meals filled with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and plenty of water to see what a difference this will make in the quality of your sleep.
If you are stressing out all day everyday then your sleep will suffer. Take time to meditate, do deep breathing, or yoga during the day to keep calm. Once your adrenaline and cortisol takes over your body has a a hard time keeping a balanced daily rhythm which will ultimately keep you awake at night.
Exercise is great during the day to maintain healthy sleep, but try to avoid exercise right before bedtime. Movement of this type will create a sense of energy and confuse our bodies into thinking the day is just starting instead of winding down. Our energy also gets revved up if we eat meals or drink a lot of beverage right before bedtime. Try to have your last snack and final large glass of water two hours before bedtime.
Instead, establish a set bedtime routine that involves relaxation and calm. Try to get to bed the same time every night and do the same routine before bed. For example, set out all your clothes and your childrenís clothes and items for the next day. Then, after you tuck everyone in, take a warm bath. Listen to some relaxing music with a lavender sachet tucked under your pillow and drift off to slumberland. Repeat whatever you choose as your routine every night so that your body is used to this process and automatically follows along. This is a great way to establish a calming end to the day for all members of your family.
If you do all of these and find you are having trouble falling asleep check to be sure your room temperature isnít higher than seventy degrees or lower than sixty degrees. Then, check to be sure you are wearing your most comfortable pajamas and that your bed and sleeping position are also as comfortable as possible. Make sure there aren't bright lights in your bedroom or noise. Setting the scene for sleep is just as important.
Last but not least, if you are still challenged to get some zzzzzzs, try visualization of your most relaxing place. Perhaps you spent time lolling on a beach in Hawaii or can imagine that scene. Visualize that image until you can feel yourself there, relaxing into a peaceful slumber.