Guest Author - Gretchen Goel
Are you one of those “non-morning people” who hits the snooze button on your alarm clock at least three times before stumbling out of bed and heading straight to the coffee maker? Do you have trouble falling asleep at night and often turn to sleeping pills? Sleep is critically important to your overall health and wellbeing. If you’re getting 6 or less hours on a continual basis, over the short term you will weaken your immune system. Long term you could be setting yourself up for serious health issues like Type II Diabetes or Heart Disease. Sleeping Pills, whether they are over the counter or prescription strength, are a short term solution and do not correct the underlying issues as to why you are not getting enough sleep.
Getting 8 hours of mostly uninterrupted sleep improves your short term memory, decision making, mood, and energy level. Imagine jumping out of bed with a burst of energy to start the day without needing that cup of coffee to get you going. It is possible! Here are some helpful ideas to help improve your quality and quantity of sleep at night.
1. Exercise daily! Exercising is one sure way to make certain you are tired by 9pm. If you are not exercising at least 45 minutes 5 to 6 days a week in your target heart rate, make it a priority and slowly work up to that level. Most people say they don’t have time. Make time! The best time to workout is in the mornings.
2. Check the air quality in your home. Are you changing your A/C filter at least every two months? If you have old duct work, consider having it cleaned or replaced by a reputable company. Place a quality air filtration system in your room if you have allergies.
3. Turn off all sources of stimulation in your home early in the evening. Make it a rule to have the TV and Computer off by 7 pm each night at the latest. Keeping these two appliances on late into the evening prolongs your bed time and if you have read an intense email message or watched a violent TV program, it can cause you to lose sleep.
4. Get a bed time ritual. If you have kids, you know all about the necessity of bedtime routines! So once they are in bed, maybe have a cup of herbal tea, like Yogi Tea’s Bed Time Tea, with your spouse or significant other. Then take a warm bath or do some restorative yoga poses before you get into bed. Have a consistent bed time between 9 and 10pm. The earlier you get to bed before midnight, the more restful your sleep will be.
5. Get everything out of your head before your head hits the pillow. Write your To-Do list down in your day planner and keep it next to your bed, so if you think of anything after you turn off the light, you can quickly write it down. Nothing ruins your sleep worse than running things over and over in your mind so you don’t forget them the next day. If you’ve had a particularly stressful day, do some journal writing and meditation or deep breathing. Getting the negative energy out and working things out on paper can help your mind to relax and keep you from having vivid dreams at night that interrupt sleep.
If after trying all of the above you still feel like you need a little something else, try dotting some organic lavender essential oil on your pulse points before bed or spray your pillow with lavender water. Rescue Sleep by Bach Flower Remedies is also useful for promoting sleep. Just spray it on your tongue and wait for your sleep to arrive. May sweet dreams and happy days be in store for you.