Sleep has been a pretty hot topic lately (hello 2017 Nobel Prize winners!), so I’m sure you have all read or heard that sleep is kind of a big deal. I’m not going to get into all of the health benefits of getting enough (7-9hrs) sleep provides because, as you know, brevity is not my strength and there is SO much to talk about! Really, we just need to know HOW to get enough sleep, ammiright??
I already find myself thinking that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do what needs to get done AND prioritize my needs and health AND get enough sleep. So what gives?
If you’re one of the MANY people who is sleeping 4, 5, maybe 6 hours a night just to make life happen, you’re not alone! I work a LOT with my clients on finding ways to not only find the house to get enough sleep but find a way to make the actual sleep happen (and make it GOOD!). Did you know humans are the only animals who willingly delay sleep?! Sometimes having these big brains really work to our detriment.
You may think that you feel fine, just a bit tired. But it’s more than that. It’s not just a discomfort that you are dealing with. Studies are increasingly showing the danger of lack of sleep for not only our brain health and daily functioning but on our actual immune system. Heart disease, obesity, and even cancer have been strongly linked to low quality or quantity of sleep. It should take you 10-15 minutes to fall asleep. If you're falling asleep in less, you are probably sleep deprived.
So it’s time to get serious! And if your health not a big enough push for you to work on it, your weight loss efforts can be completely sabotaged in many ways (hormones, metabolism, cravings, etc.) by your lack of sleep. Listening now?
Now that you’re on board, take this week to try these tips and see if you see some results! It may not happen overnight (literally), but getting your circadian rhythm back on track and creating some routines and habits will absolutely pay off as your body settles in (and thanks you!) and you start to catch up with those much needed ZZZZZzzzzzzz…..
1. Blame it on the kids:
So, it’s PRETTY clear from the studies that short-term sleep loss isn’t as devastating as the longer term sleep issues and patterns, HOWEVER, there are some pretty significant studies that have shown that even FOUR days of interrupted sleep (What?! I had 6 months of a baby who never slept more than 45 minutes at a time!) can affect the way one’s body processes glucose (among so many other dangerous symptoms), which can lead to type 2 diabetes. So call that sleep consultant! She was a godsend for us.
I know it’s short term and we would do anything for these little angels (I say through gritted teeth as my sweetie is pulling on my sleeve and whining for candy at 6:30am), but for you and, especially for them, it’s about your HEALTH! Babies are made to cry to tell you what they need, and you know what? They NEED to sleep. Their health and brain development relies on it! And having parents who aren’t cranky (and aren’t constantly sick!) is imperative.
AND think about your memories - aren't our memories what life is all about?! Don’t you want to remember and treasure this time rather than just feel like you’re getting through it? If that’s your excuse for not getting enough sleep - CALL. HER. NOW. Your baby and your future self will thank you!
2. Drink your dranks EARLIER!:
TONS of studies have shown that booze lowers sleep quality. That's not news. Even just one drink can have an effect on the amount of time you spend in longwave sleep where you are really recharging. Remember how tired you feel after a night of drinking and passing out for 10 hours? Or maybe you’re like me and you wake up after 4 and can’t get back to sleep? It’s a thing. But I'm not telling you to stop drinking or I'm pretty sure you'll stop following my blogs. So if you want to have that drink, hit it early and then round out the night (say, after 7:30pm) with water and herbal teas.
3. Screen time:
You knew this was coming! We already know we're addicted to them so let's put in place some rules to help us stay away from them, if only to impact our health. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, definitely turn off those screens at least an hour before you hit the pillow! If you’ve worked with me before, you know one of my “easy” daily points is Screens Off by 9:30pm. I even include TV in this! But at least put your devices away early.
Morgan of Sleep Pea Consulting (my angel) explains, “It’s all about removing the blue light (which is right on par with sunlight) and giving your body a chance to produce higher amounts of melatonin toward the end of the day. Melatonin helps switch the brain from daytime to nighttime mode. And it's doubtful you need melatonin supplements to make that happen...just a little bit of focus on your nighttime rituals and you should be good!”
Added bonus, you can stop thinking about work and all that life is throwing your way. Quiet your mind and just be present. Which leads me to my next tip:
Yep - it’s not just for hippies, it’s amazing and just right for you. And if you’re not already doing it you should. There are plenty of guided meditations you can use to help lull you to sleep in apps like Headspace and Calm and even on YouTube. The one I love and refer my clients to is this set specifically designed to help with deep sleep. But if you haven’t tried meditation, do this FREE 30 day meditation challenge. Take 5 minutes a day to destress and focus on the present. I promise you will feel a difference!
5. Last but not least, essential oils:
They help support the hormones and nervous system responses that our body needs in various situations. We have so much coming at us all day, our body can easily go on the fritz and not always be in tune with what we NEED when we need it. Facebook posts when we are relaxing and scrolling on our phones can cause a physical fight or flight response or *ahem* staring at a screen when it’s time to sleep can cause our bodies to perk up in response to the light and we may need a little reminder for our bodies to remember that it’s actually time to sleep.
Diffusing lavender, orange, or blends like "Peace and Calming" while you read a book or wind down with a short meditation can help signal to your body that it is almost time to sleep. Oils like Frankincense and blends like "Stress Away" can be diluted and applied to the feet to promote an uplifting mood to help you turn off the anxious thoughts and to-do lists of the day.
In an age when technology, long work days and endless access to news sources and reminders of tasks that need doing, Essential Oils can help remind our bodies what we actually need when we need it. They definitely help in the bedroom (and not just for sleeping - check out this webinar on Sexy Essential Oils). Contact Caitlin for a free consult to get after your EO needs!
Ok, Savages! You know what to do now. Let’s get it done and Live Healthy, Be Happy! You’ve got this! Let me know how you did after a week of getting your sleep sorted out (spoiler: you’re gonna feel amazing).