I was once asked, “What is the one thing holding you back from living your absolute, healthiest life?” Without hesitation, I immediately answered “sleep.” Even as a little girl, I was always hyper-aware of nighttime noises (in fact, my sister and I had to move into separate bedrooms when we were quite young, because I expressed frustration over her loud breathing).
Throughout my life, I can recall many times, many phases of life, when sleep was a real struggle. And to this day, I can’t say I’ve figured it out completely, but I’ve gotten better…and I refuse to settle. I will not throw in the towel and accept mediocre sleep. I care too much about my health to give up. So I keep fighting- I listen to my body and pay attention to which habits deter my sleep, and which improve it. I watch how food, vitamins, supplements, my menstrual cycle, caffeine, and stress, play a roll in my quality of sleep.
If you are someone who struggles with sleep, you are not alone- I hear you, loud and clear…and I’m sharing these tips for you…a few things I do when I want to improve the quality of my sleep.
5 WAYS I IMPROVE MY SLEEP
- Write out a to-do list a couple hours before bed. One of the things I notice about myself…I’ll crawl into bed and immediately start thinking about an email I didn’t send, a section of a Pure Barre class I should’ve reviewed, or a text I forgot to reply to…the moment I lay down, all those thoughts seem to spiral through my mind. When I consistently use my day planner, and specifically, plan out my day the night before, I seem to have an easier time settling my mind at bedtime. There’s peace in knowing the tasks I’ll need to accomplish the next day are already written out.
- No electronics 30 minutes before bed. I wish I could say this is easy for me, but it’s not. We live in a world in which electronics rule…it’s easy to get wrapped up in Instagram, Facebook, television shows, work emails, etc., and yet, staying “wired” is one of the primary reasons so many of us do not get decent shut-eye. Here’s the thing…(and I speak for myself)…staying on social media has a domino effect. One minute you’re watching a fashion blogger do a try-session at Nordstrom, the next minute, you’ve got a Nordstrom shopping cart full of items. “Wait, Nordstrom doesn’t carry my size?!…I better google this and find another retailer who does…” You see what I’m saying? This is something I have to intentionally work on every night, but I do notice the nights I turn my phone off earlier, I seem to relax earlier…and thus, get to sleep faster.
- Wear a sleep mask. This might not be for everyone, but I find the darker my bedroom, the better. We have blinds on our bedroom windows, but they definitely do not block out all light. I find when I cover my eyes with a mask, I fall into a deeper sleep (and I think science backs me up on this one).
- Sip a bit of magnesium an hour before bedtime. I used to religiously take an all-natural sleep supplement (I used the brand Rescue Remedy). The last year or so, I find myself relying on supplements less and less. After lots of research (and talking with my doctor), I started incorporating more magnesium into my diet. Magnesium is crucial for so many processes in the body, and lack of magnesium can lead to difficulty falling asleep. I love to add a bit of Natural Vitality Calm to my water before bed and I really believe adding more magnesium to my diet has made me an overall, better sleeper.
- Diffuse lavender or other relaxing oils. When my sleep seems fitful, I love bringing our doTerra diffuser into our bedroom. I either use the serenity blend or straight up lavender at bedtime- the soothing aroma really brings a feeling of relaxation. If you don’t have a diffuser, I think it’s a great tool to amp up the zen in your bedroom.
Question of the day: What’s your #1 tip for getting better sleep?