Sleeping and being in bed have always been some of my favorite things to do. I love the feeling of being wrapped in layers of soft sheets and blankets. Just thinking about it relaxes me. Plus, I've always been a vivid dreamer - making sleep time an interesting, never-know-what-to-expect kind of adventure.
So, I prioritize sleep. I kinda fall apart without it. I've even had a few astrology readings that mention how crucial sleep is to those born on April 11th 🤔🌌. Lately, I'm hearing more and more people say, "Why am I so tired?" or "I couldn't sleep well last night." So, here are my top 5 pro tips to help you sleep better tonight, and create solid bedtime habits on the regular.
1. Let there be less light!
I'm a solid sleeper, but I'm also very light sensitive. If I'm camping or living in a beach hut (wishful thinking coming through right now) without much electricity I fall asleep EARLY. Like the sun goes down and I'm fading with it. It can be so hard to do this in our daily life. We have so much artificial light constantly around us. So, to help cue my pineal gland (which responds to light and communicates to our brain that it's time to go to sleep) that it's time to start getting sleepy I've started setting a reminder on my phone to turn the lights down at 9:00 pm. Once I turn them down that first time, I start getting sleepy and keep turning off more and more until I go to bed. It works every time!
PS - This, of course, includes turning down the light on the computer and setting an, "off the computer deadline" every night. Install the free download, Flux to your computer to block the blue light that can be overstimulating in the evening hours.
2. Enjoy it!
This may seem a little cheesy, but one of the best ways to enjoy your time in bed and sleep better is to pay attention to how pleasant it is. Focus on how relaxed and sleepy the different parts of the body feel where they are resting on the bed. Think about how nice it is to lay down at the end of a busy day. Feel the ease of your head resting on the pillow. Stretch out, get comfy, and enjoy it like you would your favorite activity!
Studies have shown that positive thinking alone can cure insomnia. Often, when we aren't sleeping well or are having a hard time falling asleep, the thing that ends up keeping us awake is our stress about not sleeping, thinking about how early we have to get up, or all the things we have to do later. While this is totally natural, it is entirely possible to retrain your mind to think about something else. It might take a little time to learn this new thought pattern, but it's totally worth it. There are always going to be things that aren't worth thinking about, so this exercise can prove to be useful in other areas of life too.
3. Write it Out!
Towards the end of the workday or some time at night (not too close to bedtime!), I make a list of anything I need or want to do the next day, in the upcoming week, or things that I didn't get done that day. When I write I imagine those things leaving my mind and getting solidly laid down on the paper for me to pick back up when it's the right time. I leave that list away from my bed space to keep my to-do mind separate from my resting and sleeping oriented mind.
4. Make a worry box/God/Universe/giveaway box!
This is another sleep trick that can be great practice for other parts of life. I learned this from one of my favorite books, Outrageous Openness, by Tosha Silver. Worry is one of the main culprits of sleeplessness. So, I started giving away all of my worries to a worry box. It's super straightforward. You buy or use a box you've already got, and when you start to worry you write down whatever you're concerned about. When you write it out you let the stress and nervous energy move out of your system onto the paper. Then, you place the paper in the box (which at that point contains all the worried energy). If it helps you can offer it to God, the Universe or whatever feels right for you. Or, you can simply close the worry away into the box. The act of writing it out hugely helps to shift the feeling of concern. Then, whenever you begin to think about it again, you remind yourself that you've let go fo that worry, that it's in the box and you're done with it. This may sound overly simple, but it makes a BIG difference in shifting your stress and cutting the worry cycle off before it takes over and disrupts hours of sleep. We all know that worrying doesn't actually help solve problems, and this practice gives us a tangible, material action to address it. 🙌🏼
5. Cleanse the day away!
This one's pretty simple. Take a good shower or bath before you go to bed. Let all those negative ions from flowing water relax you and dial down your nervous system before you lay down. As you rinse or soak imagine all the energy, impact of others, actions and to-dos of the day washing away. Do all the things you need to do to be fully ready for sleep before said shower or bath! Brush your teeth, turn the lights down, peel back the sheets, lay our your bed clothes. Go straight from the tub right to bed! I love this one. It helps me feel more relaxed when I go to sleep, and helps me start fresh the next morning. ✨🛁
Other suggestions, ideas or feedback?! We're always available at firstname.lastname@example.org!