Sleep is undeniably life giving. We cannot go long without sleep before we feel tired, cranky or even unable to perform simple day to day tasks. Consider the last time you interacted with brand new parents, a doctor who just worked a 48 hour shift, or even high school or college students who can’t help but overload their schedules leaving little time for rest. Sleep has a direct impact on our brain, performance, emotions and even our skin. Though at times our sleep is merely used as survival, it can be used as a means of thriving given the appropriate care. It can be challenging to maximize the amount of sleep we’re getting, but with a little attention to before bed habits we can set ourselves up for better and longer sleep.
Sleep has a direct impact on our brain, performance, emotions and even our skin.
From the moment we wake up, our entire day is leading up to the moment that we will lay down and rest our heads once again. So, though there are specific routines we can implement right before bed, there are other things we can be conscious of as we go about our day such as what we’re eating and when, taking naps, and how much activity our bodies get.
Eating starts shortly after we wake (we recommend drinking 16 oz of water first thing to get your system up and running before reaching for that cup of coffee) and continues throughout the day, so it’s important that we have a good understanding of how it can benefit us. There have been several studies done which link food and sleep, however, there have been many different outcomes when it comes to discovering which specific foods promote better sleep. Each body is a little different and can have varying responses to different foods, but what it really comes down to is consistently choosing healthy foods. Two foods that are suggested for improved sleep are almonds and walnuts due to their high amounts of melatonin. Chamomile tea is another great option for promoting relaxation in the body. It is known for its calming qualities, which can help ease the mind and body before bed. If you feel the need to make a change, but you aren’t sure where to start, consider paying specific attention to how late you’re eating and allow more space between your last meal or snack and when you go to bed. One of the more obvious things that can improve sleep is to not drink or eat anything with caffeine in the evenings. The less we do to confuse our internal clock, the more our bodies will reward us with punctual sleep.
The less we do throughout the day to confuse our internal clock, the more our bodies will reward us with punctual sleep.
Routine is essential for exceptional sleep. If we’re constantly waking up at different times every day, or maintain a sporadic bedtime (the two often affecting each other) then our bodies will get confused and have trouble falling asleep or waking up when we need them to. This includes naps. Now we know we’ve all been in a place where there’s nothing our bodies needed more than a good nap and there’s nothing wrong with that. Just remember that timing is important, so if you’re planning on going to bed in the next few hours, try to hold out.
Another very important aspect of getting a good night’s rest is making sure our bodies get enough physical exercise. Sometimes rather than being too tired, we aren’t tired enough resulting in a restless night of sleep because we still have energy that wasn’t quite used up. Implementing some kind of exercise routine into your daily activities may ensure that both body and mind are equally tired and ready for bed when night comes.
There are plenty of things to handle during the day, but protecting your sleep will lead to healthy glowing skin, a calm soul, and a clear mind - all good things to start your next day.
When night does come and you begin preparing for bed, there are a few things you can add to your routine to ensure a quick and restful drift into sleep. Setting up your ideal sleep environment is one of them. For some of you, that may mean that you need your bed to be made before you get into it. For others, it may mean a lit candle or low lighting, maybe even wearing matching pajamas and cozy slippers. Essentially, have something that means bedtime to you. Next, try to avoid too much activity. Now, we realize we just mentioned that activity is important, but if it is done at night there is a greater chance that it will have a negative impact on your sleep. Too much activity and bright lights are two things that must be limited in your night time routine. These two things tell our brain to wake up because they mimic the sunrise and your start to the day. To accomplish this, try putting your phone and computer out of reach where you won’t be tempted to check your email or scroll through Instagram. One of our favorite substitutions of screen time is some quiet music and a good book. Or for some, it’s a great opportunity to get in a little journaling which can be very therapeutic before bed.
To end your routine, one of the best things we believe you can do, is to mentally put everything away and tell yourself that it’s time for bed. A great way to visualize this is to pretend that you are erasing a chalkboard with all of your thoughts, to-do lists, party planning, etc. There are plenty of things to handle during the day, but protecting your sleep will lead to healthy glowing skin, a calm soul, and a clear mind - all good things to start your next day.