Published on January 30th, 2012 | by thevyne0
Sleep. As babies we basked in it. As teenagers we avoided it. As young adults we challenged it and now as grown adults we’re lacking it. With all the research that’s out there on sleep, scientists still technically don’t know why our bodies go into sleep mode. What we do know is what happens when we don’t have sleep and more importantly all the great benefits we get from sleep. Regular restful sleep has been attributed to lowering high blood pressure, reducing the risk for stroke and heart attack, improving the immune system, weight loss, daytime alertness, increased performance and just looking better in general. Who doesn’t want all of that?!?
As important as sleep is, most of us are not getting enough of it and the amount we are getting is not the least bit recuperative. The reason for this is generally a lack of proper sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is basically a variety of different practices/routines/rituals that are necessary to have normal, quality nighttime sleep and full daytime alertness. It’s what you do to signal to your body that its time to break the connection to the stress of the day and get ready to go to sleep.
Having a proper sleep hygiene routine can do wonders for promoting restful sleep. If sleep is currently evading you, here are a few tips you can try:
Tip #1: Get the Right Tools – Just like you need gear to work out, you need good gear to sleep too! One recommendation is if you haven’t changed out your pillows in the last year, do so. Also, cover the pillow with a hypo-allergenic cover before putting your pillow case over it. Other tools you’ll need are a comfy set of sheets (we recommend these from Bed Bath and Beyond) and a comfortable jammy outfit. Something soft and loose fitting.
Tip #2: Drop Your Body Temperature – Best way to do this is to take a wonderfully hot shower or bath before bed. Studies have shown that the drop in body temperature after you get out of the shower/bath helps promote a feeling of sleepiness.
Tip #3: Treat Your Senses – Treat your senses to the aroma of some soothing, stress relieving fragrances like eucalyptis or lavender. You can try the pillow mists from Bath and Body Works (my favorite is Lavender Vanilla).
Tip #4: Sip a Little Tea – Chamomile tea is great for preparing your body to rest. Try adding some milk and honey as both ingredients contain tryptophan, a substance that promotes sleep.
Tip #5: Write It and Release It – If you incorporate journaling into your sleep hygiene, you’ll find it’s easier to keep up the habit. It’s also helpful in promoting sleep because it allows you to write down your stressors and thoughts for the day and release it for the evening. Recommend you keep it right in your night stand for easy access.
Tip #6: Select a Wind Down Activity – As much as I enjoy watching television, the bright lights, sound, action, etc. are generally not great for promoting sleep. But if you must have it on, try turning down the volume and setting the timer so it turns off after 45 minutes. Another alternative is to read a book. Literally, curl up in your bed, open your book and read yourself to sleep.
Tip #7: Keep the Lights Off – If you have to wake up and use the restroom, do your best not to turn on any lights. You don’t want to send your body a signal that it’s time to start waking up yet.