I’ve read from many sources that missing one night of of sleep is cognitively the same as having a .1 blood alcohol level – too high to drive. People who get the right kind of sleep (i.e. rest that they need) make better decisions, make fewer mistakes, and are overall more balanced and centered. High performers like Arianna Huffington are finally talking about sleep’s importance to success and productivity; she even wrote a book on it. It took her passing out from exhaustion to acknowledge that getting the right amount of sleep was crucial to her health and overall success. Here are some tips to make sure that you succeed in getting a good night’s rest.
1. Stop eating three hours before bedtime. Your digestive system is working right after you eat and needs time to settle down. If it’s working while you sleep, you will not be able to maximize your rest.
2. Turn off all electronics (i.e. TV, cell phone, laptop, tablets, etc.) at least one hour before bedtime, as they stimulate the brain. If need your phone close by (if it’s your alarm, for example), turn it over so you don’t sense any notifications lighting up your screen. Read a book instead of your tablet. Dim your surrounding lights to prepare for your slumber.
3. Avoid alcohol before bed. Alcohol may make you feel sleepy at first, but since it has a ton of sugar, your body will eventually interpret is as energy and might “turn on” to try and use it.
4. As the temperatures rise, so might the temptation to stay awake. If your body is running hot, place a damp towel around the back of your neck or soak your feet to cool yourself down.
5. Stand in a forward bend. Folding your upper body forward over your lower body puts your spine in flexion, aiding the down regulation of your nervous system.
6. If you need assistance falling asleep, drop several drops of Chamomile liquid extract in warm water. It is a gentle plant-based extract that works wonders in helping your body and mind rest.
7. Deal with it or let it go. Any thoughts, good or bad, that swirl around in your brain should be addressed or shelved. Write something down (a task in a to-do list or a thought in your journal) to help let it go.
8. Wear a sleep mask or use blackout curtains. I personally am very light sensitive. If I want to make sure that I don’t get up before my alarm, I will wear my sleep mask (it’s actually a little sexy and won’t necessarily alienate your bedmate).
9. Design a deal with your bedmate. I need more sleep than my man does. When I have to get up early, he respects the fact that I have to turn in before he does and we save our late nights for date nights.
10. Exhale longer than you inhale while you are lying down. Longer exhales also assist in down regulating your nervous system.
Prioritize your sleep and forget about any societal stigmas that say you are wrong for doing so. In essence, you are taking care of yourself to better the people and the world around you. It’s commonly known that when sleep deprived, we are irritable, unfocused and even experience pain. Don’t wait until you are exhausted to take care of yourself. Start tonight and sleep tight. Tomorrow you will be inspired, joyful, productive, and effective!
Regina Santos, Fabletics Master