Creating healthy sleep habits
I share my current wind down ritual
After suffering from adrenal fatigue two years ago, I did a lot of study and research into how I can synchronize my day/night cycle. I learned that what I do in the morning and evening affected my circadian rhythm. So over the next two years I worked super hard prioritising my sleep.
You may or may not know that our circadian rhythm is super important as it regulates body temperature, hormone secretion, digestion and blood pressure, among other things.
As a result of getting my circadian rhythm back on track, I've experienced better quality sleep, more energy, improved mood, and an all round happier life.
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I share my top tips:
What I do in the morning, really affects my sleep later at night. The first thing I do when I wake up is open the windows and blinds for some air flow and sunlight. I go outside not long after to absorb some vitamin d from the sun. The sun affects our hormone regulation, nervous system, immune system, muscle function and biological clock.
I never look directly at the sun during the day, but I like to get the sun to hit the sides of my eyes without sun glasses. That's right, no sunglasses!
The brain’s pineal gland benefits directly from the sun stimulation through the eyes. The pineal produces melatonin, an important hormone made at night.
Melatonin is important for proper sleep and can help prevent depression.
So getting that morning sun even for 15 minutes is really important to me. I also try to avoid midday sun as the suns rays are very harsh. Early morning or late in the afternoon is the safest in my opinion.
While I am outside I take off my shoes and earth my feet to the ground. This is known as "earthing". The old me would have completely judged anyone who was walking barefoot outside and shouted "hippy!", haha. All jokes aside, after learning all the amazing benefits of grounding to the earth I cannot get enough.
When earthing you need to be standing on a natural surface, like soil, sand or grass. 15 minutes of earthing a day is beneficial. I tend to do this in the backyard as I feel it is safer than walking around in public barefoot!
Lots of studies are being released supporting the idea that earthing draws electrons from the earth into the body. It regulates our autonomic nervous system and keeps our circadian rhythms synchronized with the day/night cycle.
NIGHTLY WIND DOWN
I start my wind down process after dinner. I try not to eat too close to bed time as I don't want my body working hard digesting food while I am sleeping. Sleep is when our bodies repair and rejuvenate!
After I've washed the dishes and cleaned up, I start to dim the lights, play relaxing and soothing music, and diffuse some calming oils like lavender.
Research suggests that exposure to blue light before sleep may distort our natural (circadian) rhythm by decreasing melatonin production and make it hard to fall asleep.
I turn off the TV and all electronics at least an hour before bed. I have also changed the setting on my phone to reduce the blue light, and I downloaded an app called Twilight. (I have an android phone, but there's lots of other similar apps out there)
The Twilight app makes your device screen adapt to the time of the day. It filters the flux of blue light emitted by your phone or tablet after sunset and protects eyes with a soft red filter.
Red light is what you want to be exposed to at night, so if you need some light in your bedroom, a salt lamp is a great idea as it emits a warm ambiance.
After I put Little Miss to bed, I have a beautiful warm shower, continue with my skin care ritual, and then I make my way to my private room which I call my 'sanctuary'. This is a little spot I've dedicated in my home just for me. This is where I unwind.
I first scan my body and see how it's feeling. I like to start off with my mindfulness practices by laying on my Align Mat, which is an acupressure mat. I sometimes use this throughout the day if I am feeling stiff or have been on the computer for too long.
Our body consists of thousands of tiny pressure points which are also known as ‘meridian’ points. These meridian points connect to various parts of the body. Stimulating the points is said to improve energy flow in the body.
An acupressure mat, such as the Alignmat, works by applying pressure that triggers the meridian points and promotes the flow of energy. There's so many benefits.
After around ten minutes, I then move onto my deep breathing and meditation practices. Both of these practices have been extremely beneficial to my mental and physical health, and help me be in a calm place before bed.
The deep breathing I practice is called diaphragmatic belly breathing in conjunction with throat breathing.
For a beginner I suggest doing some simple breathing through the nose, and filling up your abdomen. Breathe in for 5 seconds. Hold for 3 seconds. Slowly and gently release the breath through the mouth for 5 seconds or more. Repeat this 5 times.
Meditation has also been a ritual that really has taken my health to the next level. It has helped me be more present, calm and patient.
It is said that 5 minutes of meditation every day is much more effective than meditating for 60 minutes once a week!
So this is something I try to do every day. It has become so addictive, and I really notice my body out of alignment when I take long breaks.
Going to bed at a decent time, before 10pm, is super important to ensure I am getting the recommended amount of sleep. I prefer to get around 8 hours sleep, but I won't complain if I get more ;) Getting too little sleep has been shown to have bad effects on the heart, and studies have linked it to hypertension.
I also make sure my bedroom is clean and tidy (no clutter), and styled in a way I find attractive and calming. Oh and I unplug all electrical devices in my room! Switching off at the power point. I swear if I have appliances on I can hear buzzing and I worry about Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMFs).
If I find I have a lot on my mind while in bed, I grab out my note pad and write down any thoughts that are bugging me or things I need to do the next day. I feel that writing them down allows me to "park the thought" so I don't over think. I tell myself that I can attend to it tomorrow.
I try not to do anything that is too stimulating before bed, no phone or checking Instagram. (easier said than done, i know!). Reading a chapter of a book always seems to do the trick for me, and helps me crash out.
There you have it guys, just some of the things I do to master my sleep. Ever since I proritised my sleep I have never felt so vibrant and energetic.
I'd love to know what you do to create a blissful nights sleep?
I will be sharing more information on parenting, holistic health and mindfulness, so keep an eye out for my next few blog posts. I share heaps of personal stories in my emails, really pouring out my heart, so join my list and subscribe so you don't miss out.