Getting a good night’s sleep is so important when it comes to taking care of ourselves. When life gets busy with work, family, and other responsibilities, we often allow ourselves to forget how important it is to get good rest. After all, as cliche as it sounds, we really can’t take care of others until we are adequately taking care of ourselves. While we may not all be able to devote eight hours to sleep and we may not always have the luxury of being able to sleep through the night without distractions, there are a few simple things that we can do to set us up for the best and most adequate possible rest.
1. Set an ideal bedtime
It sounds really simple and it actually is. It is important to have a loose framework of a time that your body starts to realize that it is bedtime. This doesn’t mean that you will follow it every night, but to have a guideline of when you generally go to bed will help condition your body to be ready to sleep when you lie down in the bed. Not everyone works the same hours so there is no specific time that is best, it really depends on your individual work schedule and when you can set aside time to get an ample 6-8 hours of rest. Setting this time as 30 minute before reminder on your calendar, phone, or smart watch can really help keep you aware of when it is time to start settling in and getting ready for bed.
2. Design the details your ideal bedroom
Your bedroom is a place that you should wholeheartedly enjoy. This may not be on display to guests very often, but you are living in it every single day for hours at a time. Make it your own. It doesn’t have to be an expensive upgrade, just be mindful of little things that you can do to make your bedroom the most comfortable room in your house. Adding some color to your room is a good place to start. Choose a color that makes you feel the most relaxed and try to coordinate some of the colors in your room. Something you can do today is to take out the things that don’t belong in your room- the rug you don’t really like, the old painting that you hate- those things need to go. It is not meant to be a forgotten area in your house, it needs to be somewhere that you find peace and relaxation. Give it that little extra attention and feel yourself start to reap the benefits.We spend so much time in our bedroom. Even though we are asleep we are still present in the environment, and I am a firm believer that our environment shapes our mood. It is important that
3. Declutter before going to bed
This can be so hard to do, especially when we are tired. This is one of those things that I always need to work on practicing what I preach. When I do take the time to hang up my clothes and remove the clutter, even just a little bit, I always wake up feeling nine times better than the day before. I think this goes along with the idea that you are still present in your room while you are sleeping. Even thought you may not be consciously aware of your environment, your body and mind still responds to the things around you. We owe it to our sleeping selves to take a little time to prepare the room for the best sleep possible.
4. Diffusing essential oils and aromatherapy candles
Essential oils are amazing and I cannot say enough about them. I love the way my room smells after diffusing some lavender. I also love the essential oils provide a little extra moisture in the room which is great in the winter when our skin gets dried out- it really helps with my winter chapped lips. Running an essential oil diffuser every night gives my room this calming lavender smell that reminds me of sleep. Since our beds are technically only supposed to be used for sleeping or sex, it conditions me to remember those things when I hop into bed. The same effect can also be accomplished by lighting your favorite relaxing aromatherapy candle each night. The smell starts to permeate the room making it a peaceful haven for sleep.
5. Turn down the thermostat
The ideal temperature for sleeping is 67 degrees Fahrenheit. This might be a little lower than you typically set your air conditioner in the summer months, but it is really worth it to try to bump the temp down a little. Plus you can reap the benefits of extra blankets. They provide extra weight which can be very relaxing. Some blankets are actually weighted for this specific purpose. When you use extra heavy blankets you can create this same effect and enjoy a more peaceful sleep.
6. Don’t press snooze
I am too guilty of this and I am working on it. I had this friend in college who taught me this seemingly delightful trick to set my alarm an extra hour before I wake up so that I can see the time and then feel that awesome goodness that is getting to go back to sleep for an hour. Somehow I adopted this trick and while it does have a somewhat satisfying effect, it has lead to a very disjointed sleep and has seemed to mess with my sleep cycles. What I am trying to do now is to set my alarm for the actual time that I really do need to get up. Our bodies wont let us go back to sleep if we know that we absolutely must get up or risk being late for work. I am seeing some positive effect by this method. I no longer end my slumber in 15 minute up and down increments. Now when my alarm goes off, I get up.