Sleep is important, but it can also be a challenge.
I think we all go through phases in our lives where sleep isn’t as restful as I thought to be. Racing thoughts that make it difficult to fall asleep. Waking up at night between 1 am and 4 am and experiencing a hard time going back to sleep. Even sleeping through the night, but then waking up in the morning feeling tired and simply not well-rested. Stress can often be the culprit.
When we don’t get the sleep our body needs, it doesn’t just manifest itself in physical health issues, it also impacts our focus, concentration, productivity, stamina, and emotional balance during the day.
Sleep is crucial to physical health and wellbeing.
It is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
REM sleep, the portion of your sleep when dreaming occurs, is essential to our minds for processing and consolidating emotions, memories, and stress. REM sleep is also essential for the brain, it stimulates the brain regions used in developing new skills and learning.
Here 8 Tips for A Healthy Bedtime Routine:
1. Avoid Light:
Avoid light sources and EMFs such as cell phone, iPad, tablet, computer, TV at least one hour before bedtime. Do not keep cell phone, iPad, tablet, or computer in your bedroom at night.
2. Free Your Mind:
If you have a tendency to lay in bed “planning” your next day, sit down at least an hour before you go to bed and write down tasks, appointments, reminders, and thoughts about your next day. This will help with freeing up your mind when going to bed.
3. Do Something Relaxing:
Take a relaxing bath with Lavender or Serenity Essential Oil (contact me for a recipe on how to make your own bath salts) or do something else that relaxes you like yoga, meditation, playing your crystal bowl, or reading.
4. Use Essential Oils/Aromatherapy:
Apply a blend of Serenity and Vetiver Essential Oil to your fingertips and apply to back of your neck and shoulders (where we carry tension and stress), apply to the inside of wrists, and under the sole of your feet; this will be soothing and relaxing to body and mind.
• Add 2 drops of Serenity Essential Oil and 2 drops of Vetiver to your diffuser to create a soothing and relaxing atmosphere in your bedroom. If you have trouble with waking up at night and not being able to fall back asleep, use a diffuser that runs 8 hours.
• Add Serenity/Vetiver blend to the soles of your feet and on your wrists during the night, if necessary (roll-ons are easiest to use to apply).
5. Make Your Bed an Oasis:
Make your bed an “island” or “oasis” of relaxation and peace. When you enter your “island,” no worries and negative thoughts are welcomed. Leave all of that behind on the floor, it is a conscious choice. Play relaxing music or water sounds which turn off automatically. If you are sad, angry, worried or otherwise emotionally distressed, take a look at my emotional aromatherapy wheel and use a suggested oil for additional emotional support before you go to bed.
6. The Belly-Breath Routine:
Practice the following belly-breath routine every night after you lay down to sleep. Lay on your back, feet on the mattress with your legs at an angle to relieve any pressure from your lower back. Place your hands on the sides of your belly; breathe in raising your belly counting to 4, hold breath counting to 4, breathe out counting to 4. When you breathe out, it should feel like your belly is sinking down all the way to your spine and you are sinking into the mattress.
• Repeat your belly-breath routine for 5 minutes, then think about something positive you experienced during the day. Maybe it’s something that uplifted you or something that was an achievement or sort of victory for you. Try to remember it with all the feelings attached to it and make this your last thoughts before you drift off to sleep.
7. Avoid Waking Up Between 1 am and 4 am:
In Chinese medicine, the liver is said to be performing its restorative tasks between 1 am and 3 am, some say between 2 am and 4 am. So nevertheless, if you wake up during that time frame every night, your liver could be the reason. One thing the liver needs for its restorative function is energy, and the energy source it uses is glycogen. The problem is that when you are stressed during the day, your liver releases glycogen into the blood stream and our blood sugar levels yo-yo. If you are under a lot of stress, by the time it gets to 1am, there will not be enough glycogen left for the liver to perform its restorative function. So, the body revs up producing adrenaline as an energy source to compensate for the missing glycogen, and the increase in adrenaline is what wakes you up. My personal tip is to implement stress reducing tools and techniques to gradually lower your stress levels during the day and support your liver.
8. Don’t Give Up.
Supporting the body to adapt to a new sleep routine takes a minimum of 21 days. Make small changes and be consistent in your efforts! I have personally gone through tremendous challenges physically and emotionally causing a lot of stress in my life and impacting sleep, so I’m sharing these tips above from my heart, it’s what got me through some of the toughest times in my life.
Do you have any all-natural tips to promote a healthy bedtime routine that did not get mentioned above? If so, please share them with us in the comments section below!
Sending Wellness and Sweet Dreams,
Author’s Note: If you are suffering from insomnia, please seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional. The statements in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information presented is for educational purposes only and not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, illness or injured condition of the body. It is in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling.