8 Habits to Start to Improve Your Sleep

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Honestly, where can we get a little mental silence these days?

We have become so inundated with constant chatter, music, YouTube videos, ads, calls, text messages, tweets and all of the other millions of phone notifications – the list goes on.

Just typing that got my heart rate up.

No wonder we have a hard time getting to sleep.

“We sleep, but the loom of life never stops and the pattern which was weaving when the sun went down is weaving when it comes up tomorrow.” — Henry Ward Beecher

Rest is ridiculously important to our holistic well-being.

This article is meant to help you make sure you’re doing all of the things to get the good sleep and rest that you need for your physical and mental health.

Get the right kind of sleep

Science supports the idea of resting (and so does the Bible).

Sleeping a minimum of six to eight hours recharges both our minds and our bodies. Look at us, killing two birds with one stone!

BUT this rest is the most beneficial if you go to sleep before 12 am.

It’s the best timing to rack up all those REM and nonREM winks.

Studies have shown that going to bed after 12 am cuts your non-REM sleep (which is the restorative stuff we want).

What’s funny is, if you try to go to lay it down before 12 am, and it’s something you haven’t done in a while, you might wake up feeling more groggy and sleepy. It’s normal.

More than likely, you owe a sleep debt, or “sleep deficit”. It’s going to take time and consistency to catch up on what you owe – but it is possible to feel like a human again. Promise.

If you find it difficult to get to sleep before 12 am, here are 8 habits to start today:

  1. Create a nightly routine. We do this for our babies to sleep soundly, but neglect ourselves! We need sound sleep, too, y’all. (When I take my showers at night, I use this amazing smelling lavender soap and body lotion.
  2. Turn off all blue light screens two hours before you snooze (i.e., tablets, phones, flat screen tv’s). Blue light is great for waking up, but not that great for falling asleep.
  3. Try a meditation app, like 10% Happier, Calm, Meditation, Breathe, Headspace, or (my current personal favorite) Shine.
  4. Don’t snooze with the TV on, as this stimulates your brain activity (counterproductive to having a productive sleep session). It may very well be lulling you to sleep, but that doesn’t mean your rest is not adversely affected. Read here for more good info.
  5. Limit or take a pause on caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine (and weed). Try drinking some chamomile tea before going to bed.
  6. Incorporate some yoga for sleep poses to calm your mind and relax your body.
  7. Read a few chapters in a really good inspirational book.
  8. And the usuals – exercise, eat a healthy diet, drink the recommended daily water intake.

Without silence in the form of productive sleep and rest, you start to feel like a hamster running in a wheel – doing all the things, but going nowhere.

Burnout becomes a much higher risk.

It’s necessary to take a step back. Make time to silence your sleep zone, get a full eight and wake up refreshed and more mentally able to face the onslaught of everythingness in daily life.