Better Sleep for a Better You

Better sleep for a better you

Ever notice now more than ever, you’d do anything for a nap?  Almost every day I tell myself that A) I need to go to bed earlier and B) I need to take a nap to recharge.  The interesting thing? I usually do neither.  Instead, the first thing I do when I do get in bed (which might I add, does not take long) is flip open the computer and start watching Netflix.

But we all know that sleep is so very important.  In fact, the Huffington Post just published an article where they mention how much sleep can actually aid in your weight loss and muscle gain goals.   Not to mention a plethora of other health and wellness benefits.

But if you’re like me and you’re not getting as much sleep as you want, here are tips to at least try and to sleep better once you do finally get to bed.

Give yourself a bedtime, and set a reminder for it.

Getting flashbacks of your youth?  Just like when you were a child and your parents gave you a bedtime, you should be doing the same for yourself now.  But what’s going to actually help you stick to it?  By making it a habit.  As Charles Duhigg describes in his book, The Power of Habit, creating a habit is essentially learning to establish cues and rewards centered around that action.  Your cue can be many things but the easiest and most practical for our technology-centered lives? Just set a quiet phone alarm.  I have one scheduled for 9:45pm each night titled “Bedtime”.  Of course, I don’t fall asleep right at 9:45pm but it does help to remind me of what time it is and that I should start getting in the bedtime mindset.  For me, that involves…

Drink tea or water before bed.

There is a lot of research out there regarding the health benefits of tea, but in this case the benefit is mostly in getting you into a calm and relaxed mindset.  There are tons of brands and types of teas out there that are supposedly designed to aid with sleep.  For example, Celestial Seasonings is one of my personal favorites and they have tons of caffeine-free herbal teas that would be perfect just before bed.  But more specifically, they have a line called Sleepytime teas if you want an added boost.  Just don’t drink too much . . .

Get your aromatherapy on.

Sometimes people see “aromatherapy” or “essential oils” and get overwhelmed.  The reality is these can be really simple and easy to use.  In fact, there are so many easy ways to incorporate this into your bedtime routine that I almost get overwhelmed just trying to list them all!  But here’s my top three:

  • Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy collection.  They have two or three scents to choose from in their Sleep line and my personal favorite is the lavender and vanilla.  You can do a simple body lotion (like I do), a candle, or a wallflower scent. Which is basically just a scented refill/plug-in system.  See the sleep collection.
  • Incense. Super cheap. Super easy. But, an acquired taste. If you’re not familiar with these babies, you basically purchase any scent you want (there are so many to choose from!), insert it into a incense holder, light the tip, and then you’re done.  Your room will be filled with a calming, smokey scent and as an added bonus the holders come in tons of designs so you get an added room decoration too. I prefer these over candles because I can fall asleep without worrying about an open flame.
  • Essential oils. I’ll be honest, this one is a little overwhelming for me just because there are so many to choose from on Amazon. But essential oils really are AMAZING.  I’d say if you’re new to aromatherapy, try the other two options first and if you like their effects, then get a diffuser and some oils.  Especially since these are slightly more pricey purchases.

Invest in your bed.

We spend, what, 1/3 of our lives in bed?  Make your bed – and bedroom for that matter – a place you really enjoy and feel comfortable in.  My bed is outfitted with everything.  A feather mattress topper, soft jersey sheets and pillowcases, a fuzzy body pillow, faux-fur blankets, about 6 throw pillows, and a luscious down comforter.  Truth be told, I really only sleep with a simple pillow, body pillow, and a throw blanket. Even though I end up throwing all the extra pillows and blankets to the floor, what matters is that I’m excited to get in bed and relax because I’ve invested the time and a little bit of pocket change into making my bed a truly comfortable and relaxing space.

Have something that works for you?  Share in the comments!

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