According to the Centers for Disease Control, 35% of adults don’t get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night they need to function at their peak. This year, make sleep a priority and reap the benefits to your physical, emotional, mental health.
Why We Need Sleep
Sleep helps our bodies repair, regenerate, and recover, resulting in a stronger, more resilient immune system. When you’re well-rested you can better fight off viruses, bacteria and infections. Sufficient rest also reduces the risk of heart disease, by helping to maintain healthy blood pressure. And anyone who’s ever tossed and turned all night, knows how important sleep is for staying productive and focused at work.
Sleep provides numerous benefits for your mental health as well, helping to regulate and stabilize your mood. Meanwhile, chronic insomnia can lead to psychological problems such as depression and anxiety.
Luckily, there are several things you can do every day to increase your chances of a good night’s sleep.
Establish Good Sleep Habits
Maintaining a consistent daily routine is the cornerstone of restorative sleep. Here are some tips for setting yourself up for success:
- Maintain a regular sleep/wake schedule. Going to sleep and waking up around the same time every day trains your body to rest when it’s time.
- Avoid caffeine or other stimulants 6-7 hours before bedtime
- Avoid heavy meals or alcohol late at night
- Turn off screens (television, laptop, phone) an hour before bedtime. Wind down by reading, cuddling with your pet or partner, or listening to peaceful music instead.
- Keep your bedroom cool. The National Sleep Foundation recommends a sleeping temperature between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit. Think of your bedroom as a cave: dark, cool, and quiet.
Creating a Soothing Bedtime Ritual
One way to signal to your body that it’s time to sleep is to establish a daily, relaxing ritual – one that you look forward to every evening. Boulder-based Life Coach and Spiritual Guide, Kylie Kwon suggests doing a few minutes of left-nostril breathing, which works on the parasympathetic nervous system to calm you down and control racing thoughts. Simply sit comfortably on the floor in a cross-legged position or in a chair with your feet on the floor. Close your eyes and plug your right nostril with your thumb. Now, breathe slowly and deeply from your left nostril.
Kwon also recommends drinking a warm, cozy beverage before bed. Try her recipe for Golden Milk, a traditional Indian drink featuring the superfood turmeric, celebrated for its mood-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties. Adding a dropperful of RE Botanicals USDA Organic Tincture is our favorite addition to the relaxing effects of the beverage.
Calming Golden Milk with RE Botanicals Tincture
- 1 cup cashew/coconut milk (or milk of your choice)
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp grated ginger or 1/4 tsp ground ginger powder
- 1 tbsp of coconut oil
- 1 tsp raw honey or to taste
- 1 mL of RE Botanicals Classic tincture
- Dash of black pepper
Bring all the ingredients into a gentle simmer over low heat in a small saucepan and heat for 5-7 minutes. Strain and drink immediately.
If you are worried about tomorrow’s to-do list before bed, take a few minutes to jot down everything you have to do. Your mind will be more relaxed when you know that you have captured those tasks down on paper. Finally, Kwon recommends taking a few minutes to write down three things that you are grateful for every night. “Journaling helps shift the perception from worries to something positive,” she said. “By focusing on gratitude, you counteract anxiety that can keep you up at night and allow for a peaceful night of sleep.”
We wish you sweet dreams in 2020!