Moving into the new year, you are probably hearing resolutions about eating healthy, losing weight or exercising more. While diet and exercise are important, one wellness area that most teens and adults tend to overlook is sleep. We forget that sleep is one of our most basic human needs. Your body needs sleep in order to function properly. Most adults need at least 7-9 hours of sleep, while teens need 8-10 hours.
Here are a few simple tips that I have found to be helpful for both myself and my clients to ensure a better night’s sleep:
- Make sure your bedroom is a place for rest. Feng Shui teachings advise keeping anything work related (homework, computers, etc) out of the bedroom. Why? So that your bedroom is an environment conducive to sleep–not work. On that note, unplug! Put the phone, iPad, and laptop on the other side of the room. Electronics can be a major distraction to both kids and adults. Also, decluttering your bedroom can be a great way to create a more peaceful space.
- Give your body some time to slow down. Avoid vigorous exercise at least 2 hours before bedtime and steer clear of caffeinated beverages in the afternoon.
- Bring it back to your five senses:
Darkness is key. Research shows that darkness induces melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone that helps control your sleep and wake cycles. You can use an eye mask or purchase blackout curtains for the bedroom to ensure complete darkness.
Some people sleep better in silence, others may relax to the sound of white noise or a fan. Calming music with no words can help lull you to sleep. If your phone is not too much of a distraction, there are some helpful apps that use guided imagery and sounds to calm your mind (“insight timer” and “relax melodies” are great).
Invest in something soothing to the touch- silky PJ’s, a soft blanket or special sheets. Make your bed a comfy place to be. Also be sure the temperature is right for you. Everyone is different. Some prefer to cooler temperatures and other people enjoy the comfort of a heated blanket. Find what works for you!
Try drinking a warm beverage before bed. Hot (non-caffeinated) tea or warm milk with honey can have a relaxing effect on your body. Several foods can naturally increase melatonin production including tart cherry juice and bananas.
Finally, my personal favorite way to unwind and relax, essential oils!! Lavender, Chamomile, Bergamot, Sweet Orange and Ylang Ylang are a few of my favorites. Essential oils can be added to water in a diffuser or you can simply rub some on your temples or under your nose before bed.
See what works for you and let me know what you think!
Schedule your free 20-minute phone consultation today to see if you or your child could benefit from the extra support that therapy can provide.
For further reading on sleep, check out this TED talk https://www.ted.com/talks/jeff_iliff_one_more_reason_to_get_a_good_night_s_sleep
Tips on sleep hygiene from American Sleep Association https://www.sleepassociation.org/patients-general-public/insomnia/sleep-hygiene-tips/