The way we choose to shift into our day when we emerge from our sleep cycle has a profound effect on how we will experience life until we lay our heads down to rest again that evening. Most all of us have a set of morning rituals we run through daily, but it is worth examining our habits to see if they are designed to support us in having clarity, energy and stamina for our day and also to set us up for our best sleep that coming night.
Do you allow yourself time in the morning for rituals that ground you and allow for more space and clarity moving into your day? A lot of us roll out of bed at the last possible moment and get ready to head out into the world in a detached, mindless, auto pilot mode that does not set us up to be at our best. We rely on caffeine to jump start our nervous system and we are immediately immersed in the onslaught of news, information and distraction from jumping on to our phones.
There are a few simple shifts in behavior that can make a profound difference in how we manage stress and maintain energy and clarity throughout the day.
Here's a list of a few great apps for guided meditations... most have free content for a trial period....
Do you know that good sleep is one of the most integral facets of maintaining our wellness? It affects every system in our body, it drives the bus for a lot of our food cravings and our crucial decision making abilities. Yet somehow most of us sacrifice our sleep to a myriad of bad habits like scrolling on our phones, watching Netflix until the wee hours and consuming food and drinks that rob us of our ability to get a good night’s sleep. We work too late or too much and then go down the rabbit hole of social media or late night snacking and binge watching TV, in order to feel we have had time away from work or our families needs, for ourselves to finally unwind. We pride ourselves on being able to “get by on” an abbreviated night’s rest in order to stay wildly productive in our busy lifestyles. Years of these kinds of damaging habits can lead to chronic insomnia and a host of other health issues, weight gain and our nervous system existing in a continuous state of fight or flight without even fully realizing it. It can become an endless loop of needs for stimulants, sugar, alcohol and mental distraction, which wears you down and opens the door for disease, irrational, over reactive behavior and depression. Setting yourself up for success and improved wellness with your sleep is simple if you can make the commitment to sleep hygiene rituals that will reprogram your body for a good night’s rest. The results can be life changing.
The first step is to come into a headspace of truly valuing your sleep and embrace what allowing space for it can do for your mind and body. Lack of sleep over time can lead to chronic stress, hormonal imbalances, digestive issues and eventually systems of the body start to break down and chronic conditions such as dementia can take hold later in life. What can you do now to improve your sleep? Here’s a short list of little things that can have a big impact on improved sleep… choose one of these ideas to try out for a month or so and see what happens to the quality of your sleep. If you have a sleep tracking app, a Fit Bit or Garmin device that helps you quantify your sleep stats…. All the better to see your results improving over time.
Treat your bedroom as a sanctuary in all possible ways. Think of it as a sacred space where you go to sleep (or other oxytocin producing activities that take place between the sheets) and nothing else. Don’t hang out in your bedroom on your phone or watching TV. Screens truly have no place in the bedroom. Watching TV or scrolling the internet in bed are two of the worst culprits involved in robbing us of a good night’s rest. Make your bed in the morning, keep your sheets, pillows and blankets fresh, so crawling into bed at night feels like a ritual of self care and self respect. Keep the lights low and don’t use bright overhead lights within a couple hours of your bedtime. Bright overhead light signals to your brain that it’s still daytime and your body will not produce the hormones that facilitate sleep. Lighting a candle with a warm and comforting scent can be a really sweet way to make the room feel more cozy, as well. Just remember to blow it out before you nod out! Keeping the room cool is also very beneficial. Our body's temperature naturally drops as we wind down in the evening toward bedtime, and having a cool bedroom can help trigger your body's natural inclination to sleep, so a room that is too warm can really make for a restless night.
Set firm rules about screen time. If you usually head to bed around 10:30 (sticking to a set bedtime is also a really great habit to form) then set a reminder on your phone to shut down screen time for the night (whether it’s your phone, computer or TV) by no later than 9:30. Cutting screen time two hours before bedtime is actually ideal, but realistically, an hour is a much easier goal to attain and does have a big impact. The blue light emitted from our screens dampens our bodies ability to stay tuned into its natural sleep rhythms. Over time our whole circadian rhythm gets thrown off by getting blasted with blue light in the evening and insomnia takes hold. Scrolling on your phone in bed is an addictive and mentally stimulating habit. It’s probably the single most damaging habit when it comes to sleep. Challenge yourself to try to break this habit for 30 days by not even bringing your phone into the bedroom at night and see what changes occur in the quality of your sleep, even in that short amount of time.
Take a few moments to think about how your life would feel if you were dedicated to getting your sleep on track and were successful in doing so. Getting proper restorative rest should be at the top of the list of self care practices! Give yourself the gift of sleep!