10 tips for creating more ease with SLEEP

How’s your recovery plan going? 

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Over the last week, many have prioritized sleep for their recovery, so let’s talk about the benefits of sleep and what we can do to improve our odds of a good night’s sleep. 

Sleep does cool stuff. 

During sleep the body does countless forms of healing, including a process where the brain essentially washes itself, your body regulates your hormones, and injuries get repaired too (isn’t it so cool?). 

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Sleep (I’ll throw meditation in here too) is also an opportunity to feel alignment with our higher self. My hunch is that the shift in brain waves that scientists measure is a reflection of the vibrational shift into alignment with the higher self.  

When we’re not getting enough sleep, we may feel a disconnect with our higher-self. Physically, our prefrontal cortex also takes a hit. The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that is responsible for our mood and decision-making capabilities. 

I know that many struggle with sleep, even when they’re going to bed earlier and trying to get more hours. 

There are helpful measures we can take, so let’s see if we can create more ease with sleep. 

Here are 10 tips to help the brain and body prepare for good sleep. Some of these tips were borrowed from Dr. Michael Walker, author of “Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams.”

10 tips for getting better sleep: 

  1. Regularity: Our bodies like rhythm. Going to bed and waking up at the same time helps create a steady rhythm. Diverting from this on the weekend can create the feeling of jetlag.   

  2. Keep it cool: Aim for your room to be 65 degrees, and avoid hot showers before bed. If you shower before bed, keep it cool at the end to aid in cooling the body. 

  3. Get dark: Darkness helps release the hormone melatonin, which makes us sleepy. In the last hour before bed, turn off ALL screens, close the shades, and dim the lights to help your body prepare for sleep. **If you’re a parent of young kids, these tips WORK GREAT for helping youngsters get ready for bed too.**      

  4. Walk it out: If you can’t sleep, get out of bed. The brain is quick to make associations. If you’re not sleeping in bed, your brain will associate bed with wakefulness, so get up. 

  5. Notice what you eat/drink: Avoid alcohol in the evening. Despite what many believe about a nightcap, alcohol doesn’t help you fall asleep. Instead, it sedates your brain, makes you think you’re sleeping, but does not shift the brain into REM sleep. Also, caffeine stays in your system for about 14 hours, so avoid caffeine 14 hours prior to going to bed. 

  6.  Do a brain dump. If you can’t sleep, get a pen and paper (not a screen) and write down everything that’s on your mind. Then, tell yourself that everything is going on the paper and staying there.

  7. Scan the body: When you get in bed, do a body scan. Begin at your feet and gradually move your attention up your body, ending at the top of your head. This is a good time to breathe into areas of your body that may feel tight, or give thanks to each part of your body. 

  8. Deep breathing: If your body doesn’t feel quite ready for bed, try doing some deep breathing. Breathe in deeply enough that your belly is expanding and slowly release your breath.   

  9. Tell yourself you’re sleeping well: When not sleeping well, many will identify themselves as someone who “is not sleeping.” It’s telling a story that you’re more likely to recreate. Tell the story you want to tell. Say, “I sleep great at night,” or “My sleep is getting better and better.” 

  10. Savor good sleep: Had a good night’s sleep? Or maybe even a good nap? Savor it. Take an extra minute to lie in bed and savor the feeling of good sleep. Remember from tip #4 that the brain makes associations. This is creating a new association of really good sleep in your bed. 

Stay with your recovery plan. Remember, this is an experiment. See what happens if you play with a few of these sleeping tips (even if you’re already sleeping great) and what goodness may come from it.

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PS: Next week we’re talking about “ego recovery” and creating wellness in mind and spirit! Want to chat about recovery and creating more ease with sleep? I’m hosting a FB Live this Wednesday, August @ 10AM Pacific. Mark your calendar and come with questions!