Last updated on February 28th, 2021.
We know the importance of creating Whole Being Nourishment in our lives with our unique body’s preferred foods, consistent, delightful movement, supportive social ties, reconnecting with nature, and feeling as though we have a purpose in life.
However, beyond all of those things, sleep is the most important of all.
Why? Ever gone through a day feeling groggy, sleep deprived, and grouchy? Notice how it was infinitely harder to tune into your body’s needs and choose to eat those health-supportive foods or have the desire to move your body? I’ll bet those social ties I mentioned most likely didn’t want to be around you in your grouchiness and your lack of juice made staying on purpose difficult, too.
Let’s face it, without a solid night’s sleep, you’re pretty useless.
Not being able to stay asleep and not being able to fall asleep are both annoying and over time, can lead to health issues of all sorts. Additionally, struggling with either sleep onset or sleep maintenance (AKA the inability to fall asleep or waking numerous times throughout the night) provides clues about your body’s specific needs and are typically treated just slightly differently.
This list is by no means exhaustive, however, it’s powerful and I personally use each of these daily to ensure I’m at my best. Give it a read, see what resonates, and commit to implementing a few things this week!
15 Tips for the Most Blissful Sleep
Blue Light Confuses Your Brain: Screens run our world these days. From televisions, to phones, to computers, it’s difficult to not have a screen in front of us for much of the day. However, the blue light emitted from screens upsets proper hormonal function in our body. Specifically, the release of melatonin (our sleep hormone) from our pineal gland in our brain. The blue light frequency confuses the gland and creates this perpetual daylight so the body and brain stay wired – so not good! At least 1 hour before bed, nix all screens. If you absolute MUST consume media, do so with a pair of blue light blocking glasses.
Give Your Tummy a Break: Ideally, dinner would be our smallest meal of the day and would be finished at least two hours before bedtime. Our body uses sleep as a time to do deep healing and restoration and needs the energy for that – not for digestion. A helping of slow carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, squashes, whole grains, etc.) at dinner gives your body what it needs to maintain itself through the night and can prevent those middle-of-the-night wake ups due to low blood sugar.
Literally Move Tension: Develop a little stretch routine before bed to move tension out of your body and prepare yourself to rest deeply. Being on the ground is also calming and relaxing and can literally “ground” anything from the day that may still be weighing on you.
The Smell of Sleep: Aromatherapy is such a beautiful way of using plant medicines! Scents of lavender, vanilla, orange, jasmine, ylang ylang, chamomile, and cedarwood are just a few examples of scents known to bring about peace, reduce anxiety and stress, and help bring restful sleep. I have an oil diffuser in my room and use it almost nightly!
Discharge the Mind: Developing a consistent, daily meditation and/or pranayama (breath work) practice, in whatever way or style resonates most with you, can have profound results on calming an anxious and restless mind – on top of a zillion other benefits!
Be Consistent – Even On Weekends: Enough said. Maintain a consistent sleep/wake schedule with the same bedtime and wake time every day or plus or minus no more than an hour. Again, the body loves routine and consistency. Our hormonal health stays balanced, our energy remains consistent, and we therefore have more freedom throughout our days to simply thrive and be joyful and purposeful.
Get Moving Everyday: Move your body each and everyday in ways that delight you, nourish you, and bring you energy and joy! We all are well aware at this point of the life-changing and life-saving benefits of consistent exercise, so I won’t get into it. The point here is that it also helps with sleep. Get moving!
Befriend the Sun: Your hormonal system’s health is related to sound sleep and sound sleep is made possible by a healthy hormonal system. Another way to bring about greater balance to your circadian rhythm is to befriend the sun! Early in the day, get some sunlight in your eyes and on your skin for at least 30 minutes, people! An hour a day is best; you could even break it into chunks. Soak in the goodness, give gratitude for its power, and feel the energy and fiery passion ignite you from the inside.
Stimulants Aren’t Your Friends: A little caffeine from some organic green tea or organic coffee in the mornings if it’s already part of your routine and your system handles caffeine, is fine. However, pounding caffeinated beverages throughout the day is slowly wreaking havoc on your adrenal glands and hormonal health. I hear you – you’re tired and need the fix, however, what has been created, my friend, is a vicious cycle that can end by implementing the suggestions I’m giving you here. Limit yourself to one to two cups in the morning only.
Resist the Nap: But only after 2 pm. Naps can be AWESOME! A short, “power nap” has some amazing benefits. So enjoy them if you’re able for about 30-45 minutes and not later in the day as this can disrupt the healing of your natural rhythm.
Keep Blood Sugar Stable: Waking in the middle of the night repeatedly may suggest blood sugar instability. Ensuring a serving a slow carbs at dinner, as mentioned previously, as well as improving your diet overall can work wonders on everything in your life, including your sleep. The refined and processed sugars, packaged foods, fast foods, etc. may seem like they’re harmless or “more convenient” than “healthy eating,” and let me assure you, that’s far from true.
Don’t Get Hyphy: Avoid disturbing conversations, media, and the like at least 1-2 hours before bed. Ever watched some crazy show or scary movie before bed and still felt that adrenaline surge? And then compare that to times you’ve listened to some soothing music and taken a bath. Yah. Save the confrontations, the news, the reruns of TWD, etc. for during the day.
Hands-On Self-Healing: This practice can be done at any point in the day, although it is especially heavenly right before bed. Learn it here and then create your own routine (so you’re not watching me on screen before bed!). Your hands know where and how and when to send calming vibes to your being.
Mama’s Medicinal Assistance: Herbal preparations, such as teas, are simply divine. Simple, easy to find ones to try (after checking with your practitioner first for any contraindications) for sleep and calming the mind are lemon balm, lavender, and chamomile. Additional ones to support that pack a bit more of a sedative punch are mugwort, passionflower, ashwagandha, kava, and valerian.
Energetic Support: And finally, energetic healing from plant spirits and crystals have brought the biggest improvements in my clients’ lives. Everything mentioned previously can be thought of as “band aids” for the “symptom” of poor sleep. When working more deeply on ourselves, we’re able to uncover the story behind our poor sleep and then heal it at its roots. More on how this works here.
Employing a night time ritual is ideal and signals to your being that it’s time to shift into rest mode. We are creatures of habit and thrive with routines, after all. Select a few items off the list to create your very own night time ritual and notice how your rest improves tenfold. Then, notice how this extra zing seeps into other aspects of your life, too! You’re welcome.