Wellness

Six Ways to Improve Your Sleep Hygiene

I am very much an “Early Bird” type of girl. As soon as darkness sets in, my eyes start to fall heavy and my energy wanes. My friends know that when my bedtime alarm goes off at 8:45pm, I am saying my goodbyes and headed home. I take my nighttime routine seriously. As an early riser, I must be diligent about getting to sleep on schedule to ensure I am waking fully rested. I find that having a consistent bedtime and a consistent routine alongside it is when I feel my best. In the last year, I have made it a priority to improve my own sleep hygiene for optimal health. Here are a few ways you can do the same-

Wind Down. 

Just as having a morning routine is important, it is crucial to set up a bedtime routine. Give yourself a few extra minutes before you know you want to be in bed, and start creating the habit of rest. Brush your teeth, wash your face, power down electronics (OFF or on airplane mode), set things out for the morning… Whatever it is that eases your mind and gets you ready to rest.

Drink Tea and Mushrooms. 

I find that having a cup of hot tea relaxes my body and forces me to slow down to sip it. I enjoy reading a couple chapters, sipping my hot tea, and reflecting on the day. My go-to teas are Pukka Night Time and Yogi Salted Caramel Bedtime (with a spot of coconut milk!!). I also rely on reishi mushroom for the ultimate relaxation elixir. I use Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom Hot Chocolate, or I will make my own:

Reishi Hot Cacao:

1 teaspoon Reishi spores + 1 Tablespoon Raw Cacao Powder + 2-3 Drops liquid stevia

Mix into hot water or for a rich version, use full-fat coconut milk

Lavender.

Lavender oil is incredible for restful sleep. I diffuse Doterra oil every night in my bedroom. I will set my diffuser an hour or so before bedtime as part of my wind-down routine. When I crawl into bed, I rub a couple drops of oil on the bottoms of my feet. I am loving this Serenity Blend from Doterra. It has lavender + cedarwood + vetiver and is just blissful.

Say Thanks.

Journaling at night is a way to jot down the things in your mind, decluttering those “to-do” thoughts and worries. In addition to writing down any pressing ideas, it is so easy to jot down just a couple things you are grateful for. Giving some acknowledgment to the positive things in your life is a great way to end the day.

Boost Your Bedroom.

Improving your sleeping environment is probably the simplest step to naturally improving your sleep quality. Our circadian rhythms rely on darkness to induce full sleep cycles that actually give us rest. Make it a mission to eliminate all artificial light. Install good quality blackout curtains, cover any tiny LEDs, and consider installing blue-light blocking bulbs. I use Lighting Science goodnight bulbs in my bedroom lamp. These special bulbs eliminate the disruptive blue light. After sundown, I avoid using any artificial light that includes the blue-wave spectrum. If I am using my computer, phone, TV, or iPad I wear my blue-light blocking glasses (in addition to night-shift mode). Also, keep those electronics OUT of the bedroom!

Count Your Blessings, Not sheep!

Once in my dark, cool, quiet sleeping environment I take a last moment to be thankful. I am safe and comfortable and cared for. Getting good quality sleep is essential to my overall wellness- and implementing just a couple simple changes can maximize your sleep health.

 

Kate Daugherty is a Functional Nutritionist and Certified Nutrition Specialist candidate specializing in mind-body wellness. She combines a science-based approach with natural therapies to bring the physiological body into balance. Kate offers nutritional consultation and functional medicine healing at her clinic, The Facility, in Denver, Colorado. Read more about her nutritional approach here and her background here.

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