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  • Writer's pictureMary Hughes

How to Get a Good Night of Sleep

Baby Jax – my youngest grandson…I love watching him sleep!

Most people know that sleep is vitally important, literally a basic need, for overall emotional and physical well-being. Yet, I find that many of my clients (even though they KNOW) do not prioritize sleep and actually function on a sleep-deficit. This may be okay short term – long term it takes a toll on our body and our mind.

Research points to the optimal amount of sleep being 7 – 9 hours nightly. Below are tips (at least the ones that I have found most important for myself) for good sleep hygiene. Pick and choose what’s best for you. Then prioritize your sleep…making the tips you chose a routine each and every night. Get that 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep.

You have a choice.

You matter.

Your health and well-being is so worth it.

You are worth it.

1. Time and routine: Plan and allot for 7 to 9 hours of sleep between the time you are going to bed and then waking up. Do your best to go to bed and get up at the same time each day (including weekends). The more you can do this, the more your body regulates within this routine. Set yourself up for success!

2. Clearing:  If you, like many of us, find that your mind starts turning and racing with thoughts as soon as your head hits the pillow try this. Keep a notepad near your bed and get in the habit of writing down ideas, thoughts, tomorrow’s to do’s, etc., before getting into bed. This list will help you to clear the busyness from your mind and to recognize that 99 percent of what is on the list is not urgent and can wait until tomorrow.

3. Cooling: Turn your thermostat down. I set my temperature at 62 degrees. I’ve found that this helps my body cool naturally which helps to facilitate my sleep. Try it – see what you think!

4. Disconnecting: Oh my! This is a BIG one! So many of us today are “attached” to our phones, televisions, computers, etc. We benefit from letting go – from disconnecting – giving our minds and our bodies rest, relaxation and a break from electronics. So, if you use your phone as an alarm, I suggest you switch to an alarm clock (and leave your phone out of the bedroom). It is too easy, and I hear clients tell me all the time that they check mail, texts, etc. “if/when” they wake during the night. Think about it…is this really necessary? Most of us can answer, No! Know that you can fall asleep naturally – teaching your body to wind down, to relax – without the aid of a television, Facebook, etc. Change this up for two weeks and then evaluate.  You may/will be pleasantly surprised!!

5. Exercise: You should be moving your body (walking, yoga, dancing, whatever floats your boat) daily for 30 minutes or as many times a week as possible. Being physically and mentally active during the day has a plethora of positive benefits including better rest at night. Note: “intense” exercise right before bed may be too stimulating and counter-productive in slowing down your body for relaxation and sleep. Be mindful!!

6. Time: You may be waking in the middle of the night. When you do, do you wonder what time it is? Do you check the clock? DON’T!! Make a pact with yourself. Know the time you go to bed…know the time you need to get up and set your alarm accordingly. Gift yourself with 7 to 9 hours of sleep. That’s it…no checking the time, calculating how much time you have slept and how much time is left until you have to get up for the day. These conversations (within ourselves), are non-productive and detrimental to good sleep! Stop doing it! This has been a biggie for me! It’s taken some determination (looking at the clock had become a HABIT for me), but I have mastered this one and it’s been life-changing in the course of getting good sleep.

7. Bathroom Breaks: I don’t know about you, but for me I would wake after my deep sleep period and think, “Hmmm…I could use to go to the bathroom.” Then my “self” proceeded to have a conversation within my mind. “If I empty my bladder than I will sleep better…with an empty bladder I will sleep more deeply, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” One of my clients actually changed my mind (yes, I learn so much from my clients!!). She said that she used to get up 3 times a night to use the bathroom. Then her doctor told her that she could train her bladder to wait. She said that over a period of time of waking and ignoring the urge to empty her bladder, she now does not get up during the night. Really? This was foreign to me, but I liked the idea so I worked at it. I have gone from getting up 3/4 times nightly to none-maybe once. That’s been huge and wonderful!!

8. Supplements: I try to be as holistic as possible. I take no medication although I do have a regimen of supplements that I believe keeps my body operating optimally. Passion Flower (350 mg. capsules) helps me get the 7 hours of sleep that I find my body needs to function well throughout the day. Passion Flower is a perennial climbing vine that is believed to originate in the rainforests of South America. It is intended to provide nutritive support for normal, healthy relaxation.

Healthline, “According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), more research is needed to assess the potential uses of P. incarnata (passion flower). Some studies suggest it may help relieve anxiety & insomnia. Early studies suggest it might help relieve insomnia and anxiety by boosting the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in your bran. This compound lowers brain activity, which may help you relax and sleep better. There are cautions (i.e. those that are pregnant, nursing, etc.) and prior to using this supplement, I recommend that you talk to your physician. For me, this supplement has been a positive addition in my sleep hygiene and has aided me in getting the hours of sleep that my body needs.

These are my BEST tips that I use routinely. They help me get the 7 hours of sleep that my body needs to function at its best each and every day! It’s been a learning process for me and I love sharing it with you. Research, investigate, and integrate – to find your BEST routine. Your body needs and deserves 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Be kind to yourself, please.

What works for you? Please share a tip so that we may learn from one another!

Namaste’, Mary

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