If there is one overall wellness, happiness, beauty and relaxation tip that is no secret but a tried and true fact and also a life necessity as much as food, air and water it’s sleep. Beautiful, magical, restful, replenishing sleep. Yet how often do we skimp on this rejuvenating ritual or interrupt it with restlessness and worry.
We ask that you give yourself a gift this holiday season. The time to properly rest your body and mind. There is no facial, miraculous moisturizer, juice cleanse or yoga class that will take the place of a good nights sleep for looking a feeling your absolute best.
“Sleep dwell upon thine eyes, peace in thy breast. Would I were sleep and peace, so sweet to rest.” – Romeo
Romeo eloquently reminds us that sleep is beautiful and peaceful, but The National Sleep Foundation offers up some pretty interesting facts too:
* Humans are the only animal that willingly delays sleep. Your mission is to try to go down without a fight. Listen to your body and respond to the cues it gives you.
* Regular exercise helps you to fall asleep and sleep better through the night. Burn off that extra energy with a regular exercise routine that works for you. A hike, a surf, an hour in the gym, a yoga class…so many options out there. Just don’t exercise in the hour before you go to bed as that will have the opposite effect.
* Adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. Eight is the magic number. Plan your schedule so that you have enough time to get the right amount of sleep for your body.
* Sleep is on par with diet and exercise for maintaining a healthy body and lifestyle. If you invest your time, money and resources into proper nutrition and fitness, do the same for replenishing your cells with rest.
To really take advantage of the benefits of our sleep cycle and treat our bodies to the most restful experience possible, we’ve put together some of our top tips for not just a good, but a great nights rest.
A quality bed is one of the best investments you’ll ever make. You spend 1/3 of your life sleeping and the quality of that sleep impacts all areas of your life. Just like you would in comfortable running shoes, or a great night cream, invest in a good mattress.
Set a schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
Avoid large meals, especially heavy, spicy or acidic ones right before bed. Foods that DO help you sleep include tart cherry juice, kiwi, almonds, turkey, fish high in omega-3 fatty acids and walnuts. A cup of chamomile or passionflower tea is a calming alternative to a glass of wine. Adding a magnesium supplement is both relaxing and sleep inducing.
Avoid the news before going to bed. It’s pretty crazy out there right now and we do not need to be reminded of it before we drift off into slumber. If you absolutely need to look at something current check out the Good News Network. (https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org)
Create a nightly ritual that helps you unwind and relax. Read a book, listen to some calming music or nature sounds, take a warm bath or shower, set aside a few minutes to meditate and do breathing exercises. List everything you are grateful for and let go of the day’s frustrations. Thank yourself for getting through another day and physically hold a smile for 30 seconds while thinking of everything about the day that made you happy.
Turn your sleep space into a cave. Lights, especially white and blue electronic lights, can affect the sleep cycle. Electrical tape placed over the glow of TVs, computers and internet routers has been a saving grace for us. Dim the lights an hour before bed to signal to your body that it’s time to sleep.
The best sleep happens in a cool space. Optimal temperature for sleeping is between 65 and 68 degrees.
Sound disturbance can affect your sleep. If your sleep space is prone to noise, invest in some earplugs.
If you’re using your cell phone as an alarm, replace it with a good ole fashioned clock. Place your cell phone away from your reach. In the other room in best.
When you wake up expose your body to natural sunlight as soon as you get up. If you have the chance to do a ten minute meditation in the sunlight, that is ideal.
And once you’re well rested, you will be that much more divine for all your holiday parties!