Thursday, November 29

My top 10 tips for the best sleep ever


 My go-to relaxation routine to help me achieve the best sleep ever, and a few alternate suggestions to help personalize it just for you!

Items Pictured: sportsbra  || shorts || yoga wheel || headphones || yoga mat

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Thanks for being here today!
With how crazy life can get, you guys have been asking for a long time how I manage to do all that I manage to do, and how I get enough sleep to do it. But through all the ups and downs with my sleeping routines and schedules over the summer, I wanted to make sure that I had found the perfect fool-proof nightly routine for the best quality of sleep before passing it onto you guys, and here it finally is.   

    I’m going to break these tips down to make them as simple as possible
because I can always go into more details down the road if needed. I do want to remind you briefly however that I've had more than enough craziness in my life during the last 10 years to ensure I never have a solid nights sleep again.haha So if these things can work for me than they're pretty likely to help you too!
I mean the obvious chaos that is our life from having 6 little ones between the ages of 8 and 8 months old, being a full-time mommy and also taking care of my late husband Martin during his cancer battle, working as the breadwinner (mostly through the night) during all that time, struggling emotional etc since then, and lastly I think just the pressures of the work I do online and the time spent trying to work/life balance can be so overwhelming.

There have been years where I couldn't rationalize sleep when I knew how behind I was, and my poor brain and body have been and still are constantly exhausted and overwrought, but that doesn’t stop me from always having to keep going and going all the time. The difference these days though is that I’ve been slowly working at implementing the perfect nightly routine until I’ve perfected it, and it’s completely turned my life around through getting proper rest. Sleep is probably number 1 in importance for our overall health and wellbeing, and a good night's sleep can make or break you, it really can. So quit messing around and let's get on with it!


    Here are my 10 best tips for the BEST SLEEP EVER.

       #1: Begin your wind-down with stretching/yoga and easy meditation.
Settle down for a bit of stillness and meditation, and some yoga/stretches. This is my absolute favorite part of the day. This is the first signal to my brain that I’m winding down. I love going onto the back porch as much as I can, but it’s been hit or miss with the weather lately. The leaves blowing around me though and Luna the cat joining me always make it a little more fun.haha
    I get some calm music playing and then just move slowly and flow with how my body tells me to. I twist a little this way and that, trying new positions from memory,  taking deep breaths and focusing on the here and now, on the movements of my body, on the strength I feel. This is the moment that you start to push out all of the garbage that tried to camp out in your brain today. All the negativity, all the frustrations and failures and burned soups and forgotten car keys. I push it all away as I concentrate on where my body touches the mat and imagine all that junk leaving me with each exhale. As I said, it’s become an essential part of my wind down and I like to drag it out when possible, but it doesn’t have to take more than a couple minutes if you’re strapped for time!

       #2: Clear your mind.
While I’m in the middle of my stretching I like to keep a pad nearby so I can start emptying my mind as I go. This is essential to write down any important things that come to mind in order to be able to push them out of my mind while I’m trying to clear it, and not worry about forgetting them. I just keep a little running bullet list, and I’ve found that when I don’t take the time for this that my mind will keep reminding me of them long after the lights go out, and I’ll be paranoid about forgetting until the lights have to come back on again so I can write it down. Trust me, get it out of the way as soon as you can.haha

       #3: Hydrate and ensure a deep sleep.
Next, I like to drink a little warm herbal tea (especially in the fall and winter) or a big glass of water and I take my evening medications along with my favorite herbal product to support restful sleep called Silent Night. It’s by Nature’s Way, and after years of trying different things to help me sleep better, I really love that this has such a calming and almost smooth way of slowing the world down and just helping you relax and prepare you for a solid night's sleep.

       #4: Tidy up and put away.
Next, I move onto ‘buttoning up the house’ a bit. This is a fun term that my late husband Martin started using early in our marriage and it just stuck. I’m not talking about anything too OCD, but just putting away any last perishables on the counters, starting the dishwasher, making sure the kids lunches are ready for the next day, locking the doors, arming the alarm system, turning off the basement lights, blowing out any candles, checking on the kids one last time and tucking them in, etc. It’s a simple ritual, but effective and smart as well. It’s a really important (but often overlooked) part of helping your mind relax for sleep.

       #5: Plan for the next day.
Once moving into the bedroom we usually end up talking about the kids and funny things they said or did that day, ways we can improve and teach differently, activities we want to take them on and such while we change and brush our teeth, etc. Sometimes we watch a little of a favorite show together (though we’re trying to cut that out altogether eventually). We also look at our calendars a bit and compare notes about doctors visits, hair appointments, school performances, etc, just to get on the same page, and it really sets us up for success the next day.

       #6: Hair and skincare regimen.
This is more part of my nightly routine then something that really helps to promote deeper sleep, but I do feel much better when I lay down to sleep with a fresh clean face and my hair up in a loose bun. I can share more detail about what I use and such in a later post if you’d like, but taking the steps to wash my face with warm water and maybe doing a facemask or something always seems to help me feel more calm and relaxed. Maybe it’s just another little step towards being intentional and taking care of myself that helps me feel better in general, like my life is my own and isn’t being controlled by my hectic schedule, etc.

       #7: Turn off your screens.
I know this is a bit of an eye-roller for a lot of us, especially when we work on our phones and computers throughout the day, but not only does it help especially from the aspect of turning off our ‘work’ brains, but the quick delivery of information that comes from scrolling social media and such and the lights all serve to stimulate our senses so much and make it that much harder to quiet everything down enough to sleep well. If you like to play games on your phone to wind down after a busy day, you need to take into account that you’ll probably need to do a few more things to calm your brain and relax before you’ll be able to have a solid nights sleep.

       #8: Set up your bed and the room.
If you’re someone that can’t sleep in total silence, make sure you have a fan going or something that can create a little white noise. If there’s a weird clicking sound from upstairs, go get it figured out before trying to sleep. Make sure you have all the pillows you need:) If it’s too warm then open a window. If it’s too cold than toss on another blanket and put on some warm socks. If you know you get to sleep in a bit the next day, maybe cover the window with a dark blanket to help keep the sun from waking you up too early. See where I’m going with this? Haha Again these might seem like simple things, but they go a long way towards helping you have a really restful productive nights sleep.

       #9: Practice a little body love.
Something I’ve been doing for years as often as I can before bed is to put on some body lotion. It started when I first got pregnant with my oldest Eleanor. I started rubbing stretch mark cream on my belly every night before sleeping, and not only was it good for my skin, but something about the circular motions while massaging it in was really relaxing. These days I love rubbing some onto my legs and arms, my feet, what I can reach of my back, and my stomach still:) I know it has made a huge difference in the health of my skin and my circulation.

       #10: Read a book to drift off.
Have you ever started reading a book and ended up falling asleep and waking up with the book on your chest? (or your face, true story.lol) Reading is such a great tool for helping you clear your mind in a simple and educational and almost hypnotic way. Even if you’re not into reading because it’s too boring or whatever, keeping this practice will just make you fall asleep all the faster.haha


In conclusion,
I'm not a morning person and never really have been, but these tips help make whatever sleep I can manage really count! I LOVE my sleep and it is valuable and rare, and how I sleep dictates so much about my day and my mood, and how refreshed and alert I feel, my appetite, and subsequently how productive and happy I feel throughout the day.

What is something that you love doing to help you wind down and/or sleep better? Leave a comment and let us know!
xoxo,

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