If you’re a busy mum, a killer business owner, a strung out student or all of the above, we have a list of 5 tips for how to achieve an amazing sleep routine to sleep our way to the top - quite literally.
Just as we wouldn’t eat off dirty dishes, why would we settle for going through the day with anything less than the full power and potential of our brains?
To celebrate World Sleep Day which is held tomorrow, Friday 15th March. Here are our top tips for a great night's sleep from the 'Queen of Sleep' herself!
1. Make your bedroom a sleeping sanctuary:
We all know that we’re a product of our environment, so we really want to put a little energy into ensuring that our bedroom is a place that encourages us to relax. Some key components of this include:
- comfortable bedding: eg. supportive pillows, and clean sheets. Remember, clean your sheets every week! I love to also air my bedding on the line while my sheets are drying. This prevents that stuffy pillow feeling and allows the duvets to air nicely. It’s amazing what a little sunshine can do!
- a cool temperature: ideally, the temperature in your room should be between 15 degrees and 19 degrees to promote good, consistent sleep. I love sleeping with my fan on during the summer as the white noise is often quite relaxing too! Having a consistently cool room will help prevent any mid-sleep wake ups as the temperature changes too.
- a device-free zone: keep your devices outside of your bedroom to prevent any pinging, dinging, and donging from disrupting your sleep. Getting into the routine of putting your devices to sleep in their own ‘charging station’ outside of the bedroom also becomes a great way to tell your brain to leave the work mode behind as you try to catch some z’s. Think of it this way, at least you’ll now start walking up as fully charged as your iPhone! Also, remember to shut off your devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime - the longer the better. We all know that the blue light is terrible for our melatonin production. Applications like Flux (for Mac) and the Night Shift feature on iPhone’s is great and gradually reduces the blue light in your device screens throughout the day as you get closer to bedtime. While features like Screen Time remind you to get off your phone after a certain amount of usage. Nonetheless, shut your devices down as early as you can!
- relaxing scents: we love to diffuse our Isagenix Lavender Essential Oil in the room while we complete our bedtime routine. It’s amazing how scents can really calm you and remind your body that it’s time to sleep. Much like how the smell of freshly cooked foods actually triggers your stomach to produce the correct enzymes to digest food, smelling relaxing scents like lavender can trigger your body into sleep mode. Studies have proven that lavender has the ability to reduce blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate. While other research has shown that lavender may actually be able to alter brain waves and reduce stress. Whether you’re in it for the scientifically studied benefits or just because you like the scent, give it a try! We love using our diffuser however, you can also try out essential oil rollers, pillow sprays and lavender infused bath salts for an added effect! Check out our blog post all about essential oil DIY’s here!
- reserve the bedroom for special occasions only: Arianna swears by this tip ‘the bed is for sleep or sex - not work! I’m a sucker for wanting to sit in bed and write a blog post or complete an essay for school surrounded by a nest of pillows. However, I do understand the benefit in dragging myself out of bed to complete the task (usually just to the couch though). We want to develop a strong relationship between bed and sleep, rather than a bed and ‘a comfy place to online shop and complete work emails’. Leave the work and the distractions at the bedroom door and leave the bedroom for a place of relaxation and quality time with your partner.
- declutter the bedroom: I’m a bit of an addict about all things KonMari at the moment - if you haven’t heard of her, Marie Kondo is a tidying queen and she’s just released her new series on Netflix so be sure to check it out! However, her basic concept of tidying relies on only allowing belongings that spark joy into our homes and she uses this concept to help people declutter and remove all the items which fail to spark joy from our homes. This is a priority from the bedroom. This room is the last place you see at night and the first room you view in the morning. Take pride in this and make sure that you’re waking up to a beautiful view. This includes ensuring that your bed is made and clean, the floor is clean and clear and that there isn’t any excess clutter which causes you stress.
2. Dress for the Occasion!
Both Arianna and Marie Kondo strongly believe that what you wear to bed is highly important. Rather than just throwing on some old track pants or another piece of clothing which has been downgraded to ‘loungewear’, they encourage us to dress for the occasion! Arianna has dedicated sleepwear which may be a set of pajamas or a nightgown which has become a strong ritual in her routine. Getting physically into a set outfit is a strong reminder of the activity we are about to complete - whether that’s a workout, a work day or a good night’s sleep. Marie believes by keeping clothes from our original wardrobe as ‘loungewear’ is simply our way of delaying getting rid of clothes that no longer spark joy for us. In her bestseller book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” she wrote, “to me, it doesn’t seem right to keep clothes we don’t enjoy for relaxing around the house. This time at home is still a precious part of living. Its value should not change just because nobody sees us. Precisely because no one is there to see you, it makes far more sense to reinforce a positive self-image by wearing clothes you love.” In simple terms, wear clothes you love to bed - clothes you feel great and confident in. Besides, you’re going to spend a lot of your life wearing them while asleep!
3. Self Care:
Arianna, although not directly emphasising it, incorporates a lot of self-care rituals into her routine and I believe that it plays a massive part in her ability to sleep successfully. She takes the time to finish her day on a high and these rituals continue throughout her morning routine also. She loves taking an evening bath before sleep - much like you used to give your children! We deserve just as much time and care when we’re older too. She washes off the worries of the day and sips a cup of nighttime tea (try for something un-caffeinated and soothing like chamomile). Arianna also recommends avoiding all caffeine after 2 pm! During the summer months, even try for a slightly cooler bath and finish it off with a cool shower if required. My mum and I have recently re-discovered our love for a warm flannel. I was given one infused with lavender in the hospital after my surgery and came home to tell mum all about it. Ever since we’ve been keeping some flannels rolled up and soaked in water with some Isagenix Essential Oils (lemon, peppermint or lavender) in the fridge. It’s a lovely cold treat in the heat of the day and it even better at night slightly warmed in the microwave. Soak your face and freshen up, you can’t help but go to sleep feeling wonderful. This is such an easy but gorgeous tip and feels super luxurious too!
If you’re anything like me, I find that if I have a workout in the early evening, it really gets me tired before bed. If I have a run around 4pm/5pm and then come home, have dinner and then begin my night routine I fall asleep significantly faster. However, morning or night, having some form of exercise during the day does wonder for your sleep routine. Mum and I have recently been trying to get out for a walk in the cool of the evening, nothing long or excessive, but it’s a lovely way to calm my anxiety and really ground myself. It’s so relaxing walking the neighbourhood and seeing everyone else down our street in their nightly routine, watching television or sitting out on the deck with a cup of tea. You get home with a lovely sense of community. Being out in the dark is great for melatonin production too (the hormone that helps you sleep). Once we’re home from the walk, we like to keep most of the lights off in the house to make sure we don’t wake ourselves up too much. Usually, I just keep candles lit and my salt lamp on while I finish the rest of my night routine.
Having a good book before bed is such a lovely way to finish your day. Just ensure that it’s nothing too stimulating like a crime novel or a thriller! Similarly, Arianna recommends that your reading has nothing to do with work. She loves poetry, philosophy and fictional books that are reasonably lighthearted. It has to be a physical book for her because obviously the devices have already been removed!
Right before bed, Arianna takes the time to write down 3 things that she’s thankful for that day. She loves how this simple exercise gives the day a lovely closing moment and ends the day on a positive note. For you, this may involve physically writing these 3 things down, or perhaps it’s more of a mental exercise. I love doing this verbally with my partner or perhaps you may enjoy completing this through prayer or meditation! Whatever floats your boat.
I love keeping a notepad by my bed, as it means I’m also given the opportunity to unload any to-do’s or thoughts that are sitting in my head. By writing them down, I’m reassured that I’ve got everything sorted and that I can fall asleep easily knowing I’m not going to forget something important before tomorrow.
Oh and don’t forget to chuck the animals (kindly) off the bed. As much as they might love sucking the warmth from you, your little friends will be just as comfortable in the lounge or in their own bed. We’ve had to ban our cats from sleeping on our bed as they pin us in uncomfortable positions and we’re too nice to disturb them!
4. Deep Breathing and Gentle Stretching
Gentle stretching and deep abdominal breathing are amazing ways for us to prepare our bodies for sleep. Recently, Morag introduced me to a simple exercise which she is encouraging me to do every afternoon or evening (as I’m taking afternoon naps post operation to help with the recovery). She asks me to place my legs up the wall and put a very light exercise ball on my stomach. For approximately 15 minutes, my task is to focus on deep abdominal breathing which moves the ball on my stomach. Having the ball there is a great way to visually see when I’m doing it correctly. Getting out air from my deep abdominal area really relaxes the body as it requires a lot more focus and slower breaths. I often find myself falling asleep during the exercise!
Other stretches for a great night sleep can be done simply on the bed. Please see the slideshow below for descriptions and examples of each:
5. Calculate your bedtime according to your wake time!
If you’re wanting to make sure you’re getting a full 8 hours, use your desired wake time to count back the hours to calculate your best sleep time. The bedtime feature on the Apple iPhone is a great way to do this. It also enables you to set “Do Not Disturb” on during your desired sleeping time and gives you alarms to wake and sleep accordingly. However, sleep cycles have a large part in allowing us to wake feeling refreshed and fulfilled by our night’s sleep. So a website called sleepyti.me has been super helpful to me. You simply put in the time you have to wake up and it calculates the time you should be falling asleep at to feel refreshed and alert! Just remember, that this website does not include the time it may take you to fall asleep, so remember to schedule your routine accordingly.
Having a good night sleep can be truly life-changing. Honestly, getting to the stage where you have great sleep hygiene isn’t that difficult either. We just need to give ourselves the opportunity to succeed. The results are amazing and speak for themselves. Not only will you feel a whole lot better, but you’ll also be able to visually see the difference in your skin too! Your boss or your partner will love it also. But the important thing is to do it for yourself. You deserve the rest and you deserve to feel great - so get started on having a relaxing night time routine which encourages that also.
From our home to yours,
Hi there! Thanks for checking out the Live Lively blog. I am so excited to share my passion for productivity, personal growth and wellbeing!