Scott Clarke Photo for Crate and Barrel
Whether you admit you need help getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night or you are still in denial about your need to catch zzzz’s, chances are you could use an intervention: a full two-thirds of Americans & Canadians say they have trouble getting enough shut-eye at least once a week. That’s a pretty harrowing number, considering that sleep is absolutely essential for good health and optimal functioning.
Commit sleep sabotage and you’re putting yourself at risk for the following…
- Increased moodiness- who wants to be riding an unnecessary emotional roller coaster? Not us.
- Impaired memory and ‘brain fog’ – too many things to accomplish to be lacking in brain power.
- Leaky gut – no thanks.
- Inflammation which can lead to chronic disease – not sure about you but we’d like to live a long, pain-free life.
- Decreased immune function – hello colds, flu and shingles (yep, had all three this past winter)
Lack of sleep puts you at greater risk for anxiety, depression, cravings and choices that aren’t really aligned with your goals (like skipping exercise) because you don’t have the energy.
If you need more of a reason to hit the sack early read on. You’ll be surprised how much sleep impacts your well being.
“In addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise, getting enough restful sleep is the most important thing you can do for your health. Chronic sleep problems interfere with your body’s natural rhythms and rob it of the time it needs to restore itself. The incidence of many diseases including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks and depression increases with a lack of sleep. Recent research has even shown a connection between poor sleep and weight gain. We simply weren’t built to just go, go, go. We were built to go, go, go and then rest, rest, rest. We evolved according to the natural rhythms of darkness and light; our bodily functions reflect this and undergo similar fluctuations. They perform best when we live in accordance, as much as possible, with these cycles” – Dr. Frank Lipman via Goop Magazine
It’s vital for good health, but getting quality shut-eye isn’t always easy.
So if counting sheep isn’t working for you, here’s our pro guide to getting the best kind of ZZZs;
- Practice the regular rhythms of sleep – Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Experts agree the most restorative sleep occurs before 12am so aim to start your bedtime ritual at 10pm at the latest.
- No TV or social media in the bedroom. This last part is hard but try to make a pact with yourself to log off of social after a certain time. Better yet, leave your phone in a different room to give yourself a break from those WiFi signals.
- Create a bedtime ritual (A Power Down Hour) that let’s your body know it’s almost time to sleep. We love washing our face mindfully, a 10 minute meditation or body scan, a beautiful sleepy time essential oil spray and saying gratitudes.
- Set the tone by making your sleep haven a dark, quiet environment – consider using an eye mask and earplugs.
- Take a warm salt or aromatherapy bath. Raising your body temperature before bed helps to induce sleep.
- Eat no later than two hours before bed – eating a heavy meal prior to bed will lead to a bad night’s sleep and will impede the body’s overnight detoxification process.
- Take relaxing minerals such as magnesium & calcium.
- Get a relaxing playlist to help you get to sleep.
- Warm your middle with a hot water bottle, which raises your core temperature and helps trigger the proper chemistry for sleep.
- Avoid alcohol – it helps you get to sleep but makes your sleep interrupted and of poor quality.
- Get a massage, stretch or have sex before bed. As Ariana Huffington says, “Sex is nature’s ambien”.
- Write your worries down. During your Power Down Hour, write down the things that are causing you anxiety and make plans for what you might have to do the next day to reduce your worry. It will free up your mind and energy to move into deep and restful sleep.
- Avoid caffeine or reduce it after noon – it may make sleep worse.
Medical experts all agree that sleep is essential, for health and sanity – which might not sound like good news if, like many of us, you live in a world where ‘I’m tired’ is practically the new ‘hello’. It really is more important than ever to take your sleep seriously, so we hope that you can implement some of our tips above, to start creating a more sustainable and overall healthily sleep pattern!
– Team Raw Beauty xo