Quick Tips for Better Sleep
Sleep! It’s the elusive prize that parents long for. Sleep was something I took for granted. I don’t mean just before parenting, but really something I didn’t think much about. When the crazy day is done, we fall in to bed, sleep as much as we can, before the alarm is ringing and it’s time to rise and shine again. But when I started to learn about HOW to get good sleep…GAME CHANGER! It’s not just the number of hours you get. Did you know you can make some simple changes to make those same hours of sleep really count? The better you sleep, the more you nourish your brain and the more your body has time to heal from whatever is going on. Sleep is a critical part of staying healthy and managing stress.
Even when we are living a healthy lifestyle, we all have “triggers” that can cause a weakness in our immune system. These triggers may have always been with us or they may have been encouraged by years of certain environmental factors (like stress…um, hello!?). After paying attention to my patterns, I have learned that not getting enough sleep quickly causes my immune system to struggle when it normally works like Super Man. Even after making so many healthy changes over the past several years, this one little thing can still throw me off. I have learned to respect my body’s need for good sleep. Knowing your triggers is important so you can make changes to prevent them and stay healthy! And that’s really what it’s all about, right?! Staying healthy so we can do what we love and spend quality time with our important people.
Here are my tips for getting better sleep:
- Create a normal bedtime routine (for you, not just the kids!)
- Incorporate relaxing and quieting essential oils (get them HERE)
- Create a peaceful, relaxing environment for sleep
- Limit cell phone and tablet use prior to bed
- TURN OFF the cell phone while you sleep (or leave it in another room)
- Avoid lights from electronics, tv, nightlights as all can disturb sound sleep
Creating a Grown-up Bedtime Routine
I suppose I had a routine before, but it was based on necessity and not on preparing for rest. It was pretty much: wash face, brush teeth, set alarm, climb in bed. Going to bed around the same time every night is important for your body’s clock to stay on schedule. If your bed time moves around, you’ll probably find it more difficult to fall asleep quickly and feel rested. It’s also important to create a space and a routine that gives your mind and body the cues that it’s time for resting. Your bedroom should be a peaceful place that you enjoy (excuse for redecorating???). I have been amazed at how much more soundly I sleep during the night after making some small changes part of my daily routine! Here’s what works for me…
- After the kids are in bed, the lights in the rest of the house generally stay off or on dim. This helps my system realize it’s time to start slowing down.
- I do my best to limit any lights in our bedroom or on my side table.
- Cell phones are completely off. Not on silent. O.F.F. Even though you can’t hear or see it, streaming data causes your cell phone to release small amounts of radiation, which can interrupt your sleep patterns without you knowing the cause! (Plus, the constant buzzing continually calls you to someone else’s priorities instead of your own…but I could write a separate post on that!)
- I keep two roll-on bottles of essential oils by my bed and choose one to roll on my wrists at bed time. I love this part of the routine!
- I also use an ultra-sonic, cool mist diffuser with essential oils in my bed room at night.
- If I decide not to use the diffuser (or I’m traveling without it), I make a homemade linen spray that goes on my pillows and sheets. This is a great option for anyone! Even my husband notices now that he sleeps better when we use the oils!
(For me, it’s also necessary to limit caffeine and even foods or drinks providing natural energy. I never have anything past 2pm that could keep me up!)
Essential Oils for Restful Sleep
Essential oils reach the limbic system of the brain, which controls our emotions. This is why they are perfect to help you relax and settle down for bed time. You can inhale them or apply them to your skin. The best part about it, is you get to play with the combinations to see what works best for you. To get the most out of your oils, it’s important that they are pure and high quality. HERE is more info on where I get my essential oils and why.
Options to apply topically before bed:
- Lavender (seriously, it’s the best for sooo many thing!)
- Stress Away blend
- Tranquil Roll On
- RutaVaLa Roll On
- My favorite custom blend in a 10ml roller bottle is: 15 drops Cedarwood, 15 drops Copaiba, 15 drops Lavender, then filled to the top with a carrier oil (like fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil, etc.)
Options for the diffuser:
- Stress Away blend
- Lavender and Frankincense
- Lavender and Orange (or Tangerine)
- AromaSiez blend (one of my favorites for occasional tension)
- Peace & Calming blend ( my daughter’s favorite!)
Making Linen Spray:
Homemade linen spray could not be any easier! All you really need is a spray bottle, some essential oils and water. You can add in a splash of witch hazel or vodka to help with faster evaporation, but I make mine with just essential oils and water. Just Lavender essential oil makes a nice, relaxing linen spray. My favorite though is 3 drops of Lavender oil, 7 drops of Orange oil, and 2 drops of Ylang Ylang oil (filled to the top with water) in a 1 oz. spray bottle. Heaven!
Limiting Light and Electronics
I agree…this is a tough one! Unfortunately, the light from our various electronic devices and our coveted phones/tablets interferes with sound sleep. They confuse our brains so that we aren’t really sure if it’s sleeping time or not. By reducing the amount of light in your bedroom and limiting screen time before bed, your brain begins to understand it really is time for resting. I wasn’t convinced this would really help me out too much, but I was amazed at how much more soundly I slept through the night!
If you are looking for more info, check out Shawn Stevenson’s book “Sleep Smarter” HERE. I discovered Shawn’s podcast serious The Model Health Show on iTunes and I’m hooked now!
There’s also more HERE on Young Living’s blog about how you can use essential oils with your bedtime routine.