It was Stress Awareness day last November 4. As part of our self-awareness journey, it is important that we take a good look at what our stressors are and to develop healthy practices that reduce these stress factors in our lives.
In this blog post, we'll focus on improving the quality of our sleep. Sleep is a powerful stress reducer but stress itself is one of the main reasons many people cant get a restful one, along with the sleeping environment, distractions, health conditions such as pain or breathing problems, drinking caffeinated drinks or using stimulants close to bedtime, and partner’s snoring. According to the 2016 Healthy Living Index Survey, Filipinos have one of the highest rates of sleep deprivation in Asia with 46 percent of Filipinos not getting enough sleep and 32 percent saying they sleep for less than six hours
A good sleep comforts you from the strains of the day and prepares you for the following day. Here are some proven tips to easily fall asleep and wake up feeling refreshed, energized and ready to seize the day.
1. Regulate Your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine stays in your system several hours after drinking coffee and can disrupt your sleep cycle. According to research, you should avoid consuming coffee after 2 pm or at least 7-8 hours before bed time.
Some alternatives to caffeine for that needed energy boost past 2 pm are:
- Peppermint Tea
- Energy Smoothie Blends
- Golden Milk - milk with turmeric, cinnamon and ginger
2. Take a warm shower 1-2 hours before bed time
Your body temperature naturally falls into the night which helps you fall asleep faster. It’s a part of your circadian rhythm, the biological rhythm that acts as your body’s “clock” for sleep. A warm shower facilitates this natural flow by helping heat dissipate from the body. Elevate the experience by lighting candles or by diluting essential oils in carrier oil and then pouring the finished product to your bath water.
Here's a calming and relaxing combo for your bath water:
3. Fresh Sheets
A clean and crisp bedding brings comfort like nothing else. Wash and change sheets once a week so they always smell fresh and you create an environment that is conducive to better sleep.
4. Diffuse/apply essential oils
Pure essential oils are plant extracts with therapeutic properties that can aid your mental and emotional well-being. One of the most popular essential oils for sleep is cedarwood. It has sedative properties that help alleviate occasional insomnia. Add a few drops to your diffuser and leave it misting over night. Roller blends on the other hand, are ready to use essential oils already diluted in carrier oil for safe skin application and better absorption. This way, the essential oils get into your system faster.
5. Turn on warm light
Warm lighting creates the effect of warmth and comfort and therefore promotes relaxation at night. One of the possible reasons warm light resonates with us for the evenings is the color of the evening hearth side fire. Blue light on the other hand encourages wakefulness.
6. Turn off electronic devices 30 minutes before sleep
The blue light emitted by your gadget's screens restrain the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and makes it more difficult to fall asleep.
7. Have a light read
Now reading a book might not sound like it'll doze you to sleep but it takes your mind off of the troubles of the day, deadlines, the to-do's and therefore makes sleep easier. For a nighttime read, it is recommended to read fiction over non-fiction. Fiction doesn't encourage a lot of introspection and brainpower. Non-fiction on the other hand may induce reflective thinking. Choose light reads and avoid emotionally-unsettling stories. A good old-fashioned, classic book is a good choice.
8. Sleep naked, in undergarments or in thin clothing
One way of cooling down is going naked or sleeping in your undergarments. So go ahead and feel free to strip down under your covers!
9. Perform some breathing exercises
- Allow lips to gently part
- Exhale completely, making a breathy whoosh sound.
- Press lips together and silently inhale through the nose for a count of 4 seconds.
- Hold your breath for a count of 7.
- Exhale again for a full 8 seconds, making a whooshing sound throughout.
- Repeat 4 times when you first start. Eventually work up to 8 repetitions.
10. Know the best sleeping position for you
On Your Back
On Your Side
Let us know which practice works for you!