How much sleep do you average a night? I’m not just talking about the “oh I get good sleep, 8-9 hours”. I’m talking about uninterrupted, REM sleep- the sleep where you dream, wake up feeling rested & ready for the day. How many hours of this sleep do you think you get a night? Also, what time is your bedtime? For instance, I spoke with a client about this, asking her about her sleep routine. She told me that she usually winds down by going on her phone until 11 PM-12 AM, then she may get up to go to the bathroom and then go back on her phone to get back to sleep and then she’ll sleep in until about 8-8:30 AM. And I was like- woah, lets take a step back. First of all, sleep is our time to rest. And I mean rest in a way where its time for our body to relax, let go of the stress that has been brewing all day long. It is also a time for digestion, growth, and to support our hormones. Our hormones need that rest, and the organs that control the hormones need that rest to be able to regenerate. During the day, they are firing at all cylinders and no matter what you’ve got going on in your day, your body is feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and you’re being pulled in all kinds of directions, but on the inside, your body is managing that. So rest is super important for any type of stress-related issues. Lets say you’re having brain fog or trouble with depression or anxiety, if you’re not getting good sleep, then you’re not able to function at that level that you would like to function at. You’re feeling fatigued, you’re feeling down, you’re feeling the depression get worse. There are so many things that require our bodies to get sleep, even reproduction- if you’re a woman who is struggling to get pregnant, even reproduction needs sleep. If you are similar to my client- more of a night owl, sleeping in later, etc. you’re probably getting the correct amount of sleep, but the quality of sleep is in the tank. If your body is not in the REM sleep, you’re going to develop health issues. It is just a natural response because our bodies need to rest. Insomnia is something that a lot of women suffer from because we have kids, we have deadlines, sometimes that is when our best work happens. When you’re changing the dynamics of your sleep patterns, you’re then incorporating some major health issues. Your body isn’t given that time to reduce the stress that you’re dealing with in your day-to-day life.
I want to talk about a bedtime routine. A lot of us have kids, my kids are older so my bedtime routine is a bit easier now, however my older one likes to stay up later which makes mornings tougher. So I have to talk to him a little about cell phones and their blue light. Blue light is a very stimulating light- on cell phones, ipads, even reading a book on your ipad. That blue light, two hours before bed, is very detrimental to your sleep. When you don’t give yourself at least two hours before bed without social media, without the cell phone or ipad, your eyes go back and forth, they do not relax, and you are missing out on quality sleep. When my boys were younger, we stuck by a bedtime routine of being in bed by 8 or 8:30 PM. And I tell you what ladies, it was SO difficult. But we stuck to that as much as possible. The weekends were a little different, but I still tried to maintain that routine as much as possible because children love routine! I love routine! So, that is just a natural concept. It was easier to just give in if you’re tired or had a stressful day, or you come home after a long day and you have other obligations, and then it’s time for bed and they’re buckin’ the system- it gets very difficult and exhausting. In those moments, give yourself grace, do what you need to do to get yourself to sleep, and deal with it the next day. However, for the most part, what I tried to do was stick to 8-8:30 PM. It really helps and however you can create that with your children- it becomes kind of that winding down time, that quality time you get to spend with your kids to check in. I do this with Blaise, and he is 16, I’ll march myself downstairs before my bedtime and I do a quick check-in with him to see how his day was, asking if he got his homework done, talk about hunting, etc. And then I talk to him about staying off of his cell phone before bed. Whether he listens or not- you know, he’s 16. But, at least I have done my job to point those things out to him at that point. You can get super strict with cell phones in your home, this is just how I do it in my own. Because, at the end of the day, I will not always be there to remind him to put his phone down, so he will have to listen and take my advice or fail miserably. Blair on the other hand, I have a little more control with and I want to teach him that cell phones are okay, but around 7:30 PM I remind him that it’s time to start winding down off of the phone. And he has accepted that that is just fine because sleep for him is sometimes a struggle.
So creating that routine- for myself, I begin winding down around 7 PM. Supper is usually done or I set a plate out for Joey since it is harvest time and he’s busy. I’ll do what I need to do and then the lights go off. I don’t like a lot of lights, I like a more dim and quiet ambiance. Around 8 or 8:30 PM, we jump into bed and talk and the dogs are with us. Right now, it is very chaotic with the dogs. We’ve got trucks constantly coming in and out and it is a bit of a struggle with them getting up during the night. So I am trying to figure out a better routine for them. Really? A nighttime routine for my dogs? Anyways, a couple of things I do for myself if I am struggling in the evening with relaxing or winding down, I will put on an epsom bath with some candles, make sure the boys are taken care of. My bath last night felt so good, especially right now when I’m in the middle of switching medications and my muscles and joints are very angry at me. Epsom salt is amazing, cheap, and you can get it anywhere! I put 1 cup into a bath, and you can always add your handy dandy essential oils. I usually put lavender in my bath, especially in the evening. I LOVE lavender. It has so many benefits.
Another thing I do with my essential oils is I am constantly running my oil diffusers in my kitchen and in my living room. My favorites to diffuse are Thieves (Essential Oils) or Onguard (doTerra). If I am really struggling or the house’s energy is just crazy, I will start diffusing some lavender. So I do have a bedtime routine with an occasional bath, using some lavender or whatever scent is speaking to you in a calming sense.
If I don’t do a bath, I will do some stretching which always helps. It especially helps if you’re in a more sedentary, desk-like position or even if you’re busy running around- stretching is always really good. With this, I incorporate some breathing such as five deep belly breaths.
Sometimes I will also incorporate some herbal tea. Herbal tea is great for a winding down evening. Especially an hour or 2 before bed, steep up some water and use some chamomile tea and that is awesome. Try whatever herbal tea that really speaks to you, you can always try chamomile, see how it feels, and go from there.
Along with really creating that bedtime routine, a lot of times I will do a few drops of my CBD oil, either in my tea or I will just take it by mouth. And to finish I take my Calm Specifics. That extra magnesium really helps my body to relax along with reducing the stress in my body at night.
So those are a few of the things I do for my bedtime routine, with the phones being done at 8:00, but typically, my phone is put away by 8 o’ clock and I have an alarm clock. I do have my phone by my bed but I have it flipped over and I have my notifications turned off. If you have not turned your notifications off while you’re sleeping yet, I highly, highly suggest shutting them off. A lot of times I will start reading a hard copy book (not a phone). That is another way to really decompress. It is also a great way to gain some personal development or maybe get into a juicy novel, whatever it is that floats your boat! It is a great way to wind down and end your day.
I strongly encourage you to create a nighttime routine, especially with kids. Because I was that way when my kids were little, they do have a pretty routine bedtime. This also helps me to notice if they are off on their bedtime routine, I instantly know that it is a sleep issue. When Blair gets sassy or emotional, I immediately know that he needs to go to bed earlier. When Blaise gets irritable I tell him he needs to take a nap or go to sleep earlier as well. Rest is SO important in so many ways for our bodies. It is for our hormone health, our brain fog, even weight loss. If you’re struggling with a weight issue, getting a fasting sleep is so important. Because, when your body is full, your digestion is already in the mode of slowing down because it is bedtime. And, if you are going to bed with a full stomach, it is not going to process your food the correct way and it is going to hang up in your stomach and in your digestion. It is going to be harder to lose that weight, you’ll feel that heaviness and that bloating. Your body is meant to go to sleep, your body is meant to go to rest, and your digestion does slow down at night so if you are going to bed full, you are not going to digest that food and it is going to cause problems. So I highly recommend not eating anything at least two hours before bed. These are my Top bedtime routine tips and I hope they can provide you with some support knowing where to start and maybe why you’re struggling.
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