Sleep allows the brain to recover from the rigors of the day. Not getting enough sleep has been found to increase the risk of obesity, heart disease and depression. According to the 2017 Journal of the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult requires 8 hours sleep (that is one third of your day). If you live, 75 years, that’s 25 years of sleep! It is time we paid more attention to mastering the art of a peaceful slumber.
1.Create a Sanctuary
In 2009, Mathias Basner, MD, MS, MSc, and David F. Dinges, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine published the findings of a 3 year study which researched the sleeping behaviors of over 21,475 participants.
This study found that TV viewing was the most predominant pre-sleep activity – accounting for almost 50 percent of participants. This study identified a correlation between TV watching in the bedroom and insomnia. If it is possible, avoid doing any work or study in your bedroom. Your bedroom should be a place of rest, calm and intimacy only. In order to create such an ambiance its important not to have a television, devices or work related activity in the bedroom.
2. Remove any Plants from your Bedroom
Have you ever felt fatigued or drowsy during a meeting, where you share oxygen with others in a confined space?
If so, you will have an understanding of how increased levels carbon dioxide in the bloodstream impacts your concentration and energy. “Plants are living things, when you have things growing while you are sleeping, you are contradicting your calm’ says Dana Claudat,author of Feng Shui 101.
3. Reevaluate Your Color Scheme
Color Psychology is a branch of the study of how our brain perceives what it visualizes. The bedroom is where you go to relax, decompress, rest and reconnect with your partner.
In a recent survey completed by Travelodge cool shades such as; blues, greens and lavenders were deemed to be the most conducive to establishing a sense of calm, leading to a restful night’s sleep. Passion shade’s such as Red/Auburn tones tend to increase blood pressure and heart rate which stimulates activity.
4.Monitor your Sleep
A Fitbit is a wireless enabled activity-tracker that measures; the number of steps walked, heart rate and quality of sleep. Specifically, the measurement of quality of sleep is useful in calculating the hours of ‘restful sleep’ in addition to periods of sleep disturbance. You can even set a sleep goal and a reminder of your bedtime which syncs with your other devices
Over a period of time, it is helpful to undertake your own personal sleep study by reviewing the results of your behavioral sleep patterns. If stats cause concern, you should speak with your Primary Care Physician.
5.Commit to a Bedtime
Setting a predictable bed-time is much like establishing a habit. According to the 2017 Journal of the National Sleep Foundation, 7-9 hours of slumber is the optimum for most adults.
In 1960, Dr Maltz wrote the classic bestseller; Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life. Dr Maltz found through his research, that it takes 21 days to form a habit. However, numerous other studies dictate that the adjustment period of effective change is up to 12 weeks depending on the individual. Regardless intention, determination and focus is fundamental to establishing and maintaining good lifestyle habits.
The old mantra ‘out of sight, out of mind’, is important when creating your own personal santuary. It is imperative to acknowledge that your boudoir is a place of solace, calm and rest. De-cluttering your space will declutter your thought process thus promoting a space of relaxation.
Registered Dietician Lesley Beck advises that finishing one’s evening meal by 8:00 p.m. helps you to feel less bloated the next morning and sleep more soundly. Your brain cannot sleep if your body is still trying to digest your meal.
A hot drink before bedtime such as herbal tea is fine. Hot chocolate, however, contains two stimulants, caffeine and theobromide. This combined with the high sugar content found in most hot chocolate drinks will stimulate activity rather than rest.
Drinkaware warns that drinking alcohol before bed may induce falling asleep quicker however as the night goes on you spend less time in this deep sleep and more time than usual in the less restful, Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep. This can lead to feelings of lethargy the next day.
Though not mandatory, is there anything more relaxing than a lavender scented, bubble bath after a long, hard day?
The benefits of a hot bath include relieving muscle ache and tension, increased blood flow and the placebo affect of knowing you are treating yourself. There is no doubt that soaking in a hot bath can help you transcend to a deeper, more restful sleep. However, the National Sleep Foundation warns that you should not go to bed overly hot and recommends 60 to 90 minutes between getting out of a hot tub getting into bed.
9. Lavender & Chamomile
It is important not to underestimate the power that your olfactory senses have on your mind. Your olfactory senses are most associated with nostalgia, therefore implementing scents into your night time regiment will help to distinguish solid habits.
If hot baths are not your cup of tea, herbal remedies in the form of lotion, scented candles, aromatherapy burners or pillow mist can be useful. Alternatively, a sprig of lavender tucked into your pillow case will have a comforting affect.
After Orgasm both men and women release the chemicals oxytocin, prolactin, gamma amino butyric acid and endorphins. Each of these chemical releases leads to feelings of sleepiness. Research dictates that the chemical release amongst both genders is equal however the distribution of orgasms is not.
In addition, climax depletes the muscles of the chemical glycogen which promotes energy. As men tend to on average have a higher muscle mass than their female counterparts, they are more inclined to feel the affects. Therefore intimacy is most conducive to the males of society looking for a good night’s sleep. Sorry Ladies…
11.Keep a Gratitude Journal
Writing a journal is a form of expressive therapy allowing one to process his or her emotions and most importantly decompress.
The purpose of writing therapy is that documenting ones emotions gradually eases feelings of emotional trauma. Writing therapeutically enables one to track his or her emotional responses to distressing events, to identify triggers, and to identify his or her unique patterns of behavior. A Gratitude Journal specifically prompts you to restructure your thought process to intentionally seek the ‘good’ in each day.
Exposure to light prompts the body and the mind to feel alert and awake. Exposure to light during the night is detrimental to falling into a restful sleep.
Well lined curtains or quality blinds prove to be useful to block out the natural light however pressing an LED screen to your face at midnight will confuse your caveman brain into thinking it is daytime. Thus implementing a Digital Sundown is paramount to obtaining a high quality restful slumber.
13. Implement a Digital Sundown
Reducing your exposure to screens before bedtime is an important part of the ‘winding down’ process at the end of the day.
It is helpful to begin this practice with 5 minutes of a dedicated screen detox and slowly expand this time depending on your tolerance.