Sleep. The Elixir of Life.
Over the past few weeks I've noticed that I've been more tired than usual. (Read flat, grumpy, irritable, over it.) Work, parenting, and balancing other projects on the side takes energy. Feeling lacklustre lately, I know I haven't been showing up as my best self.
When I reflect on what's brought about the drop in my energy levels, its glaringly obvious... I've fallen off the wagon with my sleep routine. My sensible 10pm bedtime has been stretching out, and I'm feeling the effects of sleep deprivation creeping up on me. Gah.
This Wellness Coach needs to get back to walking her talk when it comes to having good sleep hygiene habits. Waking up well-rested is priceless.
“We are in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis, with profound consequences to our health, our job performance, our relationships and our happiness. What we need is nothing short of a sleep revolution: only by renewing our relationship with sleep can we take back control of our lives.” - Arianna Huffington
Why sleep matters
Prioritising rest is probably the most important thing you can do to boost your health. Sleep IS the foundation of wellness.
Sleep allows us to physically disengage from our stressors and perceived reality so we can focus our metabolic energy on activities that regenerate and restore our tissues. - Dr Zac Bush MD
It’s tempting to keep scrolling on social media or feasting on your latest Netflix obsession late at night (especially if you’re a parent and the house is quiet!) - but trust me on this, once you start prioritising sleep, you will really notice how different you feel when you’ve created a great foundational sleep habit. Fresh and clear.
Sleep allows the body and mind to rest and repair. It's a time for the body to detox and renew itself at a cellular level.
Some of the top benefits of consistently getting enough sleep are:
Improved brain function and mental clarity
More balanced hormones
Improved immune function
Better mood and emotional stability
Lowered risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke
Helps to maintain healthy weight (lack of sleep causes cortisol to increase which effects appetite and cravings)
On the flip-side, consistently not getting enough sleep puts you in the higher risk group for:
Lack of sleep has a profound impact on your brain. If you don’t get enough sleep your cognitive function is reduced, your ability to learn is impaired, your memories don’t get stored in a way you can access them when you need them, and you have slower reaction times. - D Zac Bush MD
Energy, and why we need it.
Energy is at the centre of everything we do. It is our vital life force.
Deprived of sleep, and without energy, you're like a car without fuel in it... going nowhere.
Our energy levels directly impact our physical health, but also have a dramatic influence on our mental health and our:
Attitudes & Actions
Refreshed from sleep, and with a full tank of fuel, you're equipped to deal with whatever comes your way with more grace and ease.
You have a greater capacity to:
Focus and get into flow state.
See the world with a positive and optimistic attitude.
Respond more mindfully to challenges.
Have energy and motivation to exercise.
Make healthy food choices throughout the day, as a result of having more stable blood sugar levels
Have the zest and spark to take action towards meaningful goals.
Be a nicer and more patient partner/parent/friend/colleague/person in general.
A good night's sleep - A Keystone Health Habit
You're aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep, at least 5 nights a week. Remember, your bedroom is your sleep sanctuary. Make it a place where you feel calm, relaxed and at ease. Declutter, simplify, and create an oasis for rest. Pay attention to the lighting - low and ambient is best. The optimal temperature to support sleep for most adults is 15 to 22 degrees Celsius or 60 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Some tips to help you create a bedtime routine and sleep habit:
Set yourself a sensible bedtime and wake-up alarm, that you will aim to keep consistent throughout the week. Mine is 10pm and 6am, and it works well. A few quiet mindful moments alone in the morning before the house is awake is blissful.
Ease your mind by preparing for the next day earlier in the evening. Prep snackboxes, check your calendar, and set out anything you will need for the morning - especially workout gear/yoga mat if you plan to exercise.
Aim to start your nightly digital detox at least 30 mins before you hop into bed - set a reminder on your phone to help you know when it’s time to wind down. Turn devices to flight mode, and say goodnight to your screen until the morning.
Do something soothing before bedtime to help usher you into that lovely state of relaxation where sleep comes more easily. Some of my favourites:
Stretch a little. I love yin yoga in the evening, and practice online with https://www.glo.com
Meditate or practice Yoga Nidra. A little time in stillness is a perfect way to release tension, and clear and settle the mind. I love the free Insight Timer meditation app, and adore Sarah Blondin’s beautiful meditations and Yoga Nidra with Jennifer Piercy. Rod Stryker is another great teacher I often have in my ears as I fall asleep - here is one of his Yoga Nidra practices.
Take a warm shower and spend a little time doing your skin/beauty routine. Keep it simple, but see it as a way to practice self-care every night.
Sip on a herbal tea while reading a book you love in bed. By candlelight is even more lux.
Having a simple Gratitude Practice to close off the day on a positive note can be a nice way to segue into sleep. Simply noting down 3 things that went well or that you’re grateful for from the day swells the heart and calms the mind. If you want to write them down, great - if not, bringing them to mind will also reap benefits.
Try these out, and let me know how you go. Track your progress and note any differences to how you feel.
It's just hit 10pm here, so I'm running a little behind tonight - I'll say ciao for now but know:
If you'd like personalised support in creating some superb habits that will support you to start feeling well, I'd love to work with you.
Click here, to book in a free Clarity Call to see how Wellness Coaching can support you.
If you're already coaching with me, I'll see you on Zoom soon!
ps - If you're keen to deep dive into the science of sleep, check out this fabulous video by Dr Zac Bush MD