Sleep is as essential to health and beauty as our diet.
We set aside time to make dinner, exercise, get our work done, connect with friends, and in fact, we often write these activities right into our calendar. Unfortunately, we’re been trained to think of sleep as optional.
If we have too much to get done in a day, we think nothing of stealing the extra time to complete our to-do list from our snooze time.
“Oh well, I’ll just be a little tired tomorrow. Again.”
The problem with that?
Sleep is anti-aging.
Sleep governs our metabolism, it releases specific regenerative hormones that can only be released while we slumber, it increases energy and productivity, and it heals and activates many of our body’s beautifying functions. When we sleep our body is able to repair, rejuvenate, and balance itself on a cellular level.
Without proper sleep, our cells build up toxic waste, our immune system becomes sluggish, and cellular damage begins to occur. When we get enough good quality sleep, the reparative processes that take place in our body set the stage for radiant beauty, youthful longevity, and a balanced emotional state.
When we begin to think of sleep as an essential nutrient for our life – vitamin SLEEP – which our body cannot function without, we can begin to prioritize and protect it.
Unfortunately, more than a third of American adults do not get nearly enough sleep and what they do get, isn’t great quality.
Many people have trouble falling asleep, and spend hours tossing and turning, or staring at a screen to try to “turn off” their minds.
The manner in which we go to sleep is paradoxical to sleep itself. We have numerous electronic devices surrounding us and are stimulated right up until the point we close our eyes.
Many of us struggle with the ability to stay asleep. We wake up to go to the bathroom and then the worries of tomorrow keep us from falling back to sleep.
Others go to bed late and have to use artificial means to wake up, like blaring alarm clocks that interrupt important cycles of sleep that perform vital repair functions in the body.
Question: What is the one thing you can do to ensure a quality night’s sleep?
Answer: Create a Sleep Sanctuary!
This may surprise you, but our sleep environment is critically important. We need to create an environment conducive to the best sleep ever or we’ll never be able to achieve it.
Our bedroom should be free of clutter, free of stressful discussions, free of harsh lighting and loud noises, and free of electronic pollution.
To further ensure optimal rejuvenation, get some fresh air while you are sleeping.
Many people suffer from all kinds of health disorders because they’re inhaling mold spores and dust while inside their homes. If you can keep a few windows open, even just a little bit – even in the middle of winter – the fresh air circulating around your house can be very beneficial.
I live in Canada and in the winter it can be below zero, but I still always leave my window open at least a crack!
Ritualize Your Bedtime Routine
Whatever you can do to create a calm, dark, peaceful environment without distractions will help you get the 7 ish hours of quality sleep your body needs to repair and rejuvenate.
Here are my top suggestions for getting your deep sleep on:
- Turn off blue lights and electronics and energy-saving lightbulbs ideally 2-3 hours prior to sleep time because the blue light interferes with the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin. Instead, use red lights at night before bed.
- Give yourself time to transition: Our brains like some transition time between the constant thoughts of the day and the slower rhythms of sleep.
- Create a relaxing nighttime routine whether it’s reading, drinking a cup of tea, meditating, listening to quiet music, doing some stretching, or just taking some time doing absolutely nothing to wind down before bed.
- Keep electronics out of your bedroom. TVs and computers belong in the living room or office!
- Invest in some light blocking curtains or a sound machine if you are in a bright, loud neighborhood to keep things dark.
- Add some plants like lavender or aloe to your space that are sleep enhancing.
- Rub some lavender essential oil on your pillowcase before you lay down.
- Turn off the wifi and put your cell phone on airplane mode to mitigate disruptive radiation waves.
- Ditch your alarm clock: As we sleep our body moves through 90-minute sleep cycles. When we force our body to unnaturally awaken during the heavier phase of sleep in the cycle, we end up feeling foggy and groggy. In addition, an alarm clock jolts us awake, stimulating the flight or fight response and messing with our circadian rhythm, the internal sleep-wake cycle that is ideal for fueling our bodies appropriately.
One of the clearest reasons to sleep is so you can thrive, not just exist.
Around seven hours is the perfect number of beauty sleep hours required. Start setting up your sleep sanctuary now to get your body the rest it needs…and deserves.