how to sleep better
Happy New Year, Sleepy Heads. Are you as tired as I am? I mean, really, with all that's going on in our world today, it's no wonder a lot of us are having a tough time falling asleep. Add health conditions, family routines, work responsibility and other life stressors to that equation, and well, getting lost in slumber is something we only dream about when we get in bed. Girl, we need to find ways for how to sleep better!
It's weird, right? Nighttime seems so relaxing. The sun has set, the stars are out and that should trigger something inside us that it's time to wind down. Well doctors say that some of us need re-wiring so our bodies can get back into our sleep cycle, which helps us sleep better. Apparently, our inability to catch zzzz's is considered chronic if we have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at least three nights per week for three months or longer.
And we all have different sleep issues. Some of us have difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. Others wake up during the night and then struggle to get back to sleep. TBH, insomnia in any form sucks. All that tossing and turning is def not good for maintaining our physical and mental health. Also, a bad night's sleep can really mess with our exercise performance-- and that doesn't exactly hang with me well. Girl, we have worked sooo hard getting that bootay in shape, and we're Bringing It with our A-Game, like doing this Full Body Burn. We can't let anything stop us now (here is another way to keep it going with my 30-day challenge)!
Umm, we really need to figure this sh%t out and put an end to these sleepless nights. It's making us cranky and testy – seriously, people are starting to hide when we walk into the room. Good news, babes. You can relax because we uncovered these six tips on how to sleep better which will help Mr. Sandman do his thang and let you catch some zzzz's.
Get rid of the stress
Is your sleep sanctuary as peaceful as it can be? If not, girl, you need to get rid of anything and everything that could stress you out or make you feel all sad and anxious. Think about it, would you revisit any place where you had a crappy experience? Likely not. So think about your bedroom in the same way and change anything negative you might associate with it so you actually look forward to returning to your sleeping chambers, M'lady. Bring it on: the candles, scented oils, silk pillowcases, soft colors, black-out curtains, and relaxing soundtracks –anything you can think of to help lull you to sleep.
Some experts say that means ditching devices and activities involving reading, streaming, or scrolling in bed, and only laying down when you're actually sleepy--or frisky (Wink). Oh and also, for goodness sakes, get rid of the clock from your bedroom. Clock-watching is only telling you how long you've been awake.
Create new habits
Good sleep habits and routines are important to follow if you want to learn how to sleep better. If you want to get good-quality, consistent sleep, experts say to tweak your habits to reset your circadian rhythm. Sorry, our what? Our circadian rhythm is our internal clock. So just like a clock, we need to reset it when it gets out of sync. In the morning, hop out of the sack at the same time. Every. Morning. Don't be tempted to lollygag around in those sheets--even if they are silk (or if you're too cozy to get out of your silk PJs, like these we featured in our last-minute Christmas gift list.). Up and at 'em, soldier. Get your day started.
During the day, make sure to include regular exercise in your regime (duh), and spend time outside. Daylight is key to maintaining that circadian thing so let the sun shine in. Also, do not allow yourself to catnap! Change your surroundings when you feel yourself nod off to help break the pattern. When nighttime comes, be sure to create a hard stop with work (I made mine 6 p.m. Check out my night routine videos on Youtube on how I wind down with my night routine.) Then, set a time to turn in, and leading up to that, avoid caffeine, alcohol and screens. Instead, pour yourself a big mug of calming tea, like chamomile, and soak in a hot bath. Feel that stress float away! Aaaah.
Empower yourself with knowledge about your sleep patterns like the queen you are. Start a sleep diary to learn how many hours of real sleep you're getting. Seven to nine hours a night is ideal. Any less than that on a consistent basis and you're putting yourself at higher risk for health issues, including strokes, mental distress, and heart disease. You can manually track when you go to bed and when you wake up, but be sure to account for about 30 minutes of falling asleep time.
Writing down your snooze time helps us to understand the issues preventing us from falling asleep and we can make changes and adjustments to improve sleep and our overall wellbeing. Use a journal like the one we have in our Planner that includes a healthy habit builder and a blank lined section to track your Zzzs. You can also try using your fitness watch to track your shuteye which measures a combination of your movement and heart-rate patterns to track real slumber.
Get a grip
Sleep is hard to come by especially if you're beating yourself up every day with the fact that you're not getting sleep (hello vicious cycle). Most people who are struggling with insomnia, stress themselves out by obsessing about, well, not sleeping. We can't be working ourselves into a frenzy when we're trying to wind down! We need to cool our jets and stop our minds from reeling out of control. Whatever you do, don't lie in bed in this mind state. Slip out of bed for a spell, do some light stretching, flow through a few reps of cat-cow, and then try again. NBD. Most importantly, give yourself a break. You got this. And there are professionals who spend their lives studying this stuff if you need a little help.
Breathing exercises are super helpful to release tension in our muscle groups, which can make falling asleep a little easier. There are many breathing techniques to try that help you blow out the day's stress and put your mind at ease before you hit the hay -- or if you wake up at 3 a.m. and can't get back to sleep. Mainly, close your eyes, breathe in deeply and exhale. Some experts say while you're breathing, you should lightly cover your ears with your hands or apply pressure above your eyebrows to help you relax even more.
Make Some Noise
Some ways we found on how to sleep better might seem counter-intuitive. Can you believe that for some of us, complete silence prevents us from sleeping? Wait, what? Well, remember that time you were at the beach and the waves lulled you to sleep, or when the pitter-patter the rain made let you tune everything out? Same concept. Consistent noise can actually be soothing. Thankfully, you don't have to throw on your raincoat in the middle of the night and head outside--instead, get an in-home device that mimics those types of nature sounds.
Babes, we hope these tips can help you figure out how to sleep better and shuteye comes a bit easier for you. We think you'll be able to use at least a couple of these strategies for falling asleep and you will be workout-ready come sunrise. Happy journeys in dreamland queens, and we'll see you when you wake up!