Want to know the Number 1 greatest wellness tool to use when you are tired?
It may be so logical you take it for granted, but it’s SLEEP!
There is a huge difference though between sleep and QUALITY sleep.
How frequently do you wake up feeling truly refreshed and renewed?
Want to learn how?
Our body has a "circadian rhythm” which is basically a 24 hour internal clock that runs in the background of our brain and prompts us to sleep and wake naturally at regular intervals.
Our body clock prompts us to start winding down in the evening as the sun goes down, go to sleep in the night, then wake as the sun comes up. It also tells us when to eat, and when to fast.
We can disturb this pattern through our daily habits.
Learning what things sabotage our rhythm can help you create consistent, healthful patterns to support your sleep.
SLEEP SABOTEUR #1: SCREEN TIME AT NIGHT
Phones and television at night confuse our body into thinking it is still daylight, so our melatonin (sleep hormone) release is inhibited.
Screens also tend to steal our time as we stay up to watch the end of the show or scroll through the endless content on social media, and before we know it, it’s way past our ideal bedtime! The more hours sleep we have before midnight the deeper the benefits of sleep. Our cortisol levels starts to rise again around 2am as our body clock prepares to wake with the sun.
CREATE CHANGE: Wind down at night and switch off screens 2 hours before bed. Read a book by candlelight, spend time with your partner, write in a gratitude journal, take a hot bath or meditate.
SLEEP SABOTEUR #2: STRESS
When we are in constant “fight or flight mode” it disrupts our hormone balance. Your body won’t release the sleep hormone melatonin if it thinks you need to run from a bear!
CREATE CHANGE: Learning to relax about life, seeing things with a calm perspective and creating more breathing space in your day will help keep cortisol levels balanced which will allow your circadian rhythm to flow.
Calming sleep rituals can help, but not allowing stress to have such a hold on our life addresses the real issue. Prevention is always better than the cure!
SLEEP SABOTEUR #3: WORRY
This week I was lucky to hear the wonderful Elizabeth Gilbert speak. She shared that she has a goal to create a new revolution for women.. and that is to create a new generation of women more relaxed! (I am with you on this one Liz!!)
It was such a wonderfully refreshing message in a world where busy-ness is a badge of honour. She observed that women are natural worriers, we care too much, try to fix everything, often feel it is impossible to relax, or even irresponsible to do so. We believe being worried keeps us safe as we mull and plan, but in reality all it does is make us anxious.
She said the root word for ‘worry’ means “to strangle”. Worry is like a rope around your neck. And the only person who can take the rope off your neck is YOU.
Train your brain to let go of worry.
In the evenings do a brain dump onto paper of your “to-do list” or “to-mull list” for tomorrow, and say this mantra. “It’s time to give my body the rest it needs and deserves. Tomorrow is a new day and everything will feel better with a rested mind. Then:
LET . IT . GO!
Anxiety about sleep is ironic because it feeds the cycle of insomnia.
Remind yourself it is normal to wake during the night between sleep stages, we’re often just not aware of it. Switch from worry about being awake to the gratitude you have to be safe and warm in your bed. Snuggle in and enjoy the comfort of how soft your bedding feels and place a pillow between your knees if you lie on your side. Relax and enjoy the comfort.
Remember your perceptions of sleep are unreliable. When you think you’ve slept badly, chances are you’ve still had a few decent hours. So don’t turn sleep into another job, something you are “succeeding” or “failing” at.
Dr Graham Law, Sleep expert.
In the “Rest” section of my book:
“iKOU - Energise your life”
I have devoted an entire section to breaking the cycle of anxiety about waking in the night on page 184.
SLEEP SABOTEUR #4: INCONSISTENT SLEEP TIMES:
A rhythm is only a rhythm when it is a consistent pattern.
Your body relies on the predictability of the times you go to bed and the times you wake up.
Most of us need on average 8 hours sleep per night.
Do the maths and calculate the time you need to get up and work backwards to calculate the time you need to be asleep. (Note, asleep, not just in bed).
Going to bed later than this time makes it super hard to get up in the morning, and robs us of the hours we need to feel refreshed and renewed by enjoying the full length of the sleep cycle.
SLEEP SABOTEUR #5: EATING LATE
Eating late in the evening sends a conflicting message to our body clock that it is still day time, inhibiting melatonin hormone release which causes us to feel sleepy.
Research has shown that the times we eat greatly affects sleep quality and quantity, and interestingly women are more affected than men by late night eating habits. Higher fat intake during the evening has been linked to lower sleep efficiency, taking longer to fall asleep and reach REM depth of sleep, as well as a higher likelihood of waking in the night.
CREATE CHANGE: Try eating earlier and creating a bigger gap of hours of fasting from evening till morning and diarise how you feel!
SLEEP RITUALS THAT HELP:
Create a calming sanctuary in your room before sleep.
- Make the room dark and diffuse iKOU “Rest” essential oil through the room.
- Mist your linen with “De-Stress Linen Mist”.
- Sip on iKOU “Rest & Relax” herbal tea, and even leave a cold cup by the bed to sip on if you wake in the night.
- Research has found a hot bath 90 minutes before you sleep helps the body release melatonin, as it raises the body temperature and then when you get out it drops rapidly. Add iKOU De-Stress Bath Soak for magnesium muscle relaxing and calming essential oils benefits.
- Keep an iKOU Sleepyhead rollette next to the bed and if you wake in the night apply as a ritual firstly to your temples, then under your nose, then in a spiral over your chest to switch off a busy mind and soothe you back to sleep.
Its World Sleep Day this Friday 13th March.
World Sleep Day is designed to raise awareness of sleep as a human privilege that is often compromised by the habits of modern living.
Get behind the day by analysing if you can get more from your sleep each night, and use it as a wellness tool to energise your life.
Sweet dreams, I hope you feel full of life and inspiration after a good nights sleep tonight!
Naomi Whitfeld is the Founder of iKOU and author of the book "Energise your life".
Her passion for inspiring others to live a life of wellness & joy shines through in everything she does.
As an intuitive Aromatherapist, Naomi incorporates mind & body benefits into all she creates, believing we respond best when we treat as a 'whole".
Winner of the Telstra Business Women's Award for "Entrepreneur of the Year", Naomi has a particular interest in supporting busy women to enjoy rituals of self-care on a daily basis.