Sleeping well is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health. Adequate sleep helps your body recover from your workout(s), helps you concentrate better the next day, lowers risk of depression, heart disease, and obesity. Basically, we can be sleeping our way to the top of our professions and sport.
Over the past few years, I had suffered from bouts of insomnia and here are the tricks and tips that I use to get back on a healthy sleep schedule. I break them down into addressing the mental and physical aspects of helping my body get to (and stay!) asleep:
Cute loft in a tiny house Air BnB I recently rented out.
*PLAN to sleep better – tell yourself during the day that you will sleep better. It is surprising how coaching yourself to sleep better can improve this process
*CHARGE phone and smart watch in other room (buy a separate alarm clock.) I put mine in the adjoining bathroom.
*KEEP a journal near bed – write stuff down that keeps you up at night. I have also found that writing out a plan for the next day can help my mind from spinning.
*REMOVE distractions from bedroom. I am guilty of forever keeping piles of laundry in my bedroom.
*EAT earlier – digestion takes energy and can keep you up. One of me best nights' sleep was prior to the Gate River Run 15k US Championships this past March. The women's elite start time was 7:53AM, so we had an early morning. My boyfriend and I ate a great dinner around 4PM. I fell asleep by 8:30PM.
*STICK to decaffeinated drinks 6 hours before bedtime. I love afternoon coffee, so this is a particularly tough challenge for me.
*COOL off your bedroom. Removing computers and other electronics can significantly lower the temperature.
*WEAR separate sleep clothes. Kids call them pajamas. If you wear your workout clothes to bed, your mind and body gets confused and thinks it is time to get moving.
*SPRAY some lavender sheet spray or use some other relaxing essential oils. Smells are so important!
*RENT a local AirBnB or a cute B&B or a fun hotel for a night – getting out of your negative bedtime routine and starting a new one can jumpstart a better routine. See photos above and below (and more on website) for this cute tiny house AirBnB I recently booked for a one night getaway.
*PLACE an eye mask over your eyes. The slight weight on the eyes can be relaxing and will block out ambient light. I have a couple of masks and stick one in my carry on for plane rides, too.
*USE a white noise machine or a fan. I often turn on the adjoining bathroom fan and it lulls me to sleep.
If you are interested in learning more about the science and importance of sleep, check out the amazing book The Sleep Revolution: Transforming your Life one Night at a Time by Ariana Huffington. Here is a link to her website with other sleep related resources:
Flamingo eye mask (so on brand!) that I use daily. The fan helps with white noise. Slippers are Powerstep Luxe Orthotic Slippers. ($62.95) I have one pair in size 7 left in stock, but message me if you'd like to order a pair! Also comes in a men's style.
Anyone else struggle with insomnia? Either trouble falling or staying asleep? What are some strategies you use to get a better night's sleep?
Until next time, stay well and rest well, FitFooters!