A good night’s rest is vital to your well-being

Do you lay in bed at night and replay the day’s events over and over in your mind? Do you think about all the things you need to do tomorrow and worry about all the things that could go wrong?

Friend, please hear me: This is NOT serving you, and you really need to get some real rest!

All that worrying, overthinking and not sleeping is a vicious cycle that needs to be broken. Your body and mind need sleep in order to function properly. Real, solid rest is vital to your well-being. 

The health benefits of sleep

The scientifically-proven benefits of a good night’s rest are numerous, but here are a just few reasons to make it a top priority:

  • Boosted immunity
  • Healthier blood pressure levels
  • Improved heart health
  • Better memory and cognitive function
  • Elevated energy and mood
  • Increased productivity and creativity
  • Improved weight management
  • Look and feel better

Basically, getting enough rest allows you to be a better version of yourself. You’ll move through your day effortlessly when you sleep at night (I mean really sleep). 

Create a restful ritual

The physical and mental aspects of our lives are highly connected. That’s why rituals works so well. A nightly bedtime ritual triggers our minds to anticipate rest and rejuvenation. Rituals are more intentional than routines. Routines allow us to effortless and mindlessly move through the day. They are very helpful, but we don’t think about them…It’s simply how we do things. Rituals, on the other hand, have psychological  intentions behind to them. 

You can influence your internal sleep-timer, known as your circadian clock, by intentionally creating a bedtime ritual that encourages healthy, peaceful, rest. The circadian clock is on a 24-hour cycle and recognizes when it’s time to sleep with clues from the environment and daily rituals.  

Examples of rituals that encourage rest

  • Putting your phone and all devices to “bed” 30-60 minutes before you intend to fall asleep allows your mind to disconnect from the outside world.
  • Turning all bright lights off at least 30 minutes before bedtime sends the signal to your brain that it’s time to rest.
  • Listening to calm, restful binaural music as you crawl into bed can remind you that the only thing that matters right now is the here and now.
  • Writing down 3 good things that happened today can shift you into a grateful and positive mindset.
  • Soaking in a warm bathtub can be symbolic of washing away all of the day’s worries. 
  • Brain dumping (journalling) allows you to get your thoughts onto paper and out of your mind. 
  • Reading a fun, easy book helps create a positive, restful mind shift to prepare you for sleep.

Whatever you decided to do, do it at around same time every single night. Your circadian clock will begin to adjust to your new rituals, and your mind and body will crave the consistency. 

Create an environment for rest

You can have the best intentions to fall asleep, but if your environment isn’t calm and comfy you won’t rest well. Chaos and clutter are not restful.

For parents

If you are a parent with small children, use bedtime rituals with them. I cannot emphasize this enough. Set your children up for success by teaching them early in life that quality sleep is important. Put them to bed at least an hour (or more) before you go to sleep. They need more rest than you do, and this gives you time to focus on your own restful rituals without being distracted.

Your bedroom

Cool, dark and clutter-free bedrooms help you sleep better. 

Keep it cool

Temperature matters when it comes to getting a good night’s rest. Cooler temperatures alert your body that it’s time to sleep. The ideal sleeping temperature for adults is between 60-72 degrees. 

Make it dark

Light sources can make it hard to fall to sleep. Add light-blocking drapes to your bedroom and turn off all blue light devices to send the signal, to your mind and body, that it’s time to shut down for the next 8 hours.

No distractions

Clear out as much physical clutter, in your bedroom, as possible. Seeing piles of laundry and paperwork that need attention will not put you in the right frame of mind for rest. Get rid of other types of distractions like television, computers, your phone and excessive décor. Most people use their phones as an alarm clock, but I encourage you to get that blue light away from you as you sleep. 

Your Alarm Clock

Not only do you want to sleep well through the night, you also want to wake up in a pleasing way. A harsh, high-pitched, buzzing alarm clock is jarring and agitating – yuck! Find a sound that wakes you gradually, with music that increases slowly in volume or adds increments of light to help you to adjust to the waking hours. 

Today’s assignment

  1. Start working on implementing a nightly restful ritual that will help turn your mind off so you can sleep. 
  2. Clear the clutter from you bedroom and remove all distractions.
  3. Make a good night’s sleep priority

Emily Fletcher teaches that meditation rests your body and deep sleep rests your mind, and I have found this to be 100 percent accurate. When combined with meditation, getting a good night’s sleep in going to make you unstoppable!

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