Did you open this newsletter because you always do or because of the ‘look younger’ in the subject line?
We are an odd species, aren’t we? From what I’ve read, the promise of improving our looks (assuming 'looking younger' is an improvment) is more attention grabbing than improving our mental state or relationships.
If you read last week’s issue, you know the answer to all three is sleep.
This week’s focus is on the details of encouraging a good sleep, focusing specifically on the 30-60 minutes prior to shutting your eyes for the night.
The list is long. Only choose a few that are easy to implement and come with the biggest payoff. In a short time, those will be habit, taking very little time and effort, and giving you a more youthful look, smarts and the energy to be a better friend.
This is a perfect weekend to create new sleep rituals. On Sunday morning, those living in daylight savings time get a bonus hour of sleep. Also remember to check and/or change the batteries on your smoke detector.
Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.
If you have difficulty sleeping or are not getting enough sleep or sleep of good quality, you need to learn the basics of sleep hygiene, make appropriate changes, and possibly consult a sleep expert.
1. Set an imaginary alarm. This one was huge for me: I set a mental alarm clock for when it is time to start my bedtime routine. Below is my ideal. If I do it five days out of a week, that would be an exceptional/never been done before week. As is life – it’s a work in progress.
At 9 pm (I’m an early to bed, early to rise kind of gal), I check my calendar and shut off my computer, then head for the kitchen to tidy it up (I love waking up to a clean kitchen). On my way from the kitchen to the bedroom, I do a quick tidy of the house (there is only two of us so this, in theory, shouldn’t take long).
None of this is directly related to sleep but it starts the ‘closing of the day’ routine.
2. Turn off electronics 30-60 minutes before bed.
3. Have a cup of chamomile or lavender tea. Many people are dehydrated and will have a poorer sleep because of the long stretch with no fluids. Adjust the amount so you don’t need to get up in the night to use the bathroom.
4.Do light stretching, deep breathing or mediation to quiet the mind and relax the body.
5. Use heat and/or weight to relax. Our Ultra Shoulder Wrap would be great while reading and Ultra Warming/CoolingBlanket for sleep. Some people do better when socks are worn to bed.
6. Take a hot bath with Epsom salts (most of us are magnesium deficient the main ingredient of epsom salts. Magnesium helps with relaxation and sleep). It needn’t take much time – about 12 minutes was one recommendation (wonder why it isn’t 10 or 15 minutes?), with 2 cups of the salt added to a standard tub.
7. Put on pajamas that you like. If your night clothes used to be your gym clothes, splurge for something that feels good to wear.
8. Do not keep your phone by your bed and preferably remove from the bedroom (I haven’t even attempted this one. Have you?).
9. Have bed cleaned off, even of pets.
10.Read a book. The old-fashioned paper kind. It should be a good book but not so good that you can’t put it down. Nor should it be a work-related book that will engage your work-brain.
11. Have a journal or a notebook for tracking such things as a few gratitudes, worries, or things you don’t want to forget to do the next day.
12. Have the bedroom as dark as possible. Or wear an eye mask.
13. Have it cool (15-19 degrees C / 60-67 degrees F).
14. Use earplugs.
15. Use auditory relaxation - white noise, music, nature sounds, autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR).
16. Listen to a talking book. Set the timer so the book will shut off. The purpose here isn’t to listen to the book as it is to allow the voice send you to dreamland.
17. Have a quality mattress and pillow.
18. Check your sleeping position. Back and side is best. Tummy sleeping stresses the neck and jaw.
P.S. If you would like the websites I used as background for this series, please email me.