Lying comfortably in bed and pondering “What dreams may come?” Or has a very busy day amped-up your mind? It may surprise you that the #1 area of your wellness to address first is NOT food. It is NOT activity. It is… SWEET RECOVERY.
Let’s enhance your personal quantity and quality of sleep, and design your initial wellness changes around rest. Cue Ferris Bueller music “Oh, yeahhhh…”
- Understand YOUR sleep needs and rhythm: Most people know the average hours of sleep needed for an adult per night is 7 hours, with a general range of 5-9 hours per night. Few people know that there are four types of sleep rhythms, roughly: late to bed and late to wake, early to bed and early to wake, heavy sleepers, and light sleepers. What is your rhythm TODAY? Let’s find out!
- Track YOUR sleep trend: Put a blank pencil and paper next to your bed and take 30 seconds when climbing in and 30 seconds when climbing out of your bed to record: 1. when you go to bed, 2. when you wake, 3. On a scale of 1 (EXCELLENT) and 10 (WORST NIGHT EVER) how well you slept, 4. how energized you feel during the day (same 1-10 scale). Once you SEE your sleep trends on paper you can define a go to bed time and get up and going time that leave you energized each day! Cue music: “Oh, yeahhhh….”
- Sleep Environment: Pick one week to get serious about the quality of your bedroom, sheets, pillows, lighting, temperature, sounds, and any needs that will help deepen your sleep comfort. No two people are alike so if you share a bed, discuss your different preferences to design an environment that works for you both. Quick tip: Start with ONE thing that bothers you most and check it off the list, like a purchasing a new pillow or silencing an unwanted noise.
- Pre-Bed Prep: The two hours before bed remains a wonderful window to start winding down. Let’s just start with the five-minute window from lights out till you URGENTLY need to be out for the night. In the final five minutes, what soothes you most? A calm book, song, or poem works for some. Perhaps write down anything keeping your mind alert, like groceries to buy tomorrow. Pull on a pair of fuzzy socks or run a warm washcloth over cold hands and feet before slipping under the covers. Deep breathing is an excellent body motion; count down (slow exhale for 3-5 counts) and up (slow inhale for 3-5 counts) to clear your head.
- Wake-Up Routine: Some experts say setting your alarm a bit early gives us a window to simply lie awake before jumping up. New alarm clock technology gradually elevates lights or sounds to ease us into an active state. I say, let’s change the word “alarm clock” to Awaken or Enlighten Timer, yes? YES!!! Once awake, look closer at your breakfast and prep routine to refine your entrance into every new day. Any small steps that make you feel most at ease for the day ahead when you rise, do it!
Discovering and including what calms us has a dramatically healthy impact on your mind, your heart rhythm, and the agreement of your body to go along with any wellness changes you dream of. Now imagine in your rested state, what dreams may come?
XO – Megan