We all know sleep is important and a night of tossing and turning can negatively affect our whole day. The benefits of a good night’s sleep go beyond the sunny disposition we’re sure to have after waking. Sleep affects our stress levels, weight, creativity, attentiveness, memory, and beauty. I mean, you’ve heard of beauty sleep, right? Here are my best tips on what you can do tonight, for a better sleep.
1) Don’t go to bed too hungry…or too full. Being too hungry can make it hard to fall asleep and being too full can lead to acid re-flux. If you’re super hungry right before bed, try eating a little more at dinner time. Having a good balance of protein, high-fibre carbs, lots of veggies and a little bit of healthy fat can keep you satiated through the night. Are you a night time nosher and you’re not ready to quit? No worries, just plan and account for your snack. Try to enjoy it at least an hour before crawling into bed.
Best foods to eat before bed: Whole grain cereal or granola, bananas, turkey, sweet potato, and valerian root tea. A great pre-slumber snack would be a slice of whole wheat toast, with a smear of almond butter and topped with banana slices,
Foods to avoid: Alcohol (sorry), chocolate, coffee & energy drinks, heavy greasy food & spicy foods.
2) Take a bubble bath…but leave your phone out of reach. So you may be thinking that this sounds supremely boring. Well, that’s sort of the point. In fact, studies show (studies conducted by moi) that focusing on the sudsy bubbles and flipping through a magazine enhance your bathing experience. Limit screen time at least 30 mins before bed and instead of getting lost in the repetitiousness of scrolling your IG feed, you can focus on relaxing, calming your mind, and appreciating the luxuriousness of your favourite bath ingredients. Which reminds me, simply adding a few drops of lavender pure essential oil (6-10 drops) to your water and lighting a candle instantly transform your bathroom into a relaxing spa experience. If I’m really looking to relax and de-stress, I like to diffuse some lavender essential oils and turn up the spa music station.
3) Make your bed inviting and relaxing. There are few things more calming than getting into a clean and tidy bed after a long day. The difference between crawling into a bed that looks the same as when I rolled out of it that morning vs. pulling back the crisp linens, is huge. So I guess technically this would be a “morning habit” rather than an “evening habit” (to make your bed) but even if it’s after work before you get around to making your bed, just do it. Your night time self will thank you. I like to have a variety of blankets of different warmth and textures as well as a several pillows to choose from depending on how chilly it is, and on which pyjamas I’m wearing (light/heavy/pants/short/shirt dress etc).
4) Don’t wake up with your makeup. Alright, so cleansing your skin and removing the day off your face is not only necessary, it helps transition from day/evening into “bedtime.” So spend some time removing your makeup, doing a little exfoliation, massage in that moisturizer (don’t forget eye cream), brush your teeth, apply some lip balm and brush your hair. I cannot go to bed without doing these steps. It’s such an automatic part of my night time routine and only takes a few minutes.
5) Get your sleep essentials on point. It doesn’t matter if I’m already wearing yoga pants or leggings with a comfy sports bra and tee. I always change into clean pyjamas. It’s so refreshing and again, helps with the transition into “sleep time.” If I didn’t have time for a bath, I like to drop a few lavender essential oils into a bit of lotion, massage into my arms and breathe deeply. Also, a sleep mask is a must if you are sensitive to light, ear plugs if your significant other snores, and a notepad to jot down any ideas, thoughts, notes to put them out of your mind when you’re trying to fall asleep. I typically have a glass of water on my night stand, as I often wake up thirsty in the middle of the night.
Bonus steps: You can find relaxing aromatherapy pillow sprays. Although the smell is so nice, I forget to use them. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have a furry friend to cuddle while you drift off into slumber.
I understand, not everyone will have time for all these steps every single night. But I hope even doing a few of these steps will help to make your slumber a little bit sweeter. Sweet dreams!