Sleep is good for the body and mind. A good night’s sleep and waking up rested feels great. Getting too little sleep, not so much.
You’ve heard the basic tips related to sleep: “Turn down the lights. Get off your phone.”
What’s seldom mentioned is how beneficial it can be to develop a sleep routine that will prime your mind and body for rejuvenation. Your environment matters. Your bedtime habits matter. Imagine a perfect oasis for relaxation where you let go of the day’s stress and drift off to deep sleep.
Why Sleep Hygiene Matters
Your bedroom is a sanctuary and should be treated as such. It's not just a place to crash after a long day, but a haven for relaxation and rejuvenation. Sleep hygiene – it sounds like we’re talking about washing sheets & pillowcases (both important, but not our focus here) – is actually about habits and environments that lead to consistent, uninterrupted, healthy sleep.
Why does it matter? Because good sleep hygiene can impact your mood, productivity, and even your decision-making skills. Also because studies show an increase in people reporting difficulty in falling asleep since cell phones became an appendage to our bodies.
Our circadian rhythm dictates when we feel sleepy and when we're alert. By creating a consistent sleep environment to support these natural cycles, we gift ourselves better sleep and easier mornings. Having a routine and environment that promotes R&R, can reset our rhythms, which are often disrupted by stress, anxiety, and technology.
The Essentials of a Sleep-Friendly Bedroom
So, what makes a bedroom a sleep sanctuary? Let's start with the basics:
Remember when we were kids and afraid of the dark? Turns out, darkness is our friend when it comes to deep sleep. Light exposure, especially blue light from screens, can mess with your sleep-wake cycle. Consider room darkening curtains to block outside light or a cozy eye mask.
Whether it's street noise or a snoring spouse, unwanted sounds can disrupt sleep. Earplugs, soothing sounds or a white noise machine could be your knight in shining armor.
Comfort Is Key
Feel good…sleep good. This includes everything from a mattress that’s just the right firm or plush. Quality pillows for your head and body support. And, of course, what you wear to bed. The goal is comfort without compromise!
Now, let's add some extra touches.
Find your personal sleep temperature sweet spot. Usually, a cooler room promotes better sleep. If you find you’re kicking the covers off in the middle of the night, try fewer or lighter blankets.
Lavender, chamomile, or sandalwood – these scents can help relax your mind and prepare you for sleep. Essential oils diffusers or scented candles can be nice additions to your sleep environment.
Take advantage of technology. Various sleep tracker apps can offer clues to your sleep patterns, breathing, deep sleep periods and periods where you were restless. Set your alarm clock to wake you up gently at the best time in your sleep cycle.
Our personal favorite is the Ōura ring, because of the variety of information it tracks about your body throughout each day. You're able to track sleep cycles, including REM and NREM sleep stages, as well as heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and activity with insights to help you improve your health every day. More than 1 million people have tried Oura's stylish, high-tech ring with 86 percent reporting improved sleep and 88 percent reporting improved overall health.
Aromatherapy: Scents To Support Sleep
Imagine walking into a room filled with a calming scent that instantly makes you feel relaxed. That's the power of aromatherapy, our brains are like Remy in Ratatouille – moved by aromas of all kinds. Essential oils are not exempt.
Aromatherapy is a practice that involves inhaling the scents of essential oils, derived from plants, to achieve health benefits. It's been used as a medical treatment since ancient times, and its effectiveness in improving sleep has garnered attention in modern research.
Fact Or Fiction: Do Essential Oils Work?
The effectiveness of essential oils have been questioned for some time. For good reason. Snake oil salesmen were a real thing at one time (and still are, if we're being honest). Fact is, there’s actual science behind aromatherapy with essential oils and natural scents.
The effectiveness of essential oils in promoting better sleep is closely linked to their ability to reduce anxiety and stress. Essential oils can help decrease nervous system activation, which is crucial for people who are mentally, emotionally, or physically agitated. Reducing agitation – sometimes experienced as a noisy brain that just won’t shut the heck up – essential oils increase the likelihood of falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer.
Essential Oils As A Bedtime Routine
To harness the benefits of essential oils for sleep, consider incorporating them into your bedtime routine. This could involve activities like yoga, journaling, or meditation. Whether it's through a diffuser spreading the oil's aroma throughout your room or applying a scented massage oil, these practices can help your body associate specific scents with relaxation and, eventually, sleep.
Create a multi-sensory environment conducive to restful sleep by integrating aromatherapy with your sleep hygiene routine. Whether it's a few drops of lavender on your pillow or a diffuser by your bedside, adding essential oils to your nightly routine could be a simple yet effective step towards getting better sleep.
Check out our personal favorite essential oils brand Source Vital. A company focused on providing high quality essential oils based on a naturopathic approach, they combine the highest quality organic and natural ingredients.
Vitamins & Sleep: A Surprising Connection
Did you know some vitamins can also influence sleep quality?
The sunlight vitamin, Vitamin D, regulates the sleep-wake cycle by its involvement in several brain processes that control sleep and is thought to impact melatonin levels, the hormone responsible for sleep. And no, unfortunately we cannot get enough with just sunlight.
It's not just arming your cells with the means to fight colds, Vitamin C combats oxidative stress, an imbalance in the body that can disrupt sleep. By controlling these stress levels, Vitamin C may promote healthier, more restful sleep.
This vital mineral is an unsung hero when it comes to sleep. Magnesium helps to quiet the mind and body, making it easier to fall asleep. It's known to support deeper, more restful sleep by maintaining healthy levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep. Magnesium also supports healthy circadian rhythms.
Remember, it's always best to get vitamins from your diet, but supplements can help fill in the gaps. Just be sure to chat with your doctor before starting any new supplement.
Sweet Dreams Are Made Of These
Creating the ideal sleep environment isn't rocket science. But it does require a bit of thought and effort. From the right perfect bedroom setup, to managing light, sound, and aroma, to vitamin supplements that support healthy sleep, it's important to try new routines and discover what works best for you.
So, turn off that phone, fluff up those pillows, dim the lights, and get ready for some seriously good sleep. A good night's rest is a reachable dream!