You've probably read hundreds of articles dedicated to the subject of sleep. Since we spend a huge chunk of our lives in a horizontal position, it rightfully deserves a lot of conversation. For reasons that have affected my family growing up, I'm addicted to feeling well rested -- so much so, that I've dedicated an entire section on my website to products that I've found help me "sleep like a baby."
Here are the top 5 recommendations that I would make to someone that is looking for a good night of sleep:
1. Exercise. Mental exhaustion is not the same as physical exhaustion. Do something active every single day even if it is just 25 squats and 25 push ups in the morning before going to work. Get a FitBit and make it a goal to hit 10,000 steps. Do yoga. Take a class at your gym. Go running with a buddy outside. Just do something to help wear your body down so that it is ready for sleep.
2. Don't Eat Too Late. Every time I have a late dinner and then try to fall asleep I'm just setting myself up for disaster. Try to eat dinner on the earlier side so that your body isn't working harder than it needs to when it comes time to get rest. In addition, it's good to give your digestive system a break. If you eat before 8pm and don't eat breakfast until 8am, you're giving your belly the much needed rest it deserves.
3. Shut Down ALL Screens. Don't expect to be able to fall asleep immediately after sending a text or getting those last minute emails done or, for that matter, while watching TV in bed (the worst!). Go old school and read a book in bed for at least fifteen minutes prior to sleep, preferably fiction to give your brain a chance to stop thinking about everything that happened that day or all of the things you need to accomplish tomorrow.
4. Pamper Yourself. Take a salt bath or a long shower. Deep condition your hair. Exfoliate. Shave. Oil yourself with coconut or sesame oil afterwards. And use lavender oil just before getting into bed to calm your nervous system.
5. Meditate. If all else fails and you find you are having two or three inconsistent nights of sleep, consider adding a regular meditation practice into your routine. My next post will provide some tips on this as it deserves more discussion than just a paragraph. I've found this to be extremely beneficial in getting some serious shut-eye.