There are few, very few things in life that I will sacrifice sleep for because it is so important in helping our bodies heal, recover from sickness and more importantly prevent sickness in the first place. Our mental health is dependent on sleep as well. Sleep allows us to manage stress (sometimes eliminate it), process our emotions and deal with them more effectively in the morning. Some of the best advice I have ever gotten was to wait 24-48 hours to react to a situation that may have caused emotional pain or stress. This also goes for important decisions. Allow yourself to sit with your emotions- even if that emotion is pain. Allow yourself to understand, think and even appreciate the pain or crisis that may be occurring in your life. Believe that God (if you don’t believe in God insert “the universe”) is not here to harm you or out to get you but is giving you this opportunity to allow this crisis or difficult person to help you grow as a person. You are in charge of your happiness. Never let a situation or person steal your joy. Because here’s the thing you can let a person break you, you can let a situation make you feel bitter and depressed or you can allow yourself to burn in the fire and rise up from the ashes just as a phoenix would. “Weeping may last for a night but joy comes in the morning,” it’s true, let sleep heal your mind and body.
But what if you’re having trouble sleeping?
What if your problem is how you look and feel when you wake up?
After 25 years I’ve discovered a few tricks to help me get the most out of this precious time that God mandated for our bodies and minds to rest, recuperate and rebuild. Here are a few tips and tricks I have up my pajama sleeve to make mornings look and feel better for myself.
1. Every magazine and book that is concerned about well being will tell you this! Drink water! I am physically and mentally drained when I am dehydrated. I also look and feel terrible when I wake up dehydrated. Keeping a bottle of water next to the bed is a non-negotiable for me. I can’t even get to sleep if I’m thirsty and often wake up in the middle of the night if I didn’t get enough water during the day. When I’m having a really hard time getting out of bed drinking a bottle of water and pressing snooze for 10 or 15 minutes while I let my body drink it up does wonders.
2. When I’m having a hard time getting water down, coconut water is my natural wonder. Because let’s face it sometimes you want something a little sweeter than water. It is my favorite after work out drink and helps me rehydrate like a champion after getting my zzz’s for the night!
3. Cut down on the sugar. If I have sugar the night before or any food that causes inflammation for that matter like dairy or gluten, I will have bags under my eyes the next morning. I will also feel more groggy and unable to think as clearly. If I have something important planned that requires all of my mental and physical strength I rely on veggies and proteins to fuel me. Although I will admit- Carbs are my favorite food!!! Pasta, rice, bread, freshly baked cookies Oh YES! (but sadly oh no in the long run). This applies to mornings especially. I find so much joy in making my daughter nutella and strawberry crepes for breakfast or a pancake feast with an assortment of chocolate pancakes, lemon blueberry pancakes and banana pancakes along with home made whipped cream, and although these breakfasts are filled with love… within an hour you will most definitely want to take a nap. If you’re running a 5k that day please opt for an egg white spinach omelet instead with maybe a small cup of coffee or even better green tea.
4. A prayer. My mind has to unwind somehow and praying is my release. I will also hand write letters to God if I am truly distraught about something going on in my life and need help processing it. You don’t want your worries from the day or for the next day to circle and race through your mind at night. You need all the mental strength you can get to respond and take on the next day. Put your fears aside and rest in knowing that God has you in the palm of his hand.
5. Eating a vegetable or pressed juice the night before is a wonderful beauty elixir. I seriously believe the vitamins, minerals and enzymes get to optimally help your body as it rests…
6. Drinking coffee after 1pm wrecks my sleep. I love it! Sometimes I seriously crave the taste of a freshly brewed cup of coffee with its earthy aroma, but if it’s after 1pm I know I will pay for it with tossing and turning that night.
7. A nice warm shower or bath. I love getting into bed feeling clean. I know some people love to wake up to a shower but I just hate getting into bed dirty! I don’t want the toxins and germs of the day not to mention allergens to be laying in bed with me! I’d much rather have a bed time routine of taking some time out for myself to clean my body and hair and climb into fresh clean sheets!
8. Yoga or any form of exercise early on in the day helps with my sleep. Hot yoga is very popular these days and hence really easy to find friends to go with. A few of my favorite workouts are also running (with extremely loud music playing on my head phones- see next post for my play list) pure barre, pilates and a favorite since I was a pre-teen, Kick Boxing!!! You absolutely can not beat natural exercise/ natural play… you know the kind where you’re chasing children around and tickling them to the floor, swimming in the ocean, paddle boarding, dancing to your favorite song, gardening, cleaning your house, exploring a new part of the city or country- Just remember not all exercise happens in the gym!
9. Rubbing lavender lotion on my temples and neck. The scent is so soothing. I am in love with it.
These are my sleep tips and I hope they help you!