If you frequently toss and turn or stare hopelessly at the clock ticking away another good night’s sleep, you know quality sleep is the holy grail of a healthy, happy life.
Sleep helps us better manage stress, enhances our mood, boosts our immune system, supports healthy blood pressure and cardiovascular health, and gives us the vitality and energy to pursue exercise and dietary habits that support a healthy lifestyle.
So what do you do if you aren’t getting the zzz’s you need?
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Establishing a positive sleep routine works the same way as creating any new healthy habit. Start slowly and consistently practice one new habit at a time.
In his book The Power of Less , Leo Babauta focuses on the secret behind successfully creating habits that stick. He found if he practiced and completed ONE new task a day for a period of time, he was able to achieve that task with 85% accuracy. If he tried two new tasks a day, his consistency drastically dropped to 35%. He wasn’t consistent at all if he attempted three new tasks a day for a period of time.
I don’t know about you, but I am an “all in” kind of gal. When I want to try something new, I gather all of the information I can find and make ALL of the changes at once. I go hardcore for about two weeks, and then…fizzle out. Sound familiar?
When we demand too much change of ourselves all at once, it’s impossible to become consistent with any one thing, and we set ourselves up for failure.
Choose Just One!
Most of us can’t go from zero to 100 in the mornings so why do we expect ourselves to go from 100 to zero at bedtime? Good sleep habits revolve around three areas: Bedtime Rituals, Restful Environment, and Lifestyle Shifts.
Building a healthy sleep routine requires intentional thoughts framed with a positive mindset and deliberate action. To help you stay focused and positive, just think of all the ways you support your emotional and physical wellbeing when you make sleep a priority!
For the next two weeks, pick one of these areas and one action within that area to focus on.
Calming Bedtime Rituals
- Take a bath with Epsom salts. Epsom salts contain magnesium, a calming supplement.
- Do some yoga stretches.
- Light a candle and read in bed.
- Have a cup of decaf tea and journal about your day or the day ahead.
- Listen to some soothing music.
- Snuggle your fur baby or your partner. ☺
Create a Restful Environment
- Sleep.org recommends you set your bedroom temperature between 60 – 67 degrees for optimal sleep.
- Make sure your room is dark by using blackout shades or a sleep mask.
- Free your space from excess clutter like piles of paper, books, magazines, and clothes—disorganization can cause deep-rooted stress and anxiety.
Make Lifestyle Shifts
- Cut your screen time down, including the TV. The blue light emitted from our electronics reduces the production of melatonin, a sleep hormone. Light from our screens resets our circadian rhythm, which is our wake and sleep cycles. It can also affect hormone cycles, body temperature cycles, and our moods.
- Avoid late-night alcohol and caffeine.
- Try some breathing techniques or a guided meditation for sleep.
- Journal before bed to dump all of your To-Do’s in one place or “delete” or process the tough moments of your day.
- Pick one area to work on: Bedtime Rituals, Restful Environment, or Lifestyle Shifts.
- Pick one 5-minute action in that area to practice.
- Set a reminder on your calendar to do it.
- Practice that one small habit for two weeks. When you’ve achieved consistency with it, move on to the next small action.
Comment below! Which area do you plan to work on? What’s one small action within that area you plan to practice over the new two weeks?