The holidays can be a stressful time of year, even though they shouldn’t be. We tend to get so caught up in the hustle and bustle that we let the “reason for the season” fall to the wayside. I have had my fair share of struggles with sleep in the past! Thankfully I’ve found a way to prioritize sleep and live a lifestyle that supports quality sleep. To help you handle the holiday stress and keep your immune system strong, I’m sharing my top 10 tips for quality sleep. The more rested you are, the better you can handle whatever comes your way this season!
Eat healthy foods and limit your sugar intake (especially at night). A healthy, balanced diet will keep you energized and will help keep your blood sugar levels stable, helping you avoid the “food coma” and “3pm” energy crashes. Limiting your sugar intake will also keep your immune system revved up, since sugar suppresses the immune system.
Take high quality Omega 3s, Collagen, and Magnesium daily. Omega 3s provide a variety of health benefits – reducing anxiety and depression, helping your skin and eyes, helping brain development, and reducing risk of cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease, to name a few. Collagen helps heal a leaky gut, strengthens your hair, nails, bones, and joints, boosts your metabolism, and helps detox your liver and body. Magnesium helps you fall and stay asleep, relives muscle spasms, helps with digestion, and helps prevent osteoporosis. Since most of us don’t get enough of these in our diets on a daily basis, it is helpful to take supplements to reap the full benefits.
No caffeine after noon. I mean it! No caffeinated coffee or tea, no soda, no energy drinks, no pre-workout after 12pm…even if you don’t plan on going to bed until 10pm. I’ve found that cutting out caffeine after noon not only helps me fall asleep faster, but helps me get better sleep with fewer night wakings. If you don’t believe me, try it and see if it makes a difference!
Get outside for at least 15 minutes daily. Regular exercise and exposure to sunlight have huge mood boosting benefits. If you don’t have time for a full workout, go for a short walk while at work or do a lap around the block after dinner. Walking to/from your car at the office doesn’t count! The fresh air will help calm your nerves and clear your mind, which will help you fall asleep faster.
Take a hot shower or bath before bed. Having a nightly routine sends signals to the body that it is time to fall asleep. Taking a hot shower or bath is particularly helpful because it relaxes your muscles and your mind before getting into bed. I’m personally not a big bath person, but I find that the routine of a hot shower before bed does calm me down and helps me relax.
Diffuse some essential oils. Essential oils can be very relaxing and help send signals to your brain that it is time to sleep. My favorites for sleep are Young Living’s Thieves, Lavender, Peppermint, and Stress Relief blends. I also like putting some Magnesium Spray on the soles of my feet or using doTERRA Deep Blue Rub for a little extra Magnesium to help me sleep.
Play a white noise machine. We put white noise machines in our kids’ rooms to help them sleep, why not put them in our own?! This can help drown out any noises that may distract you from falling asleep (I’m talkin’ to you, city dwellers). If you don’t want to buy a white noise machine, there are playlists on Spotify and free apps you can download that work just as well.
Use blackout curtains. Our bodies are designed to think it is time to sleep when it is dark outside. (Hence why I’ve been so tired lately – thanks Wisconsin winters!) Buy some blackout curtains and cover up any power lights from electronics. I call this “cave mode” – it will be much easier to fall asleep!
Practice meditation or guided visualization. If you close your eyes and start thinking about the million things on your to do list, you’re not going to fall asleep easily (take my word for it). Meditate for a few minutes or practice guided meditation to clear your mind and relax. I’ve used and liked the meditations in the app Headspace, as well as the free meditations Gabby Bernstein sends out in her email newsletter. Now that I have a better sleep routine, I don’t even need these anymore – I lay in bed, close my eyes, visualize my calming place, and repeat “go to sleep” and I fall asleep within minutes! (my hubby taught me that one)
Stick to a schedule. Try to start your bedtime routine and fall asleep at the same time each night, and try to wake up around the same time each morning. Your body will fall into a rhythm and know what you’re asking it to do, which will help you fall asleep faster and actually stay asleep until you want to wake up.
Give these tips a try and let me know how they work for you! Make sure you actually give your body time to adjust. Trust the process. My bedtime routine: taking a hot shower, putting on comfy pjs, drinking some hot tea (hot cocoa recently), mindlessly scrolling Instagram while the hubby showers (that’s my time limit), taking my Magnesium supplements, practicing gratitude for the day, and then drifting off to sleep. Nighty night! xo