We’ve talked about this before, I know. But wouldn’t you know, I’m not good at taking my own advice. A couple weeks ago, I watched a documentary (called Food Matters, check it out!) and in a, they also cover stress and sleep.
One of the most poignant things I learned from this documentary didn’t actually have to do with food. I’ve talked before about my issues with sleep – mostly how I don’t really let myself get much of it. Now, for those of you out there who might not have known, sleep and stress levels are closely linked. Sure, we all know that, but I didn’t really make the connection until recently. I had a bit of a breakdown a couple weeks ago because I was under a lot of stress, and sleeping 5, maybe 6 hours a night. Did you know that just a couple nights of poor sleep can raise your cortisone (aka the stress hormone) levels.
Remember how I mentioned that I’m stressed? And remember how I said I don’t get enough sleep? Isn’t it funny that those two things are linked to each other? ….
I get it. I really do. We’re busy. Jobs, family, friends, cooking, watching TV, reading, what have you. I work a full time job, I have two side businesses that require a lot of effort, long distance runner, and a bajillion other hobbies. Not to mention I would like to continue to have friends. So really, I get it. But there really is something to be said for getting more sleep, obviously.
So let’s revisit this.
7-9 hours of sleep, per night. What can you do to get a little more sleep each night?
One way I get more sleep is having everything prepped and ready to grab in the morning. My breakfasts and lunches are all made for the week and waiting in the fridge so I can grab them and go. Plan out the foods you want during the week; it takes an hour on Sunday to make everything, and it saves a TON of time in the morning. (plus, it saves money in the long run, instead of buying lunch at work, AND I eat better food. Totally worth the extra efforts on the weekend.)
Pretty sure I’ve said this before too – I don’t wash my hair every day. Dry shampoo saves the day and lets me get a little more sleep! Give it a shot – it really is magic.
Now this tip might not be high on anyone’s list, but maybe you could eliminate one TV show you watch every night – 30 minutes can make a difference. DVR it if you have to, and watch it on Saturday or Sunday while you’re prepping your lunches for the week.
For those who have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep – I know melatonin is always mentioned because it’s a natural remedy, but beware, because it is a hormone, and you should be careful when adding extra hormones into your system. In lieu of melatonin, I suggest using the essential oil vetiver. Vetiver is classified as a sedative, and can help promote a restful night’s sleep. In addition to vetiver, everyone knows lavender is calming! Vetiver is definitely a strong smell and not everyone’s favorite, so mixing it with lavender may help. Try putting the two together in a roller ball bottle – 3-5 drops vetiver, 6-10 drops lavender – diluting it with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil, and rub it on the bottoms of your feet before going to sleep. I use vetiver when I have a hard time sleeping, and it makes a world of difference.
Finally, and probably the easiest thing to do, make the change in 5 minute increments. Set a bedtime, and stick to it. And then move it 5 minutes earlier. And in a day or two, set it 5 minutes earlier again. Until you have added an hour (or more). Five minutes won’t feel like a whole lot at first, which is great! Slowly adding those extra five minutes will make a big difference in the long run.
So how many of you out there have the same problem as me? What do you do to get more sleep?