How to Create a Sleep Sanctuary
In other posts, you’ve noticed how much we stress the importance of getting enough sleep. If you’re working hard all day, committing to your health and fitness goals, your body needs time to recuperate and implement all the healthy changes you’ve been making in your life. Without enough rest, your body won’t be able to keep up and you’ll start heading towards the inevitable crash. Zombies might be cool in TV and movies, but acting like one during the day doesn’t help anyone—especially you. In today’s day and age of constant electronics, it can be hard to slow down and decompress, but here are some tips to create your very own sleep sanctuary at home:
Lose the electronics. It’s tempting to lay in bed and watch TV, scroll through Facebook, or play a mobile game on your phone, but these activities are likely to keep you up for much later than you planned. Our bodies respond to the natural circadian rhythm of darkness, and artificial light, especially from screens, will only serve to disrupt your body’s desire to fall asleep. If you don’t want to completely remove the electronics from your bedroom, consider closing the TV in an armoire. Or, if you use the alarm on your cell phone to wake you up in the morning, put it in the drawer of your nightstand. It’ll still be plenty loud to get you moving in the morning, but the blinking notification light will be out of sight while you’re trying to rest.
Create a comfortable sleeping surface. Not all mattresses are created equal, and yours might be keeping you up at night. However, a quality mattress can get very pricy very quickly, so if you’re not ready to make that financial investment, there are lots of inexpensive mattress toppers than can make a world of difference. You could also consider upgrading and replacing your old pillows for new ones that won’t leave a crick in your neck.
Create a zen environment. Bright, bold colors can be super fun, but they might be keeping you up at night. Different colors can trigger different emotions, and this is something to consider when decorating your bedroom. Colors like bright red and yellow inspire excitement (do they remind you of a certain fast food chain?) while others like blues and greens can be much more relaxing. At the risk of sounding like a bad fortune cookie, if you want to be peaceful, create peace around you. This extends to the clutter in your bedroom as well. If you’re one of those people who has laundry piled high on a chair, don’t worry—you’re not alone, most of us have had “The Chair.” But trying to relax in the midst of chaos can sometimes only breed more chaos, which isn’t exactly conducive to rest and relaxation. Oh, and no judgement on how long it’s been since you last did this, but wash your sheets. Clean and calm is the goal!
Check your temperature. The National Sleep Foundation recommends keeping your bedroom at around 65℉ for ideal sleep conditions. In fact, some forms of insomnia are associated with a sleeping environment that is too warm, causing the person to toss and turn all night.1 Everyone has their own individual sleep needs, so this isn’t a hard and fast rule, but if you haven’t been sleeping well then it might be worth lowering your thermostat.
Create a bedtime routine. Parents will be very familiar with this idea when it comes to putting their kids to bed. It’s much easier for children to fall asleep if they start to wind down towards the end of the day and they have some kind of bedtime routine, maybe involving a bath and a bedtime story before lights out. Yet, somehow, we lose the importance of that routine as we age and then many of us try to go from full throttle to unconscious and end up staring at the ceiling for hours. You don’t necessarily need to create an extensive bedtime routine for yourself, but do give yourself time to unwind. It could be as simple as enjoying a cup of herbal tea as you read a book before you brush your teeth and get into bed. The point is to give yourself time to unwind and prepare yourself for sleep, so figure out what works for you and let yourself relax.
Let yourself sleep! This seems like such a simple idea, but too often we stay up way too late for a variety of reasons, whether we’re working or binge watching our favorite shows on Netflix. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults aged 18-64, so give yourself ample time to rest.1 Everyone pulls an all-nighter every once in a while, but don’t make it a habit.
Stick to a sleep schedule. It can be so tempting to sleep until noon on the weekends, but it’s actually better for your body to maintain a consistent schedule. Plus, think about how much more you can get done on a Saturday if you haven’t spent half the day in bed. While everyone else will be dreaming of getting fit and living well, you’ll actually be up and exercising and working towards your goals!
Hopefully these tips will help you create the sleep sanctuary your body needs so you can bounce out of bed in the morning, grab a can of Renew or your Vemma Shake, and keep working towards your goal of a new you in the new year!
1 “What Temperature Should Your Bedroom Be?” NationalSleepFoundation.com, sleepfoundation.org/bedroom/touch.php.
2 “How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?” Excessive Sleepiness, The National Sleep Foundation, sleepfoundation.org/excessivesleepiness/content/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need-0.