Since giving birth in May I’ve not had a single night of solid 8 hours of sleep. And I know I’m not alone in falling short on the sleep cycle.
Whether you are a busy Mom in need of some sleep hacks, a light sleeper, or suffering from a bout of stress related insomnia, I’ve got some tips for drifting off easily and staying asleep in this 7 Day Glow podcast episode.
How’s your sleep?
Do you sleep in fits and starts or do you get a straight eight hours? Do you drift off easily or toss and turn? Or perhaps you are like me, with a little one that doesn’t sleep through the night yet.
Because of the pandemic and its related stress, more people than ever are fighting a serious bedtime battle. There’s even a name for it - “Coronasomnia”. I don’t think this is surprising news to any of us. Who hasn’t suffered some sleepless nights recently?.... Or maybe even many sleepless nights?
Upturned lives and health restrictions with seemingly no end in sight has us all wondering about uncertain futures. And all of this translates into worry and stress that can take a serious toll on our sleep.
Getting a solid night’s sleep is important to our overall physical and mental health. Studies have linked insufficient sleep to increased risk of obesity by 89% in children and 55% in adults. Other studies have shown that getting less than seven to eight hours of sleep per night increases your risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Research supports that experiencing poor sleep has an immediate effect on our hormones, brain function, and physical performance. We all experience a poor night of sleep from time to time, but when sleeping poorly becomes the norm it can have a significant impact on weight gain and disease increase.
Ten Tips for Better Beauty Sleep:
Number One: Keep your circadian rhythm on track with natural sunlight or bright light during the day. Bright daytime light helps improve your daytime energy and improves your sleep length and quality. Studies have shown that in people with insomnia, increasing their daytime exposure to bright light reduced the time it took for them to fall asleep by 83 percent.
Shoot for daily natural sunlight exposure, such as a walk after lunch. If that’s just not possible invest in an artificial bright light therapy lamp. You want 10,000 lux for at least 20 min a day shortly after waking up. I keep mine on the dining room table and have it on while I eat breakfast.
While bright daytime light helps regulate your circadian rhythm, nighttime light exposure can have the opposite effect. Nighttime light actually tricks your brain into thinking it's still daytime. This impacts your hormones, like melatonin, which help you relax so you can get deep sleep.
Number Two: Blue light - the light that comes from our electronics like computer screens and smartphones - is a real issue for nighttime light. To help reduce blue light exposure stop watching tv, scrolling thru social media on your phone and turn down bright lights two hours before bedtime.
Ooooo...I can hear you crying out “WHAT? I can’t do that!” Okay, okay...here are some other options.
You can wear blue light glasses that work to block blue light or you can download an app to filter blue light emission from your phone and computer screen. Most of these come with settings to control what time of day it turns on and off. I’ve included links to the ones I use here:
Number Three: Be mindful of what you eat when. Avoid eating late at night as it can affect your sleep quality and the release of sleep regulating hormones. Try not to eat anything for 2 hours before your bedtime.
Obviously, caffeine late in the day is a bad idea if you are having trouble drifting off to sleep at night. If you are craving coffee late in the day stick to decaf and opt for caffeine free pop. I cut off my caffeine intake at 2pm.
Number Four: Exercise. Exercise is one of the best science-backed ways to improve your sleep. Be aware that moderate to intense exercise is stimulating and increases hormones like adrenaline and epinephrine that can interfere with your sleep. Shoot for relaxing yoga or a slow walk if working 4 hours before your bedtime.
Number Five: Nap Right. Studies show that while short power naps during the day are fine, long or irregular naps during the day can actually harm sleep quality. Of course if you take regular naps during the day and sleep well, don’t worry about it - the effects of napping vary from person to person. In the early weeks after my baby was born I needed a big 2.5 hour nap in the afternoon just to catch up on sleep.
Number Six: Enhance your Sleep environment. There are ways you can optimize your sleep environment to sleep more easily. Keep your bedroom cool, around 68 degrees for best sleep. Keep your room uncluttered...if possible keep your bedroom a bedroom...don’t bring your laptop in the bed with you, don’t have a TV in the bedroom, only have relaxing books on the nightstand. I even prefer to keep my phone charging out in the living room and use a regular alarm clock or my fitbit to wake me in the morning.
As an aromatherapist, I make use of a room diffuser and relaxing essential oils to help me relax and drift off to sleep. My favorites are lavender, chamomile, bergamot, clary sage, and ylang ylang. I start the diffuser about 30 minutes before bedtime to give the air time to scent.
Number Seven: Minimize external noise. If possible, try to have consistent bedtimes in the household, that way other family members won’t be waking you up. Or try a white noise machine to help muffle other sounds.
Number Eight: Keep your room as dark as possible. Install black out curtains to block light and cover any artificial light from devices like LED alarm clock displays or lights from devices like a room humidifier.
Number Nine: Invest in a quality mattress and pillows. A good mattress can reduce pain and body stiffness and significantly improve sleep quality. Under normal circumstances, you should replace your mattress every 6 to 8 years.
Number Ten: Routine. Having a solid waking and sleeping routine will help you wind down at night and get started in the morning. Going to bed and waking at the same time every day is the simplest way to keep your circadian rhythm in check. This internal clock works with your body, hormones, and brain to help you stay awake and it tells your body when it’s time to wind down to sleep.
Developing a pre-sleep relaxation routine can have a really positive effect on your sleep. Try listening to instrumental music, reading a book, taking a hot bath, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.
Your night-time skincare self care routine can also help tell your mind it's time to wind down and get ready for sleep. Perform your skincare routine about a half hour before bedtime to give time for your oils and moisturizers to fully sink in before hitting the pillow.
Consistency is Key
The key is to stay consistent and perform the routine every night. If you love a hot bath in the evening shoot for 90 minutes before bedtime for full effect.
“Getting your beauty sleep” is essential to good overall health and wellbeing. Solid sleep allows your body to repair itself for your mind to be fit for another day.
I am the natural skincare formulator, biologist, certified clinical aromatherapist, and obsessed self-care advocate who founded 7 Day Glow's holistic, simple skincare approach. I'm on a mission to empower women with the tools they need to find and maintain their Glow simply and with confidence.
Notice: These statements and blog content have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information in our articles and podcasts are not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and are not intended as medical advice. The content of these blogs, podcasts and associated products is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using products or following blog/podcast advice.