Seven Steps to a Good Night's Sleep
From Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners to modern doctors, professionals across the board agree a good night’s sleep can be a key to health, wellbeing and feeling your best. Many people, including those of us at NuTraditions, are attempting to get at solid night’s rest each night, for better mood, energy levels and skin – hence the term “beauty sleep.”
Your trouble may be falling asleep, you lay awake for hours tossing and turning. Or you might drift off quickly, only to wake up in the wee hours. To get the most out of a sleep supplement, take a holistic approach to rest by focusing on diet, exercise and mental health. When paired with a good mindset and routine, supplements can do wonders in helping you get to sleep, staying asleep, and waking up well-rested.
To help guide you, we put together seven steps to a good night’s sleep, including wellness activities and our new Hello Dreams™ sleep strips.
Step One: Set a Sleep Schedule
With all the time we spend staring at screens, stressed about work or everything going on in the world, running errands and trying to keep up with life, it can be a challenge to fall asleep at night. Sometimes, sleep can feel like an afterthought, time to recharge for another busy day of work and life. It is time to stop thinking of sleep as a luxury and incorporate it as an important part of your daily wellness routine.
Seven to nine hours of sleep per night is recommended for adults. While that is not always realistic, you should aim to spend an average of eight hours a night in bed, asleep. Some of the most successful people, from tech giants like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, to superstar entertainers such as Jennifer Lopez, all are known for making a night’s rest a top priority. Plan your days around sleep instead of trying to fit sleep into your busy schedule. If you like to exercise before work, go to bed earlier. If you are a night owl, see if you can sleep in later. People who stick to the same sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up consistently at the same time, are healthier overall. The most natural method is to stick to the sun’s routine, rising with it and winding down your day as it sets.
Step Two: Spend a Few Hours Away from Your Phone
Sleep deprivation is a public health issue, and being constantly tethered to technology is making it worse. Our competitive culture, along with everything else going on in the world, is causing huge amounts of stress. Did you know the blue light radiating from your smartphone screen can cause a psychological response of alertness? In fact, spending so much time on the phone, and especially sleeping with it by your bed can impact your quality of sleep.
Step Three: Read a Book Instead of Watching TV
Just like spending time on your phone and staring at the screen can impact your sleep, so can watching the television. The blue light from screens causes a delay of the REM sleep cycle, leading to a drowsy morning. REM, or Rapid Eye Movement, is the phase of sleep you reach usually 90 minutes after you drift away that leads to intense dreams and brain stimulation. If your brain is too stimulated by all the sounds and colors on the television or computer, it struggles to stimulate itself later in the night.
If you still crave a good story as a distraction from your day, read a book instead. Studies show reading before bedtime can actually help you relax, destress from daily life and stop worrying about all that goes on in the day. Reading offers the same distraction of a video without the overwhelming audio and visuals and that blue light.
Step Four: Make Sleep a Luxury
You might need some sort of incentive to make sleep feel like fun. When staying up late watching TV, having drinks on the phone with friends, or playing games is more enticing than relaxation, come up with fun ways to make your bedtime routine a luxury you want to indulge in.
Studies show we spend about a third of our lives in bed. So why not treat your bedroom like an oasis? Invest in a good mattress, comfortable bedding and nice pillowcases. To elevate the experience, you could try a silk sleeping mask, aromatherapy diffusers, or fragrant creams to apply before bed. Make sure the room is decorated to be a soothing environment, experts say the best colors include blue and silver, for a neutral, welcoming atmosphere. Additionally, you can optimize the Feng Shui of your space, a traditional Chinese way of decorating and cultivating positive energy and balance.
Step Five: Take Time to Journal
A study found journaling approximately 15 minutes before bed each night helps reduce stress and increases the time and quality of sleep. At the end of the day, climb under the covers and take some time to reflect and set goals for the following morning or week. Do not worry about punctuation and grammar, just dump your thoughts on the page.
Another way to keep sleep exciting is to keep a dream journal. Each morning set aside time to wake up and jot down what went on in your mind as you slept. If you want to focus on mental health, this can be a good way of keeping track of your sleep pattern, recurring thoughts and subconscious worries. Additionally, it is something fun to look back on and a unique gift only you can give yourself.
Step Six: Meditate and Focus on Deep Breathing and Relaxation
Do not underestimate the power of meditation – there is a reason people have practiced it for thousands of years. Like Traditional Chinese Medicine, meditation is an ancient practice that stands the test of time. To start, find a quiet space, sit down and focus on your breath or some area of your body. Take deep breaths in and out, holding your core and letting your mind clear. If thoughts creep in, don’t worry – just notice them and start again.
While we said you should try and stay away from screens before bed, one exception is downloading and using a meditation app. These are great ways of introducing yourself to meditation, including guided breathing exercises and even sleep stories to help you drift away. Meditating is easy, there is no accessories, membership or experience necessary.
Step Seven: Incorporate Supplements
Over-the-counter sleep aids can leave you feeling groggy the next day, giving you a “hangover effect” from a poor night’s sleep. However, there are a number of herbal remedies that help with a good night’s rest. One well-known supplement is melatonin, which can be a good option to help you fall asleep – but won’t necessarily help you stay asleep throughout the night.
NuTraditions’ Hello Dreams™ sleep strips incorporates melatonin and Calm DownTM herb blend, our unique combination of jujube seed, poria, licorice root, Szechuan lovage rhizome, anemarrhena rhizome and luohanguo. Melatonin helps promote sleep, The Calm DownTM blend’s natural ingredients help you stay asleep and achieve a better quality of sleep.* These strips that dissolve on your tongue can help you relax and fall into a deeper sleep, leaving you feeling more alert and energized the next morning.*
Putting your health and wellbeing first means prioritizing rest. Sleep is critical for performing your best in the day and it should come easy. Unplug your phone, climb under your cozy blanket, take some time to reflect and breathe easy.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.