The Importance of Sleep

Steps on how to achieve a better nights rest 

Getting the proper amount of sleep is important. 
It directly impacts our health. When we get enough hours of sleep we have more energy, less stress and better mental focus. This is the time the body can repair itself and be ready for the next day. Sleep restores and rejuvinates our minds, builds muscle, repairs tissues and helps harmonize our hormones. 

How much sleep is enough?
Different ages require different amounts of sleep. Here are the recommendations below from the National Sleep Foundation.
  • Newborns 0-3 months recommened 14-17 hours

  • Infants 4-11 months recommned 12-15 hours

  • 1-2 years recommended 11-14 hours

  • 3-5 years recommended 10-13 hours

  • 6-13 years recommended  9-11 hours

  • 14-17 years recommended 8-10 hours

  • 18-64 years recommended 7-9 hours

  • 65+ years recommended 7-8 hours

Mindful Body Scan
A mindful body scan will help you prepair for sleep. 
You may notice when you are doing a mindful body scan that your mind drifts off to other thoughts. This is O.K but try to bring your thoughts back to the body scan when you notice this happening. Saying something like "come back" or "thinking". Let go of the thought that came into your mind and focus on the feeling in your body. 

Here are the steps I use each night before drifting off to sleep. This takes practice and you will notice once you stay consistent with it each night, it will get easier. 

  • Lay on your bed and get in a comfortable position. Scan your body and notice the feelings or sensations happening. You may feel tingling, vibrations, pressure, discomfort, hot or cold tempuratures. Whatever you feel, don't change it, just acknowledge that feeling.
  • Take three deep breaths, in through your nose and out through pierced lips.
  • Start with the top of your head. Take a mental note of the feelings your head has. It may be pressure. How does your head connect with your pillow? If you notice a shift in the feeling thats fine, be mindful and embrace the feelings that come up.
  • If you encounter tension, try to let that relax. If thats not possible, take note of the feeling you have. 
  • Move to your face. Scan over your forehead, eyes, cheek bones, mouth. Notice the sensation your having in these areas. Do you feel tense? Release the tension from those areas in your face. 
  • How does your throat feel? Notice it, be aware of it. 
  • Become aware of your shoulders, what do you feel? Maybe you feel tension. Notice it. Just by noticing the feeling, it may release. If not, take a few breaths and focus those into the area of the shoulders. You may feel the tension ease up but if you don't just continue on with your body scan. 
  • Move down each arm, noticing the tingling, the vibrations, the heat as you move to your fingertips. 
  • Now become aware of your back, is it sore? Relax, take a few deep breaths here, and just be aware of the feeling you have. 
  • When other thoughts pop in your mind, remember to let go of them and come back to your body part. 
  • Focus on your hips, your thighs, your legs and feet. Notice the sensation you feel. Moving your way down your body at your own pace. You may only spend seconds at each area, or minutes. 
When starting out, you may find yourself scanning down and up your body a few times and thats ok. Practice every night and it will get easier. 

Create a relaxing bedtime routine for yourself
Create your own bedtime routine with some of these tips below.

A bedtime routine should look the same each night. It signals your brain that it's time to turn things off. Set an alarm at night to signal its time to start your routine.

  • Draw yourself a bath. Add in some relaxing essential oils like lavender, epsom salts and even a can of coconut milk. You can find my favorite bath recipe here.
  • Do some gentle Yoga. 
  • Limit screen time before bed.
  • Pick up a book and do some light reading. 
  • Enjoy a cup of herbal tea.
  • Diffuse calming essential oils.
  • Practice meditation. 
  • Listen to relaxing music.
As little as 10 minutes of physical exercise a day can help with your quality of sleep. 
  • Go for a walk
  • Take a bike ride around your community
  • Join a weekly community exercise class
  • Follow others online who inspire you and take part in their workouts
  • Explore the outdoors with your family

Try creating your own daily routine from some of the tips above. You can also check out our online community here to learn more tools for creating a more balance life!

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