Hello all! We are down to one week until Thanksgiving! I still cannot believe we are already in the midst of the holiday season and almost to the end of 2017. My little tip today is to try to make sure you get your rest so you can enjoy all of the pleasurable moments that are made this time of year!
Good quality sleep is always important, but as with many other healthy habits people tend to relinquish it during the busy holiday season in order to fit more of everything else into their day. A late night here and there probably will not hurt too badly, but if you are cutting into your rest every night it will catch up with you.
Lack of sleep most often results in fatigue during the day, but can have other negative effects like throwing off your hormonal balance, impacting fat storage and appetite in a way that can contribute to unwanted weight gain. I know I can attest to eating more (especially the bad stuff) when I am tired. If you are trying to maintain your workouts fatigue can impact the quality of those sessions and hinder your recovery. Although we sometimes sacrifice sleep in order to get more accomplished, in the long run you may actually be less productive with your time when you are sluggish and you tend to make more mistakes which can result in having to repeat a particular project at work or at home.
Some of the standard tips for a proper sleep routine are to try to go to bed at a similar time every night and also wake at the same time. Our bodies respond well to a routine, especially for sleeping. If you tend to do this already, then you probably notice that you wake up at the same time every day even without an alarm set. Stopping eating a few hours before bed is another good practice to have not only for sleep but weight management, as well. Another recommendation is to have a winding down routine every evening. An hour or so before bed, shut off the television and put down your phone. Some people like a cup of tea every evening, others take a bath to relax. Writing in a journal can be a great ritual to release any pent-up mental stress from the day and help deter the whirlwind of thoughts that sometimes keep you awake. Having a nightly routine will help set your mind and body up to let it know it is time to rest.
I would also contend things like meal prepping at the beginning of the week and setting out your outfits for each day on Sunday evenings are also helpful. If you know you already have lunches ready and your clothing picked out, then you do not have to spend that extra time during the week on those things. Of course everyone has different things that work for their lifestyle, so find what works for you and stick with it for a few weeks to determine if it is helpful.
If you have trouble sleeping regardless of your routine, there are some other remedies that may help. A magnesium deficiency is linked to insomnia, so I have found supplementing with that mineral a few days a week helps me if my sleep patterns start getting irregular. Melatonin is another common one that is reported to have benefits. Of course, please check with your healthcare professional before trying any type of supplement! Essential oils like lavender or a specific bedtime blend may also be beneficial. I use mine in a diffuser, but you can also put a few drops in the bathtub.
If you are really struggling with sleep for a long period of time despite all of your best efforts, I would highly recommend seeing a professional. There are sometimes medical factors (like sleep apnea) that no amount of holistic intervention can fix. Proper rest is too important to overall health to forgo!
What are your favorite nighttime rituals?