Many of us have been here before. At least once in our lives and we all know how awful the feeling is. Whether from being kept up from a crying infant, traveling internationally, or stressing from the thought of that early alarm going off.
It is when we sleep, we heal. While we sleep, the systems in our body are hard at work to repair and rejuvenate us for the next day. If we’re relying on sleep aids or night caps to put us to sleep, we’re not actually getting into our “deep sleep” cycles which may lead us to feeling exhausted and drained the next day. The same thing happens each hour we stay awake past midnight.
That being said, did you know that the sleep you get before midnight helps repair brain and body cells and is shown to be the best sleep you’ll get during the night? Each hour you sleep before midnight is double that of each hour after the stroke of dawn. Studies I’ve seen lean towards 9PM to help our body do what it does.
Furthermore, your organs clean, detox, replenish, restore and work hard during certain times of the night. When you’re up past midnight this puts strain on your organs and it does not allow them to do their jobs as efficiently. This can lead to increase sickness and other health issues as well as day time sleepiness.
Research shows that certain prescription sleep aids can alter DNA and lead to their own issues and disease down the road. Here are some helpful hints and natural supplements to help you get a better nights sleep. If you’ve tried all the things, you may want to have your hormone levels checked to see if those are what is keeping you up and/or waking you up in the middle of the night. Below are some ways I went from 4 hours of sleep to 9 blissful hours of dreaming sweet 🙂
…how to sleep…
-We’ve all heard it: blue light reduction. Try putting your electronics away an hour or two before bed time or check out these apps which help block blue light. F.lux (free, justgetflux.com), Unblue app (iOS; $2). I try to avoid electric devices 1-2 hours prior to bedtime and 1 hour when I wake up.
–Set schedule. This will reset our internal clocks and make us fall asleep faster and wake up feeling more refreshed.
–Deep, slow belly breathing. 4 counts in through the nose, 8 counts out through the mouth allowing the belly to rise and fall.
–Keeping a journal by your bed. If you’re awake because of all of your thoughts or to-do’s you don’t want to forget. Write them down before bed and then try to fixate on something else like a memory verse or word to repeat over and over until you’re out. Stay present to avoid your mind from wandering and keeping you up.
–Memorization or reciting a Mantra. I recite scripture every night while drifting off to sleep and the focusing on a specific task vs. letting my mind wander knocks me out.
–Falling asleep before 10 pm. We can get a burst of energy between 10-midnight making it harder to fall asleep. Our gall bladder and liver detox between 11-3 am so getting to bed before this will not disrupt this process.
–Relaxing music/book. 30 minutes leading up to bedtime. (Spotify & Alexa have a ton of these.)
–Bringing your body temperature down. We get deeper sleep in cooler temperatures so play with your thermostat until you find a setting at night that works for you.
–Noise reduction or white noise.
–Light reduction. Complete darkness is key.
–Staying away from caffeine past noon.
–Get morning sunlight between 9-2. The more outside time you get, especially in the morning, the better nights sleep you’ll get.
–Exercise and expend energy throughout the day. Exercising outside is a bonus!
–Stand in the grass. This will help emit negative ions. In today’s society, we transmit too many positive ions through our devices which can effect our sleep patterns.
–Magnesium bath flakes. Add some lavender essential oil for the ultimate sleep bath.
(side note: some of these have worked super well for me while others have not, yet have worked great for others. Keep in mind that it comes down to why you aren’t sleeping and what your body may need a little bit of help from. So do your research wisely.)
-CBD (>40 mg)
-Sleepy Time tea