How to Get Restful Sleep
Restful sleep is the foundation for your mental and physical well-being. After a day of stimulating activity, your body needs deep sleep when your mind and body can rest and reset. When you’re well rested, you’re more alert, able to process new information more efficiently, and you make better decisions. On the other hand, when you’re sleep deprived, you’re more likely to make mistakes and it takes longer to complete tasks.
For maximum rejuvenation, we recommend a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of restful sleep each night, keeping in mind that the hours before midnight are generally the most rejuvenating. For example, if you sleep eight hours between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., you’ll feel more rested than if you sleep eight hours between midnight and 8 a.m.
To promote restful sleep, try this evening routine:
- Stop drinking caffeinated drinks at 12pm.
- Eat a light dinner.
- Take a leisurely stroll after you eat (if safe to do so!).
- Minimize exciting, aggravating, or mentally intensive activities after 8:30 p.m.
- About an hour before bedtime, run a hot bath into which you place a few drops of relaxing oil
- Diffuse relaxing aromas in your bedroom.
- As your bath is running, perform a slow self-administered oil massage (even better if you can find some else to do it!) and then soak in the warm tub for 10 to 15 minutes.
- While soaking, have the lights low or burn a candle, and listen to soothing music.
- After your bath, drink a cup of warm relaxing herbal tea.
- If your mind is very active, journal for a few minutes before bed. “Download” your thoughts and concerns so you don’t need to ruminate about them when you shut your eyes. Ideally, using the old fashioned method with pen and paper.
- Read inspirational or calming books for a few minutes before bed. Avoid dramatic novels or distressing reading material. Do not read on an iPad! The electrical impulses and lighting stops the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
- Do not watch television or do any work in bed.
- Once in bed, close your eyes and simply “feel your body.” Focus on your body and wherever you notice tension, consciously relax that area.
- Then, simply watch your slow easy breathing until you fall asleep.