Once of the things I talk about in my self-care webinars is sleep. Sleep is normally the first thing we “skimp” on when it comes to taking care of ourselves and probably one of the most important things we should prioritize.

Adults need about 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night – 20% overall should be deep sleep.

What happens when we deprive our bodies of sleep? The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH) states the following:

Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.
The way you feel while you’re awake depends in part on what happens while you’re sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development.

If that didn’t scare you, here are serious health conditions that can occur from sleep deprivation:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Heart attacks
  • Immune system suppression & dysfunction
  • Digestive problems
  • Accidents (including deadly ones)
  • And more

YIKES.

One of the things that I recommend is creating a nighttime routine. This routine you can do when you’re at home, away on a business trip or on vacation. This alleviates any stress and allows your body to fall into a relaxed state almost every night. I apply Serenity doTERRA essential oil on the bottoms of my feet every night to help promote relaxation and a restful sleeping environment. I then use an app called Hear and Now which guides me in deep breathing exercises.  Deep breathing is known to help promote deep sleep.  I use melatonin if I need additional assistance with sleeping and put down my electronics at 9pm.  That’s it.  Facebook can wait until the next day. I lastly pray about the day and the things/people that I’m grateful for and the “worries” that I have on my mind.

Besides a routine another thing I recommend is looking at your bedroom and making sure it’s “optimized” for a good night sleep.  Here are some tips for a perfect sleep haven.

  • Make sure your sheets are kept clean. I use lavender essential oil (proven to lower your heart rate and blood pressure, potentially putting you in a more relaxed state) on my wool dryer balls to help infuse the scent.
  • Many sleep experts say that a cool room, somewhere around 65 degrees, makes for the best sleep.
  • Declutter and clean. When you walk into your bedroom you should feel peaceful and relaxed NOT anxious and worried.
  • Lighting is important. When it’s dark it tells our body it’s time to rest. So don’t use a bright light before you go to sleep or even keep lights on while you’re sleeping.
  • Turn the TV off at night.
  • Invest in a good mattress and pillows.
  • No electronics.

I am all about my sleep. When I focus on getting my zzzz’s , my outlook is brighter and I feel better.  I hope you will focus on this “easy” self-care practice starting tonight.

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