Did you have stressful day at work? Were you spending long hours doing yard work or chores? A long slumber leaves you feeling calm, refreshed and vital — the stresses, aches and pains of the previous day melt away. It also helps in weight loss.
Making time for rest and adopting specific practices into your waking hours can have amazing effects on the quality of your sleep and subsequent health and happiness. Follow Kirk’s tips for a deep and invigorating sleep.
Shift workers face the most challenges in establishing and maintaining regular sleeping habits, but there are a few things a shift worker can do to help overcome those challenges.
- Experiment with your best pattern of sleep-timing and make it routine.
- Enlist the support of family and friends to hold space for your sleep schedule.
- Nap for 20-30 minutes prior to a shift if getting insufficient sleep.
- Orient rotating shifts forward from Day to Afternoon to Night to Day; this results in the least interruption to sleep patterns.
For those of us who maintain more regular sleeping habits, but don’t get the rest that’s required, follow some of these simple steps to create a sleep zone that is rich and relaxing.
- Create a dark, noise and electronics free, peaceful, sleep room.
- Keep the room temperature cool (64-66°F/17-19°C), but your bed warm and cozy.
- Scent pillowcase with essential oils of lavender, vanilla, or rose to induce relaxation.
And for those who have a hard time shutting down and actually falling asleep, here are a few insomnia busters guaranteed to help wash away the stress of the day, quiet the mind, and embrace relaxation and sleep. Some are obvious, some you may not have thought of, but they work in helping you wind down at the end of your day or shift.
- Decompress before bed or after your shift with yoga, massage, meditation or reading.
- Avoid alcohol as a relaxant, as it disrupts sleep rhythm and structure 2-3 hours into sleep.
- Minimize bright light exposure prior to sleep.
- Relax with legs elevated or do inversions to calm the parasympathetic nervous system.
- Discharge the day with journalling. Write it down and let it go.
- Practice one-minute stress relievers like slow, deep breathing, visualize muscle release, re-focus thoughts to “favourite place” or utilize Heart Math (more on Heart Math to follow).
- Utilize melatonin, valerian, and chamomile to relax and support Circadian Rhythms (use sleeping pills sparingly).
And if you’re not yet convinced about how important and good sleep is for you, the Daily Burn reports that 1 extra hour of sleep per day instead of watching television can translate into 14.3lbs of weight lost per year. Now go to bed.