There's no better feeling than waking up energized and refreshed after a long night's sleep. Rest is crucial to our well-being and helps keep us energized, alert, and focused throughout the day. It's also one the most natural ways to relieve stress and anxiety for the hours you are awake.
When done correctly, the benefits of a good night's sleep will stick with you the whole day and can improve almost every area of your life. On the contrary, there's nothing worse than waking up in the morning after a night of tossing and turning only to feel groggy, lethargic, and like your body is swollen and heavy.
Ask yourself, Is it difficult for you to wake up in the morning? Does it take you a long time to feel like a normal human when you wake up? Do you require tons of caffeine to get you going?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this post is for you. The above questions are some of the most common symptoms of not getting a good night's rest.
There are many factors that can contribute to the quality of rest you get. We like to take a no nonsense, intuitive approach to solutions that actually work. This list is some our favorite ways to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and feel energized, focused, and clear throughout the day.
Ease Into Your Evening With a Nightly Routine
We don't need to bring the problems and anxiety of the day into the dream land with us, although it has been reported that people are dreaming more frequently and more vividly during the pandemic.
Take at least 2 hours before you go to bed to prepare your body for rest. Turn off your devices and look away from the blue light. Dim the lights in your house and to set a more relaxing ambiance, play some soothing music that contributes to a calm, stress relieving environment.
Take a warm shower or bath. Going to bed with a clean body helps you relax and feel more comfortable under the sheets.
Eat an early dinner and if you need to, eat a light snack. You don't want to go to bed too hungry, but you don't want to go to bed full either. You want your body to rest while you are asleep, not be working throughout the night digesting a heavy meal. a handful of your favorite nuts should do the trick. Just make sure to try to avoid any heavy foods in the hours leading up sleep.
Keep a consistent bed time. No, you're not being punished and it may seem childish, but keeping a consistent bed time will help your body get into a natural flow. Consistency is key here. When your body knows when it should start winding down for sleep, it helps your mind follow suit. When the body wants to wind down, yet the mind is keeping it awake, it can lead to imbalance, stress, and further add to the problem of helping you fall asleep and stay asleep.
Consciously Relax Your Head, Neck, and Body
Close your eyes and consciously relax your face and body parts. Check in with yourself as you are breathing to ensure that each body part is relaxed. I tend to clench my jaw when I sleep, so making the effort to relax my face and jaw muscles before I doze off goes a long way in keeping my face muscled relaxed throughout the night. I can tell the difference when I wake up if I made the effort the night before or not. It's as if my body remembers that I relaxed before falling asleep and carries that physical relaxation with me into sleep. After trying this, if you still have trouble with clenching/grinding there are plenty of over the counter mouth guards you can buy to assist you.
People think you're just supposed to fall asleep as soon as your head touches the pillow, and as soon as that doesn't happen we can tend to start overthinking the fact we're not asleep yet which sends you down a rabbit hole of additional thought patters that keep you awake. The reality is that it takes the average person 15-30 minutes to fall asleep once they are in bed. One way to speed this process up is to get in the most comfortable position you can, close your eyes, and breathe deeply for a period of time (5-10 minutes). The more you practice this and can focus on your breathing without letting outside thoughts slip in, the faster and easier it will be to fall asleep. This also primes your mind to ease into sleep from a more relaxed place which will stay with you throughout the night.
Use the right tools
The key to sleeping comfortably is neck and spine alignment. When our physical body is uncomfortable, our muscles and joints suffer, even when we are sleeping! This leads to waking up with aches and pains that stay with you throughout the day. Using the right pillow is absolutely crucial to aligning your neck and spine. As a general rule of thumb, back and side sleepers tend to lean towards firmer pillows while stomach sleepers opt for a softer pillow. It is well worth your time to do the research and try different options until you find the one that works best for you.
Get Your Energy Out During the Day
The more energy you let out during the day, the less you will have built up by the time you are ready to sleep. Whether you like to run, hit a kickboxing class, practice yoga, or whatever else, do so knowing that the effort you put in to your workout that day is going to directly contribute to the quality of rest you get that night.
When it comes to getting the best sleep you can and letting the benefits follow you throughout your day, the secret is to find the tools and routine that works for you. This comes in the form of a combination of keeping a consistent plan and schedule, creating the space to relax in the evenings, maintaining an active lifestyle throughout the day, and supplementing with products like Hilani WAVE.
If you have any other tips or feedback once you've tried some of these ideas, we would love to hear from you in the comments below!