“Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!” Sitting Bull
This past Friday we hosted our ReConnect Retreat to celebrate the arrival of spring and this season that signifies growth and renewal. I love spring because it brings with it longer, warmer days and flowers! Of course, we also associate spring with cleaning, organizing, and gardening. Which is a GREAT time to clean up bad habits and renew our commitment to better self-care practices, helping us to flourish just like the garden!
Each of our events is centered around The Four Seeds of Self-Care: sleep, nutrition, meditation, and exercise. During our retreat, we ate healthy, nourishing foods, practiced yoga, breathwork and meditation. While we don’t necessarily practice sleep at our retreats, we do spend time in quiet and stillness. What I didn’t realize was that the Friday before the Spring Equinox has been dubbed World Sleep Day! I was excited to learn that there is a day that is dedicated the world over to celebrating and educating about the POWER of sleep!
While many people realize the importance of sleep these days there is still a big disconnect to taking action towards creating better sleep habits! Even though we KNOW that getting enough zzz’s boosts our immune system, promotes better memory, better judgment, and keeps us more alert and less stressed we just aren’t putting into practice the actual steps that will assure that we consistently get the recommended amount of sleep most nights.
We have long thought of the lack of sleep as a badge of honor, indicating that we are somehow more productive and successful when we operate on less sleep! But science proves that this is the furthest thing from the truth! And collectively, the world needs more sleep! Not only would we individually benefit from the positive impact of getting enough sleep each night, but as we often say, “When we feel better, we do better!” Imagine the consequences on a global scale when we get good, quality rest on a consistent basis! I know that I am a much nicer, and more compassionate person when I’ve had a good night’s sleep! I am a better mother, a better citizen, a better friend, and a better wife.
“The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t.” Marie Kondo
Below are a few easy ways to take action to help you spring clean your bedtime routine!
S- Set a bedtime and stick to it! A consistent bedtime is one of the easiest things you can do to regulate your sleep. If you consistently stay up after 11 pm, for example, start moving your bedtime back by 15 minutes until you hit a bedtime that allows you to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. So for example, if you need to get up by 6 am, then you should be in bed ideally by 10 pm so that you can give yourself time to wind down and fall asleep by 10:30 or 11 pm.
L- Leave electronics out of the bedroom. This means your cell phone, laptop, and yes, your television. If you won’t leave them out of your bedroom at least make them off-limits right before bedtime. Don’t keep your phone on your nightstand, or fall asleep with the TV on. The light will reduce the hormones that help you fall asleep!
E- Exercise or move your body throughout the day to help sleep at night! Studies show that when we exercise or get plenty of physical activity during the day we are better able to sleep at night!
E- Eat to sleep- meaning don’t eat a heavy meal right before bedtime, but make sure that you are not going to bed hungry! If you eat an early dinner and need a snack try to make sure that you don’t snack immediately before bed and make sure it’s a light snack that consists of a mix of protein and carbs like an apple with some nut butter.
P- Practice something that helps you ease into bedtime. Great pre-bedtime practices include gentle stretching or yoga, reading (a physical book- not an ebook), journaling, or meditation/prayer. I also love to use affirmation cards or mindfulness cards before bedtime because it gives me something positive to ponder before my head hits the pillow.
Of course, actual “spring cleaning” of your bedroom helps as well! Washing your comforter and bed sheets regularly, keeping your room free from dust, removing clutter, and making sure that you have a comfortable mattress and pillows are other steps you can take to ensure a good sleep!
We offer events each month to help support you in your self-care practices, including sleep! We all need a self-care sidekick to keep us accountable for creating and maintaining good habits! Make sure you sign up to Get Connected so that you receive our weekly blog and event offerings.
So, what will YOU DO to improve your sleep tonight? Pick one thing that you know you can do and DO IT! If you make slow, small changes you are more likely to make them stick. Sweet dreams!
With Love and Gratitude,
Kinda and Rachel