The 411 on getting enough ZZZ’s! – is your night time routine making you FAT, STRESSED & ANXIOUS!

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We all know how important sleep is. You’ve been told from when you were a kid that you need to go to bed early so you have enough energy to play all day! Then as you get older you find out you need your beauty sleep…

But really, there are so many more benefits to getting good well rested sleep! We seriously need some deep z’s to assist our mood, body, weight and general health. Sleep is the time our body can rest in its deepest state to repair and grow! You want longer luscious hair… sleep can help! Stronger nails, an injury… get some more sleep, you will be allowing your body to rest and heal itself. It’s also a time when the brain is processing all the information we received throughout the day and filtering out the information we don’t need… It calms your nervous system and decreases your anxiety. Hence when you are over-tired you become more jittery and anxious.

Did you know your sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same areas of the brain? So if all of the other reasons haven’t made it clear, when you don’t get enough deep sleep the same hormones sky rocket and drive your appetite! Meaning… you can overeat more easily.

 

So the real question is…. Are you getting enough sleep?

  • Do you wake up numerous times during the night?
  • Do you need toilet breaks throughout the night?
  • When you wake in the morning do you feel refreshed?
  • Are you hungrier than usual throughout the day?
  • Are you gaining weight? This could be because you are always after sugary and high caffeine foods to perk you back up. You forget to be fuel your body correctly when you are sleep deprived
  • Are you finding it hard to concentrate during the day?
  • Are you feeling super emotional? (When you’re don’t get enough sleep your emotions are like a yo-yo, sometimes our bodies find it harder to control things that wouldn’t usually affect us)
  • Do you have suffer from brain fog?

There are just a few things that can happen when your body isn’t getting enough restful sleep.

Sleep itself, can look different for everyone, there isn’t a one size fits all in regards to amount of sleep you require. Some people only need 5-6, whilst others need 9-10 hours to perform at their best. My personal preference is 8-9 hours of sleep at night.

Since adjusting my night-time routine and understanding the amount of sleep that helps my body work most efficiently, I don’t set an alarm? SHOCK HORROR – I know! I simply work backwards from when I need to get up. Therefore I never have to suffer the dreaded alarm sound and wake feeling sluggish or exhausted – winning!

This is my night time routine. I use to be a serial sleeping tablet taker! I have literally tried everything under the sun to help my sleep. Prescribed strong sleeping tablets, melatonin tablets, over the counter tablets, herbs, teas, ear plugs (which I actually still use haha) I tried staying up late waking up earlier anything that I read would help me!

However, I have found this little routine to be my savior. All things rolled into one. It doesn’t take long and it helps me sooo much. I hope it is helpful to you to!!

The Wholesome Heart Night time routine

Dim the lights

Firstly I ensure all the lights in the house are off, or at least dimmed from 2 hours before I need to go to bed. This increases the natural release of melatonin (sleep hormone) in my body. In a perfect world I would say phones and screens off… but I also know the reality of the world we live in. I suggest reducing your screen time and if you must, put the blue (night-time) filter on your screens. It’s a super simple setting on your phone and tablet.

 

Tea Time

I have only recently started with this but it’s as if my body knows when the tea comes out it must be night time? I like to have something soothing and calming. Either a chamomile or even a detoxifying tea to give my liver a handy boost before it gets to work whilst I sleep.

Relaxing Sleepy Oils

Recently I have fallen in LOVE with relaxing essential oils. If there is one tip that ties all of the above together it is this. ‘Deep Sleep’ Oil from, Courtney and the Babes. I swear by it. I haven’t been using it for long (previously I would use plain lavender, which is also great at relaxing) but I have found this mix to be SUPER relaxing and helps me stay in my deep sleep throughout the night.

I literally rub the oil on the souls of my feet, rub them together for 30 seconds and breathe in the scent and then doze off into peaceful sleepy time.

Twist and stretch

My absolute favourite part of my wind down time! I like to take some time to stretch out my lower limbs and a few to regulate your bowels and decrease bloat (to assist with having your first bowel moment when you wake up! Yup poo talk – it’s so important, and I’ll do another post on some more digestion and things to help constipation soon. Because I know how many people suffer from this!)

Standing Forward Bend
Image Credit – The Yoga Journal

Reclining Big Toe Pose

Image Credit – The Yoga Journal

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 

Image Credit – The Yoga Journal

My final pose and the most important (for me) is the

Legs Up Wall Pose 

Image Credit – The Yoga Journal

A couple of other things to keep in mind are, ensure your house is nice and cool especially your room as your body drops in temperature before dozing off, it can result in disrupted sleep or make it harder to fall asleep. Try to avoid stimulants in the afternoon and evening, things like caffeine and cacao (yup your beloved chocolate could be keeping you awake!) Lastly try to eat at least 2 hours before bed to ensure your body has digested the food, otherwise this too can disrupt you falling asleep!

 

One last thing, If my mind is buzzing, from a solid cray cray day and I feel some anxiety building, I find it so beneficial to jot it all down.

First, write down your to-do list that needs to be achieved tomorrow, from important things to the things that just need to be done – just get it all out of your head.

Then set a timer for 2mins, and on a blank page (writing works best rather than typing on your phone, try both but trust me writing is the go!) write down everything and anything that comes to mind. The trick is, your pen never leaves the page! You continue writing for the full two minutes. Write down every single thing that comes into your head. It can literally be ‘nothing’, ‘nothing’, ‘banana’, ‘I have nothing to say’ etc.  The key is don’t stop. Your brain will just blurt it all and get it out of your racing mind. This is seriously the best thing to do!!

I love this even in the middle of the day when I am overwhelmed and have cranium-strainium! (If you would like to know more about journaling, let me know and I will write another piece on it!)

 

I really hope these tips help you. I have found it so important to use this time to wind down, as we are always rushing from one thing to the other and constantly stimulated it is important to give the brain and body clear signs that it is night time and to stopping pumping out the adrenaline and hormones that keep us going throughout the day.

 

I would love to know if you have any other tips and tricks that help you fall asleep, sweetest dreams!

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