As a health coach and yoga teacher, I’m often asked for my favorite ‘quick tips’ to help people turn their health around. I struggle with this question, because so much of the advice is stuff we already now: move your body several times a week, drink more water and, yes, get enough sleep. That last one is so critical, because it makes the other pieces much easier to tackle. Creating perfect bedrooms is an ideal way I help to set my clients up for sleep success.
61 percent of people crave sleep more than they crave sex, according to the Better Sleep Council. With Valentine’s day around the corner, now might be a great time to check in with your sleep. Whether you’re practicing self-love or celebrating with your partner this year, more sleep means less depression, a healthier sex life, fewer cravings and so much more goodness. If that’s not enough incentive, consider this: sleep deprivation will kill you faster than starvation. Humans can survive up to two weeks without food, but 10 days with no sleep can kill you. Are you awake yet (all puns intended)?
Supercharge Your Sleep
Rather than just telling you that you should get more sleep, I’m handing you some steps you can take to improve your sleep. Take one or all, and watch the sleep – and other – benefits roll in.
- Keep it Cool. Cooler temperatures get your body in the right mindset for sleep, so keeping your bedroom a little cooler than is comfortable is ideal for sleep. About an hour before you get in bed, turn down the temperature in your bedroom a few degrees. If you’ve got a smart thermostat, even better! Program it to cool things down about an hour before you go to sleep, and snuggle up with your favorite pajamas and comforter.
- Sleep & Sex. Repeat after me: the bedroom is for sleep and sex only. That means no televisions, laptops, tablets or smartphones. Late night Netflix binges? If you have to have them, do them in the living room.
- Sacred Sleep Rituals. You know that feeling when you have a routine that just works? It’s like everything flows seamlessly, you’re able to avoid decision fatigue while still tackling your priorities everyday, and life just seems to work. That’s where we want your sleep to get. My ritual involves a glass of wine or cup of tea, putting some soothing essential oils in our diffuser, writing in my gratitude journal and my night-time glasses – blue-light cancelling glasses I put on after the sun goes down. I start these steps at least two hours before bed, so by the time I’m ready to hit the lights my body and mind are relaxed.
- Beautify Your Bedroom. You know those perfect bedrooms you’ve been lusting over on Pinterest and Instagram? It’s time to bring that fantasy to life. Invest in quality sheets and comforters, declutter your space and add some details you find soothing. Maybe repaint your room in a soothing color like blues or greens, add some art that you love or bring candles or diffusers into your space. Make your bedroom into the space of your dreams, and you’ll find yourself drawn to spending time there. But remember, bedroom is for sleep and sex. No Netflix or dinner in bed, please! Make your sleep space sacred and respect it.
- Set a Bedtime. We’re kicking it old school here, all the way back to your childhood. Yes, I want you to set a bedtime. Start by checking in with how much sleep you should get. Most of my clients have an idea of how much sleep they truly need to feel our best. For me, it’s nine hours a night. If you’re not sure how much you need, start with eight hours a night. Then figure out what time you need to get up – count back from what time you have to be at work or school, include your morning routine, eating breakfast, meditation, bathroom selfie time, Instagram scrolling, etc. Then count back eight hours. What time are you at? That, my dear friend, is your new bedtime. But instead of thinking about this the way you did when you were 10, think about what this means to you now. This is the time you get to retreat to your glorious bedroom, snuggle under the covers and recharge. This is time you get to unplug completely, and fully indulge in your inner sloth. This is the time that will make it easier for you to get up and workout, eliminate cravings and finally start meditating every day. How epic does that sound? Well darling, all of that is what happens when you honor your beloved bedtime. Learn to love that time of night, and enjoy all the amazing benefits that come with your improved sleeping habits.
Nearly half of Americans know they don’t get enough sleep, but less than half of them do even one thing to change that (Better Sleep Council). I know it’s cliché, but no one wants to be a statistic.