If you haven’t already, be sure to check out this post, where I share my 8 BIG GOALS for these 43 days.
And don’t forget to GET IN ON THE GIVEAWAY!
I love sleeping, and I usually get enough sleep each night. However, this does not always mean that I go to bed early. I LOVE staying up late, and I can usually sleep in a little later if I need to, so the temptation to keep late, unnatural hours is one that I often embrace. If it were up to me (and my husband, who is also a “night-owl”), I would go to bed around 1 AM every night/morning, and wake up around 11 AM. However, that schedule just doesn’t work well for those of us who have jobs!
I’m not going to delve into all the science behind the benefits of going to bed with the sun, but I do want to point you toward some excellent resources. Keep reading…
If you have been following my blog for very long, you know that this is such a difficult challenge for me! Check out some of my past ramblings on sleep HERE. I obviously haven’t tried hard enough to stick to the early bedtime routine, but I’m willing to try again, and to KEEP trying until I get this stay-up-late habit under control. Why? Mainly because I know going to bed earlier and rising earlier is a more natural way to live.
Before electricity, we didn’t have technology (or even lightbulbs) glaring us in the face. As the sun starts to go down, we should ideally start settling in for the night. In today’s culture, when phones are on the bedside table and laptops are easily-accessible on the floor beside the bed, we can go from “settling in” to “WAKE UP!” at the touch of a button… even if it’s 10:00 at night.
Our bodies were created with a rhythm that suggest we rest when the sun sets, and rise when the sun rises. When we dance to this rhythm, our health improves (blood sugar is more regulated, cortisol levels are more regulated, cells and tissues are able to fully rest and restore, etc., etc., etc.). In addition to better health, we’ll be in a better mood the following day, which ultimately means less stress and more productivity! It all makes sense to me… how about you?
If you need more convincing, check out these resources:
- The Paleo Solution, chapter eight.
- Robbwolf.com on sleep: http://robbwolf.com/2012/06/01/rest-faster/
- Jason Seib on sleep: http://everydaypaleo.com/2012/06/07/get-some-sleep/
- Not Sleeping Could Make You Fat and Antisocial - http://www.paleoplan.com/2012/06-18/not-sleeping-enough-could-make-you-fat-and-antisocial-part-1/
- What Sleep Deprivation Does to Your Body - http://www.paleoplan.com/2012/06-21/sleep-part-2-what-deprivation-does-to-your-body/
So during this 43-day challenge, we’ll be making some extra efforts to ensure an early bedtime, and plenty of sleep each night! Here are some tips that have been helpful for us so far… feel free to share yours in the comments!
- Turn off all electronics (including phones!) at 9 PM/sundown, and then relax toward sleepy-town for the next hour. The goal is to be sleeping by 10:30 each night.
- Don’t drink caffeine after noon.
- Take a warm bath 40 minutes before bedtime – add some lavender-scented epsom salts for an added bonus!.
- STOP eating at least two hours before bedtime.
- Keep your bedroom slightly cool – this increases the desire to “snuggle-down” and get cozy.
- When it’s time for sleep, turn off all lights, and sleep in a 100% dark room (read more about this in The Paleo Solution, chapter eight – FASCINATING!).
- Take your magnesium supplement right before bed – this one is my favorite, and it really does help me relax.
- Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to your pillowcase to increase relaxation.
- Don’t make late-evening plans (at least not on a regular basis). My husband gets off work at 6:00 on weekdays, which does not leave us much time for socializing in the evenings. A good alternative is to save plans for weekends when we have more daylight hours to spare.
Besides all the benefits that are listed in the resources I mentioned above, I just know that I feel so much better when I’m on a regular sleep routine. We were really diligent in this effort during the month of February, and we saw some amazing results. It’s so easy to fall back into old habits, but I’m not one to listen to excuses, so it’s time to SHAPE UP!
Well, it’s almost 9 PM… time to wrap some things up and shut ‘er down.