Four Evening Activities That Can Promote or Hinder Restful Sleep
In our last blog, we began our four part series on Aside from DreamFit Sheets, What Can You Do To Promote A Restful Night? In Part One we looked at activities that we do during the day that influence our sleep habits.
Before we look at the topic today, let’s make sure that we understand what insomnia even is.
According to Taylor Kubota’s “Do You Have Insomnia” published in Men’s Journal, “Insomnia has a specific definition, which has been developed fairly recently — an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, or problems waking up too early, that occur for at least three nights a week for three months and affect daytime performance.”
The most important parts of this definition to take away is how the sleep deprivation affects us the following day. Depending on our age, our circumstances, and our internal clocks, some of us need more sleep than others. Some of us do fine without lots of sleep, but most of us, need it and need it consistently.
In this Four Part Series, DreamFit examines many sleep solutions that will allow us to keep the following day performing the way it should.
Today we look at our evening activities.
Our hope is that you can
- look at all of the suggestions,
- find what it is that you feel may be hindering you specifically from sleeping restfully,
- hand select a few of these options, and
- design a beautiful night’s sleep made just for you.
Evenings at home on television or the movies consists of sparkling clean kitchens amid harmonious family gourmet dinners, bubble baths and candles, and strolls through the park hand in hand into the sunset. I mean for real? I hate when people use the word literally incorrectly, so understand that I literally believe the polar opposite of each of those scenarios is what my house looks and sounds like in the evening hours.
So what are some easy fixes to make the hectic evening more conducive to a relaxing night?
- Use the Scent of Lavender.
According to The Sweet Scent of Sleep: Use Lavender for a More Restful Slumber,Wesleyan University’s psychologists asked their research participants “to sniff lavender essential oil one night–and then distilled water the next–for four 2-minute periods just before bedtime. The researchers monitored their sleep cycles with brain scans.”
On the lavender nights, 100% slept more soundly and felt more energetic the next morning.
As an added bonus?
“The researchers found that lavender increased slow-wave sleep, the very deep slumber in which the heartbeat slows, muscles relax, and the brain is thought to organize memory.”Lavender is available as an oil in which to sniff, spray on linens, or to diffuse. Lavender is also available dried and fresh. If you would like to grow your own, make sure that you buy an English version as those are typically the most fragrant.
- Avoid Drinking Alcohol at Night Especially Near Bedtime.
Alcohol is a sedative, not a sleep aid, so skip the nightcap. What is the difference? Alcohol causes you to fall asleep, but the effects will last just long enough to make you miserable for the rest of the night when the sedative wears off. While the research indicates a glass of wine could be good for you, the important factors to remember are it needs to be a small glass with a meal and if you are struggling with staying asleep, it may be best to avoid alcohol altogether.
- Give Late-Night Yoga a Try.
In Naomi Bartram’s Seven Surprising Ways You Can Improve Your Sleep, she encourages yoga as both a relaxation and exertion technique: I”f an hour before bed is the only time you can squeeze in your mid-week workout, fear not, there are plenty of people who swear by late-night yoga.” Yoga provides a sense calm while also stretching and relaxing the muscles, causing significant physical and mental exertion which results in a better sleep.
- Writing in a Gratitude Journal Improves Sleep.
An extensive 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being and referenced in “Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude”, found that by just taking a few minutes to gather your thoughts, reflect on your day, and list what it is that you are grateful for that particular day can provide a better and longer sleep pattern. And if you find that cannot sleep, revisit this list and either read previous entries or add to your list by elaborating on why these gratuities are so important to you.
All of these suggestions are simple and only one involves a small amount of money (lavender). While we often fret over the expense of anything, here are four cost effective options that could bring the priceless satisfaction of a clear mind and a rested body.