Learning how to live a life filled with enthusiasm , purpose and joy!

Learn how to make your life flow using simple tools like holistic health, alignment before action and tapping into your subconscious mind. Follow my journey as I blend my love of healthy, natural living with spiritually and research based techniques!


21 Day Reset Part 5 - Stressing about Sleep


Sleep

Chances are, you’re not getting enough sleep. In a society where coffee mugs say ‘hustle’ and time is equal to money (and money is considered the ultimate prize), it’s no surprise people think it’s ok to forgo a full nights sleep. However, the price we are paying by staying up a little too late can have big consequences over a lifetime. I’m talking about cognitive performance decline, an increase in safety related accidents, reduced immune function, appetite regulation issues, decreased metabolism and hormone disruptions just to start.  The ideal amount of sleep varies by person and changes as we age, most experts clock it as between 7 and 9 hours for adults.  It’s a good idea to monitor your sleeping patterns to see what works best for you. Personally, my sweet spot is about 7.5 hours. At 7 hours or less I get up rested but get tired mid afternoon. More than 8 and getting out of bed feels like an awful idea.

It’s not just the amount of sleep that matters, your goal should be quality sleep. After the first days of adjusting to my reset, I had some of the best, most consistent sleeps of my life. I woke up alert, without an alarm clock almost everyday, falling asleep was so consistently easy (usually a problem for me) and if I needed a nap, 10 minutes made me feel like a new gal. It was difficult adjusting to my rules for the first 3-4 days, especially the no screens after sunset rule. I didn’t realize how regularly I spent my nights watching a show and falling asleep with my iPad in hand.

The first thing I did was declutter my bedroom. All none essential items were moved out or placed neatly out of sight. Only pieces that made me feel aligned stayed out on display. I also put up black out curtains and put electrical tape over every light emitting indicator (power bar, chargers) in my room.

The next thing I did was take my tv out of my bedroom. I filled the area with a collection of some of my favourite books and candles instead. A change I assumed I would switch back but now I think I'm going to keep the TV out of my bedroom for good! 



That leads us to the no screens after sunset rule. That includes TV, computer, iPad and cellphone. When the sun went down, so did the electronics. I told my family and friends that I wouldn’t be able to text after sundown and for them to call if it was important. It never was, thankfully.

Research is continuing to show that the blue light emitted by electronics can disrupt our hormones, like melatonin, which can mess up our sleep cycles. Our hormones are one of the biggest determinants of our health and well-being so we should all be trying our best not to disturb them. Shutting down the screens and dimming the lights at sunset can make a big impact on the quality of our sleep.

When I no longer had my screens to rely on, I felt a little restless the first couple of nights. I even found myself cheating by night four and quickly checking my phone was I was alone, like an shameful addict. I came to the conclusion that I needed to fill my nights will some relaxing rituals to replace my screen habit. I realized I had been buying a lot of ebooks and therefore treated myself to a few new books that I could enjoy without a screen. I started taking baths with magnesium crystals and aromatherapy salts. I even bought myself a new sleep shirt from Victoria’s Secret to help me relax and feel cozy before bed. These little indulgences worked like a charm and I soon looked forward to my screen-free nights.

The next two reset rules gave me a little trouble the first few days but I was astonished how quickly my body and mind accepted them. I went to bed at relatively the same time ever night and set my alarm to wake me up when the sunrise was due. By the third day I was drifting off to sleep within 20 mins (unheard of for me) and waking up right BEFORE the sun came up! My body really loves this routine and it’s something I will continue to do.

My final tip is to use coloured noise to help you sleep if you need too. We have all heard of using a white noise machine to block out unwanted noises as we try to sleep but did you know that brown or pink noise can be even more relaxing and effective? I use a free iOS app called soundly sleeping to play some soothing brown noise on nights when I might be heading to bed earlier than the environment around me.


Stress

We all know stress isn’t good for us, but did you know stress increases fat storage and sugar cravings? Yikes! So part of my 21 day reset is to practice a few stress reduction techniques on a daily basis. 

Nobody is surprised that meditation is going to top my list of stress busters. I have previously written about the benefits and types of meditation so I won’t go into too much detail here. I have, however, changed my meditation up slightly. Since cortisol, the stress hormone, peaks when we first awake (to help get us going in the AM), I have moved my meditation from evenings to first thing in the morning. This posed a much greater challenge than I expected! I found my thoughts more rampant in the mornings as my to-do lists whirled in my head. Still, I kept at it even if I ended up with only a five minute session. I must admit I still have not gotten the hang of morning meditation but I will continue to experiment with different techniques before I decide it just isn’t for me. Never force yourself to meditate if you are not feeling up to it. Just take a few deep mindful breaths and move on with your day. Frustration and negative associations are going to be your outcome if you try to force yourself into sitting on your meditation cushion when your not feeling up to it.

If meditation just isn’t for you, that is absolutely fine. Start a gratitude journal or make rampages of appreciation a part of your daily routine. Starting your day on the vibration of gratitude, appreciation and love will do wonders for your psyche and who and what you attract all day.

Exercise is also a great stress reducer, when my morning meditation wasn't hitting the right note, I would go on a nice walk outside, preferably with my pug Charlie. We would take in the fresh air of the morning, get in our vitamin D and return home ready to enjoy the day.

Thanks for reading! 

Next Tuesday - How to get into alignment when nothing else is working!

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