By: Rasheedah Billups
Have you ever wondered if babies sleep as good as we assume they do? We often say, ‘I slept like a baby’ as an indication that we’ve slept well. Babies must sleep well. They wake every morning, bright-eyed and ready! What if we could sleep just as well. It would be nice. But there’s a lot of stuff standing between us and that euphoric experience of baby-like sleep. Unlike us, babies haven’t yet learned how to stress, or how to engage in toxic behaviors.
Why is sleep essential?
Our bodies do some important work while we sleep - it repairs itself and prepares to sustain us for another day. During the time we are asleep, the body repairs cells and organs, and releases chemicals and hormones essential to our immune system, growth and appetite. Sleep is necessary for us to function properly while we are awake. When we don’t have adequate sleep, whether in quantity or quality, we see the effects on our mood, our health, and our ability to function.
What impacts sleeping habits?
According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, 50 to 70 million Americans are affected by sleep-related problems. A sleeping disorder is defined as a condition that regularly inhibits a person’s ability to get enough sleep. Sleeping disorders include insomnia, night terrors, narcolepsy, and breathing-related disorders, among others. To treat sleeping disorders, providers may prescribe medications for underlying causes and they commonly prescribe non-medical treatments as well, such as therapy.
What can I do to improve my sleep?
Getting enough sleep isn’t the only issue. The National Sleep Foundation reports that among Americans who have reported they receive enough hours in sleep, 35% report that the quality of sleep they receive is poor. The same study also revealed a strong connection between poor sleep quality and stress levels. Overall, 67% of those who reported poor sleep also reported poor health.
The good news is, whether the sleep isn’t enough or the quality is poor, you can start to ease your way into better sleep by transitioning to healthier habits throughout your day and just before bed.
- Indulge in a foot soak prior to bed. A foot soak can soothe aches and pains, pull toxins from the body, ease inflammation, and reduce stress. Try Exhale Foot Soak by Naturally London which is also rich in antioxidants.
- Take a relaxing bath prior to bed. Incorporate epsom salt and essential oils into your bedtime routine to aid in relaxation. Coconut Bath Soak by Chloe & Chad is formulated with epsom salt and essential oils to help alleviate stress and remove toxins from the body.
- Build a meditation practice. Meditation is useful for reducing stress, relaxing, and quieting the mind.
- Exercise. Known benefits of exercise include reduced stress, improved mood, better sleep, and weight loss.
- Make small adjustments to your living space. Remove items and products that don’t keep you well. Transition away from toxic products in the home and incorporate all natural toxic-free products. Arrange your living space to promote peaceful sleep by removing distractions such as bright lights, laundering your bedding with a natural detergent – try Powder Laundry Detergent by PUR Home – and incorporating essential oils.
We come to learn more everyday that in life, eventually everything connects. Our inability to sleep or to sleep well isn’t an isolated experience. Sleeping habits can be improved by making healthier choices in all areas of our life. With cognitive behavioral therapy (also known as CBT), in conjunction with lifestyle changes being the “most widely-used therapy” for sleep disorders, it’s safe to infer that a balanced mind, body, and spirit could unlock the door to better sleep.
How do you prepare for a good night’s rest? Share your practices in the comments below.