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The Friday Five: 5 Tips for Better Sleep 05/12/17

Happy Friday! I had a ton of great feedback on the face shaving post. It is pretty interesting stuff, right?

Today I wanted to talk about one of the very important pillars of health, SLEEP. This is something  many individuals struggle with, and it is really harming our health! The National Sleep Foundation reported that nearly half of Americans have struggled with insomnia at one time or another! Crazy!

Here are some tips to help you get to sleep!

1. Meditate Daily

Many of the people that I know with sleep issues (including my husband) tell me that their biggest roadblock is turning off their mind.

Meditation is taking just a few minutes each day (on average 10) to focus on the breath, let go of lists, worries, thoughts, and just be in the present moment.

I am not going to pretend like this is an easy task, especially if you have 2 kids and a dog like me! However, I found that just trying to establish a routine and using guided meditation helps.  There are some great FREE apps such as Insight TimerHeadspace (KFred’s recommended app), and Calm to keep you on track.

If we can learn to manage the thoughts (not control the mind), we will be able to shut off and let go of our day a little better when it is time for bed. Meditation can certainly help with that, and it is totally worth giving it a shot! All it takes is 10 minutes a day, I do it in my car many times because I know I can’t be interrupted my butt bites from my dog or demands from my littles 😉

Meditation is becoming so popular that new meditation studios are popping up, which I had never heard of before! My friend, Jason is opening a studio this weekend in Lafayette Hill called Sit Meditation Space. It is the most gorgeous studio with a calming atmosphere! They will be doing classes with singing bowls (bowls produce sounds which invoke a deep state of relaxation which naturally assists one in entering into meditation), essential oils, and some of the best teachers in the area. I will be sure to post more about it soon!

2. Essential Oils

Essential oils have been such a wonderful addition to my family’s wellness regimen, and it seems like EVERYONE I know is using them these days!

I can’t believe how well they have supported sleep not only for me, but for my kids and husband as well!

How it works is, the active constituents in certain essential oils stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for slowed respiration, slowed heart rate, reduced force of blood pumping in the body, decreased muscle tension, capillary relaxation, and more.

Inhaling these constituents transmits nerve impulses straight to the emotional control center of the brain, and the particular constituents in relaxing oils tell the brain to trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, that is when you get the physical effects that allow you to relax.

Interesting, right?

One note of caution … not all EOs are created equally. If you plan to go over to Whole Foods or Bed Bath or Target (or even Amazon) for your oils you could be getting ripped off. Many times you are basically being sold perfume, or low quality oils that contain pesticides or other impurities. The whole distillation process is very important, and many companies aren’t involved in their own distillation or farming.

I prefer Young Living to any other brand since they own their farms and have a hand in every step of distillation and bottling. I’d suggest doing your own research like I did before choosing a company (I have a useful PDF on this page, and a FREE facebook group for EO users and newbies if you are interested). Side note, no one is allowed to sell YL on Amazon, and the caps are easy to replace so beware of buying on there and getting diluted oils (so shady!) Go to the source!

Here are my FAVORITE relaxing oils for sleep:

  • lavender
  • cedarwood
  • orange
  • valor
  • peace and calming
  • vetiver
  • bergamot
  • ylang ylang
  • geranium
  • gentle baby
  • northern lights black spruce
  • tangerine
  • patchouli

my TWO most sleepy combos ever for my diffuser or roller bottle (like I can’t keep my eyes open and fall asleep on the couch sleepy) are:

  1. Lavender, Cedarwood, & Orange
  2. Northern Lights Black Spruce & Orange

Pretty much orange mixed with anything on that list is amazing.

 

3. Routine/Ritual

 

You may the fact that babies need routine and schedules to thrive and sleep! Well, us adults need a routine as well, just like babies!

Whether it is as elaborate as taking an epsom salt bath, massaging essential oils all over, sipping tea, and doing a face mask and facial massage, or just as simple as taking a shower the same time every night and setting up your essential oil diffuser …  create a ritual!

My ritual is always the same: Shower, apple cider vinegar tea, body butter massage with magnesium spray, my skincare routine (face serum massage), setup my oils diffuser, sleep mask, crawl in bed! I am a great sleeper, and it wasn’t always like that!

 

4. Manage Your Circadian Rhythm

Create an ambiance in the evening of low light, and get plenty of night sunlight during the day!

Our time in the sun or light (photo period), and the intensity of light exposure are the prime factors that determine our metabolic processes, especially our sleep patterns.

Bright light keeps us awake by blunting production of melatonin (primary neurotransmitter involved in sleep initiation), so it is important to turn off the lights a few hours before bed and allow that natural circadian rhythm to become established.

Blue light from TV, phones, computers, iPads, etc will disrupt this as well. I know how hard it is to not use electronics in the evening, so I purchased a pair of blue blocker sunglasses which I talked about a few weeks ago! They definitely take getting used to and adjusting to. I rarely bring my laptop in bed to work, but when I do I notice I have a VERY hard time falling asleep, which is so weird and rare for me anymore! When I use my blublockers , I’ve had no issue falling asleep. In fact, my eyes get pretty sleepy while I wear them.

5. Avoid Heavy Meals in the Evening

If you have issues sleeping, try eating more throughout the day so that you can have a lighter dinner. Digestion takes work, and if you are eating shortly before bed, or ate a big meal a couple of hours before, your body is working to digest that food, which is a lot of work for your body to do when you are supposed to be in you deepest resting state!

Late-night heavy eating can also spike insulin levels, cause bloating, and cause acid reflux.

Stop eating at least 2 hours before bed, and keep it light and healthy!

 

I hope everyone has a great weekend! I plan to attend the opening of Sit Meditation Space on Saturday after I teach at Sol, then have a PACKED day on Mother’s Day with our families! What are you up to?

Talk Soon!

XO

-Laury

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4 Comments

  • Reply jen

    I want to know more about your night time routine! What apple cider vinegar tea? And body butter and spray? I’m looking to create a routine for myself (that’s not fall asleep on couch and drag self to bed at 2am)

    May 12, 2017 at 6:40 pm
    • Reply lauryraiken@gmail.com

      Yes I should have elaborated, lol. The ACV tea is basically a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s) and hot water. You can always add a touch of honey to make it more palatable, but I ind of trained my tastebuds over time to not use it. Magnesium spray is AMAZING, I am going to probably feature it soon, but I couldn’t live without it during my pregnancies. It is a mineral our body lacks and can really help with sleep. It also got rid of leg cramps. https://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Minerals-Magnesium-Oil-Spray/dp/B001AD0HL8/ref=sr_1_2_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1494681249&sr=8-2&keywords=ancient+minerals+magnesium+spray

      and the body butter, it;s basically my glow butter recipe I posted a week or so ago, but I make some without bronzer in it and add different essential oils! I am playing with some other versions too, but it is easy to make! I also love it with cocoa butter (just replace half the shea for cocoa) XO

      May 13, 2017 at 9:16 am
  • Reply Sarah @ The Fit Niche

    Great tips!! I actually bought lavender oil a while ago and never really used it – I will try this at night. With a one year old who still doesn’t sleep through the night, I could use all the help I can get for a good night’s rest!! 🙂

    May 15, 2017 at 8:27 am
    • Reply lauryraiken@gmail.com

      Hi, Sarah! Yes definitely try it and let me know how it goes! I hear yah about the baby, it is NOT easy at all when they don’t sleep through the night. I need lots of sleep so that made it hard for me to function when my kids weren’t sleeping well!

      May 15, 2017 at 1:16 pm

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