I'm not terribly religious, but I've always appreciated the Lenten season as a time to reflect and look at way to improve oneself, one's life. I like the structure of 40 days to try something, create better habits, or even just contemplate where you're going and how that matches up with where you'd like to be.
This year, I want to work on improving my sleep hygiene. For as long as I can remember, I've had problems sleeping soundly at night. I often wake up multiple times and find myself far from rested in the morning. I've worked hard to live healthier since my run-in with a parotid gland tumor, including losing weight with the support of fellow blogger Gwynspiration and other friends and family. It hasn't been easy, but I've made some progress, so onward and upward, right?
So, to add to my healthy habits, it's time to tackle sleep. And I mean sleep without the help of medications, which I've relied on too often to help me catch some zzz's. Here's my plan so far to improve my sleep hygiene- habits to help me get better sleep.
1. Stop using computers, phones, etc. at least an hour before going to bed. I've read in many sources that the light transmitted from all of our fancy devices messes with your brain's ability to relax and fall asleep. I also don't need to be worrying about someone's passive aggressive Facebook status as I'm trying to snooze. I had enough of my own ridiculous thoughts running through my head.
2. Keep a bedtime similar throughout the week. I've also read that keeping a consistent sleep schedule helps with sleeping better. This one isn't typically too difficult for me, as I'm usually an early bird, even on weekends, but Daylight Savings Time isn't helping matters. This will also be interesting as I have an epic battle with jet lag when I go to London next month.
3. Meditate once a day. I've wanted to try meditation for a while now, having done some through yoga classes and workshops, as well as hearing about its benefits through many different sources. Part of the problem I think I have with sleep is that I have a very busy mind. Like thoughts and worries running through my head constantly. I need help to calm it down and get rid of some of the noise. Plus, I really need to put to use the purple meditation cushion I got for my birthday. I've heard recommendations that you should meditate twice a day, but I figure I can start slowly and build up from here.
4. Try some non-medication remedies. I just read about oil pulling on Ups and Downs of a Yoga Mom and tried it yesterday. Basically you swish around coconut oil in your mouth to get rid of toxins built-up in your body. While it was a little weird having the solid oil melt in your mouth, this was very doable and I definitely want to keep trying it to see if I notice any benefits. I also recently read in Yoga Journal that tart cherries can help your body naturally generate melatonin which naturally can help with sleep. Tart cherry juice is sold at Trader Joe's, so that's been an easy thing to add to my bedtime routine as well.
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