On a scale of zero to ten, how would you rate your sleep? Zero being, ummmm, what is sleep? I don’t get much of that around here. Ten being, oh my word, it’s glorious. I sleep like a baby. If you are lacking in the sleep department, where are you struggling? Is it hard to fall asleep because your mind is racing with so many thoughts? Do you wake up in the middle of the night and have a hard time falling back asleep? Do you toss and turn through the night, which leaves you feeling exhausted the next day? No matter where you fall on the “how’s your sleep” scale, there are always ways to improve this area of our lives.
If you would have asked me to rate mine and Jer’s sleep two years ago, I would have told you it was pretty good, maybe a 7 or 8. Little did I know, there was major room for improvement. We had a wake-up call in August 2021. (Think about that year and all that was going on revolving around sickness.) Long story short, Jer got sick and was hospitalized for 8 days, and you better believe it rocked my world. The month he got sick, we had a few stressful situations going down. We were in the middle of moving, and we also had a drastic change in our business. This change had us in a lot of late-night and early-morning meetings. When we finally were able to get some rest, it wasn’t the best quality due to all the stress we were under.
I knew enough about sleep and the immune system to know the lack of sleep leading up to Jer’s sickness didn’t help his situation. If I were to be truthful, I had a touch of guilt I had to process and release. When Jer came home from the hospital, we began working with a health coach. Man, oh man, it was a game-changer. The first area we addressed, you guessed it, SLEEP. If we wanted to improve our immune systems, we needed to get serious. We have been laser-focused on this one area of our lives for over a year now. I can’t think of one single day we haven’t made intentional decisions that revolve around sleep. It’s a non-negotiable in our lives. We have set boundaries to protect one of the best things you can do for your body, give it good quality rest.
Jeremiah and I sat down recently and listed out all the ways we are mindful and intentional with our sleep. I want to share them with you today. Grab a notebook and pen, you are going to want to write these down.
Measure Your Sleep Each Night
You don’t know what you don’t know. A step in the right direction is to know how much sleep you get each night. What time do you go to bed? What time do you wake up? You want to be getting around 7 to 9 hours of sleep. We shoot for 8, and give ourselves high fives for achieving a little over 7.
Our health coach had us become way more strategic with measuring sleep. We began wearing these little contraptions called a WHOOP Band, and we are officially obsessed. I share the full scope of the bands in the post Whoop Whoop For The WHOOP Band. You have GOT to check it out. I even share how you can get one for free. Score. If you want to see what we measure and look at daily regarding sleep, I write about it in Tracking Sleep With The Whoop Band.
We have officially analyzed our sleep daily for over a year now. We do not miss a single day of reviewing our data. It’s part of our routine and conversations. I can’t stress enough, measuring our sleep with these bands has been the number one way to keep us focused and dialed into what our body needs regarding sleep.
Be Mindful About Sleep Throughout Your Day
When do you begin thinking about sleep each day? Is it after a long day? When it begins getting dark outside? Maybe it’s when you start yawning and you are super tired. For me personally, I didn’t think about my sleep, well, until it was time FOR sleep. Just keeping it real. Now I think about sleep from the minute I wake up and continue to be mindful throughout the day. No, I don’t obsess about sleep, but I do work at setting the stage for good quality sleep throughout my day. Let me share a few ways to be mindful during the day.
- Develop a consistent wake time every morning. This will help your body get into a natural flow and rhythm. Set your time, then set your alarm clock. High five.
- Right when you wake up, start the day by opening all curtains and blinds in your house to allow natural light to shine through. Bonus points if you get outside and soak in the sunlight, and double bonus points if you gaze at the sunrise. This is setting your body up for the correct wake/sleep cycles it needs for good restorative rest.
- If you have a relationship with caffeine and you aren’t ready to break up with it quite yet, be sure to cut it off around lunchtime. Set some boundaries. You’ve got this.
- Increase movement and exercise throughout the day. This is setting the stage for a night of good quality sleep.
- Fight the urge to get work done in your bedroom. Many people are working from home now, and it’s so easy to allow our bedroom to be our office. Move that on over to the kitchen, or living room, or find a devoted office space in your house. Allow your bedroom to be a place of rest.
- Meditate day and night. It says it in the Bible. Find some time during the day, especially in times you experience high amounts of stress, to stop, relax, breathe, and meditate. Find specific verses that speak to you and think about them.
Prepare Your Night For Sleep
It’s time to kick up the intentional level a notch as it gets closer to bedtime. What if you focused more on relaxing, rather than how much more you can squeeze in the day? I know, I know, this is difficult. You only have so many more hours left in the day and things must get crossed off your list. Keeping your body on overdrive up to bedtime isn’t setting yourself up for a restful night. If you have a hard time falling asleep because your mind is racing, you really, really, REALLY need to be intentional with the next things I’m about to share with you. You’ve got this. I believe in you.
- Go outside and look at the sunset. Yep. Just like you were intentional with seeing the sunrise, do the same to close out the day with the sunset. Remember, this is helping your body get in the normal sleep cycles.
- Adjust the lights in your house as it gets closer to bedtime. I begin doing this 3 hours before we go to sleep. Go around and close your blinds, pull the curtains, turn off lights or dim them. This is a perfect way to set the tone and mood for rest.
- Have a cup of hot chamomile tea or other herbal tea that promotes a restful night of sleep. Let’s be real here. You can’t do this too close to bedtime or you will have a full bladder that needs tending to in the middle of the night. Keep that in mind regarding anything you are drinking before you drift off to sleep.
- Find a notebook and mind dump your to-do list for the next day. This frees up your mind as you drift off to sleep. You aren’t having to remember and think on all you have to do. You have it written down to tackle when you wake the next day.
- Work, food, and blue light. Kick these to the curb as bedtime approaches. Our health coach says 3,2,1. No food three hours before bedtime. No work two hours before bedtime. Finally, no blue light one hour before bedtime. I choose to cut these all out at the three-hour benchmark.
- Have a good laugh. We find a lighthearted and funny t.v. series, with short episodes, and watch a couple before bedtime. This is typically within the three-hour mark, so I use blue light blocker glasses. I wear prescription glasses, which means I need to use these to go over my regular glasses. They are super hot and sexy.
- Have a specific time you go to bed each night, just like you have a set time to wake up. Keeping this window of time consistent helps you with the quality of your sleep.
Prepare Your Bedroom For Sleep
Your bedroom is where you spend a good portion of your life. Seriously. You more than likely will spend over 100 days out of the year sleeping. I think it’s important to pay attention to the details revolving around your bedroom. Let’s discuss these, shall we?
- Declutter, declutter, declutter. Your bedroom needs to be a peaceful haven. Clutter makes most people feel overwhelmed and claustrophobic. Let’s make sure you are at peace when you enter your bedroom, so give it a little TLC.
- Pay attention to the temperature of your room. If it’s a hot inferno, chances are, you won’t sleep very well. Knock that temperature down a few degrees and snuggle up under those covers. Your sleep will thank you.
- I know you may love a good nightlight, but would it break your heart if you parted ways? We make sure our room is pitch dark. I’m talking, not even a flicker of a light to be seen. If you are unable to make this happen, invest in a good sleep mask. It will change your life. I am absolutely, 100% obsessed with this sleep mask. If you are in the market for one, please, for the love, don’t waste your money on any sleep mask but this one.
- What happens when outside noise keeps you awake? Have no fear, break out the white/pink noise. It’s kind of ironic, right? You use noise to block noise. Hilarious, but it works. There are so many options to choose from to bring this into your room. There are apps on your phone, playlists on Spotify, and even items you can purchase devoted to white noise. We are HUGE Hatch fans around here. We have this one that sits on my nightstand, and we have this small one for the grandbabies in the room where they nap or sleep if they spend the night. Worth every penny.
- Essential oils are great to diffuse or spray on your sheets and pillow to promote a restful night of sleep. Lavender is a great one to begin using in your nightly routine. So calming.
- Let’s talk blankets. There is nothing like a good cozy blanket. Weighted blankets and cooling blankets are great items to have on hand. I love this weighted blanket when I’m feeling anxious or stressed. It is very calming. This cooling blanket has come in handy when traveling if we can’t get the room temperature cool enough. It’s a game-changer.
Can you believe there are so many ways to be mindful and intentional with your sleep? There are other things we didn’t discuss above, like supplements, warm Epsom salt baths, warm showers, even sex can improve your sleep. Stick around here long enough and we will make sure these are all covered. If you aren’t on THE LIST, you know, the email list that’s like no other email list. You need to head right on over and correct that situation. We want to keep you in the know about all the fun things happening around here. Fun AND educational. If you know of any friends who are dealing with sleep troubles, shoot them a link to this post. We would love to help them find ways to improve their quality of rest.
What are ways you are intentional with your sleep? Any listed above? We would love for you to share it was us in the comments. Oh, and wishing you the best sleep ever tonight. Game on.