As you know by now, I have rebranded from Just a Sprinkle of Jordan to Wholistic Nutrition by Jordan. The ‘wholistic’ part is partially referring to eating whole foods, but it’s also referring to measuring health holistically, meaning it’s not just nutrition that defines your health. There are other factors that like stress, relationships, sleep, and mindset that impact how you are feeling. Today we’re talking about something that I make an absolute priority in my life so I can show up as my best self every day. It’s a non-negotiable for me. Yep, we’re talking about sleep!
I don’t think I need to convince anyone how important it is to get enough quality sleep every night. Most people know how important it is and want to get more of it, but struggle to do so. I hear a range of issues such as struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep, getting up to pee multiple times, etc. I find that a lot of people don’t think they can change their sleep. I have heard many times, “I’m just not a good sleeper.” People think it’s something that won’t change about them. I on the other hand, truly believe that sleep quality and quantity, for the most part, is something you can change through some trial and error.
If you are someone that struggles to fall asleep, I want you to ask yourself what goes on in your mind when you’re laying in bed unable to fall asleep. Is your mind spiraling about things that have happened in the past? Are you thinking about all the things you have to do the next day? What do you do before bed to calm your mind and let your body know it’s time to shut down and recover? Regardless of what your sleep looks like, I would recommend the same thing: you need to optimize your bedtime routine.
Most people can’t just go to bed whenever they want and fall asleep right away. The majority of people need to take 1-1.5 hours before bed to wind down and tell their body it’s almost time for sleep. This can look different for everyone and it takes some playing around with. For me it looks like shutting my books at 8-8:30pm, lighting a candle, drinking a cup of beam dream powder tea, washing my face & brushing my teeth, reading for about 20 minutes in bed, and doing some meditation/breathing exercises. Then, I put my sleep mask on and I am 9 times out of 10 out like a light. I got a Hatch for Christmas which goes through the same routine each night for me: it turns on a reading light so I can read for 20 minutes, then it turns on a guided meditation, then some white noise for the remainder of the night. My WHOOP has also helped me optimize my sleep because it tracks the amount of actual sleep I got (not the amount of time I spent in bed!) and also the quality of my sleep. A good night of sleep almost always correlates to a high recovery score on WHOOP, clearer/sharper mind, and more energy which is why I continue to prioritize my bedtime routine. Now, that’s what works for me, but it may not be what’s best for you! Here are some things you can play around with:
- stop eating ~2 hours before you plan to go to bed so you’re not uncomfortable when going to bed or waking up often
- slow your water/fluid intake ~2 hours before bed so you’re not getting up to pee multiple times and disrupting your sleep
- MINIMIZE SCREENS! I know it’s hard... but it’s the best thing for your sleep!
- read before bed
- light a candle or turn on a diffuser with calming essential oils (lavender scent is calming)
- do some light stretching or mediation (while doing this, focus on clearing your mind by letting all your thoughts and worries leave you)
- wear blue light blocking glasses before bed
- make your room colder
- try to go to bed and wake up around the same times every day
- journaling or gratitude practices
- make your to-do list for the following day & getting all your stuff out and ready before bed (this can be helpful for people who often stress about what they have to do the next day while laying in bed)
Like many things in life, finding your ideal bedtime routine and maintaining it takes time and discipline. Though it may seem like you don’t have time to wind down an hour before bed, I guarantee if you try it, you will realize why it’s so important. When we get enough quality sleep, we are able to show up to our days with more energy and focus, we get sick less often, we feel good during workouts, the list goes on and on! I have found that prioritizing my sleep has changed my life more than any other aspect of health, and now I consider it a non-negotiable (most nights). What habits will you start to implement in order to optimize your bedtime routine?