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Lately, it feels like life is just a cycle of work, eat, write, sleep, repeat. The fourth quarter of the year is our busiest time at work meaning I’m logging overtime every week, but somehow I thought it would be a good idea to do this Blogtober thing in the midst of the crazy season….hmm. I haven’t missed a day of blogging yet, but it’s definitely been hard to find the time to write each day! All this to say, I often end up skimping on sleep and definitely pay the price the next day in my lack of focus and forgetfulness so I figured this would probably be a relevant topic for some of you as well. This TED talk speaks to the importance of sleep in the cleaning functions of the glymphatic system. A good reminder of just how important it is not to neglect good sleeping habits.
That’s all well and good, but what if you do go to bed at a decent hour but struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep? I used to sleep like a baby, but in recent years I’ve dealt with some neck pain and also cortisol issues that have negatively affected my sleep. A few things have helped me with sleep, but I STILL neglect them a lot of times (You can lead a horse to water but can’t make him drink, right?) Anyway, here are the things that help me the most when I actually put them into practice!
More than half of the population is deficient, so chances are you might be lacking in this crucial mineral. It is instrumental in so many functions of the body, but most notably as related to sleep, relaxation and relieving muscle tension. If you’re like me and work at a desk job, using either some topical Magnesium spray or drink mix can be huge in helping your poor tensed up muscles relax after a long day of sitting and straining. An added benefit is that Magnesium has also been shown to help with depression and headaches.
Blue Light Blocking Glasses
If you’re on electronic devices near bedtime, these Swannies are a lifesaver. Exposure to the blue light that smartphones, computers and TV’s emit sends signals to your brain that will keep you from shutting down to be able to sleep, so wearing these glasses helps to prevent your Circadian rhythms from being disrupted. I like wearing them for travel as well since I’m often watching electronics during long airplane journeys.
My whole life until now, I’ve been a cheapskate when it comes to mattresses. I was skeptical that any mattress could make much of a difference in my sleep so I didn’t want to spend much when it was time for us to get a new one when we recently moved. Boy, was I mistaken! My husband did some research and we ended up getting a Dreamcloud mattress which is a hybrid of foam and traditional coil mattress. It gets shipped to you in a fairly reasonably sized box, and then it expands once you unpack it. Now that I’ve experienced the gloriously cushioned feel of this hybrid, I don’t know how I ever slept on anything else. It’s firm enough that I don’t feel much of anything when the dog jumps up or when Gabe gets into his side of the bed which is a bonus. The memory foam molds to your body so that there aren’t any pressure points like with traditional mattresses. It’s definitely not cheap, but if you start at Rakuten, you’ll receive 6% cash back.
So there you have it – those are my top 3 sleep hacks, but here are a few other things you can look into if you’re struggling to sleep:
Try getting a sleep study to see if you might be suffering from sleep apnea. This is basically when you stop breathing during the night and it wakes you up. Severe cases often require the use of a c-pap machine, but sometimes losing weight or other lifestyle changes can eliminate the problem.
Avoid consuming food with excitotoxins like MSG. This can contribute to things like restless leg syndrome. I can’t think of many things that I hate more than having restless legs when trying to sleep. Ugh!
For travel, give this pillow a try. Most of them don’t work for me, but this one actually gave me the right amount of neck support. It looks weird, but it actually feels really comfortable.
Get your Cortisol levels checked. EverlyWell offers at-home hormone tests of you can ask your physician to order a DUTCH Test. That’s the test I had done which provided me with the information I needed to normalize my Cortisol levels. Gamechanger!
Try using full-spectrum hemp oil to relax. Ned is my brand of choice and is actually the only brand that has worked for me to help with flight anxiety as well.
What helps you relax and get a good night’s rest? Let me know your tips in the comments!
Thanks for reading.