SLEEP DEPRIVED? NOT FOR LONG.
Getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep each night is so important. Lack of sleep can act as a contributor to high blood pressure, obesity and other physical conditions.
We reached out to our Camp Reveille alumni (and good friends), Lisa Mercurio and Cindy Bressler from The Bedtime Network, for their expert advice on how to create a bedtime ritual to help us get more sleep! Here is what they had to say...
Most of us don’t get enough sleep and are desperate to know how we can get more.
Getting a good night’s sleep starts with recognizing bedtime as a longer than imagined period of the day. Many perceive bedtime as the moment they literally crawl under the covers, but we know that’s just not long enough. Sleep is the end game but to get there we need to give our mind and body the time to make the shift from daytime to bedtime. And so, the real secret to sleep lies in what you do before you get into bed. Whether you’re 2, 22, 42, 62 or 82, everyone needs a bedtime ritual.
We understand that creating and adhering to that ritual may seem overwhelming. So we would like to share our favorite bedtime rituals and bedtime tips. They’re very simple and just might help you help you and the ones you love to enjoy the best bedtime ever. Feel free to mix and match. The important point is to create a lasting bedtime ritual that brings you pleasure and peace. If you do your ritual nightly, over time it will signal your mind and body that’s it’s time for bed.
Bedtime Network’s nutritionist Gayle Reichler recommends cuddling up under a blanket with a warm drink as an enormously satisfying bedtime snack. Of course, when selecting evening beverages, you want to opt for something that is not high in caffeine. Warm milk and honey is the ideal bedtime drink. Not only is it delicious and comforting, milk contains the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to the brain chemical serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate your sleep cycle.
Bedtime Network’s fitness guru Elisabeth Halfpapp has also developed a unique sequence of stretches, called “Night Moves,” designed to transition the mind and body from daytime to bedtime. Just five minutes of simple stretching in the evening will help you release the tension often held in your neck and throughout your body. These stretches are simple and don’t require any equipment, so they are perfect to do both at home and while traveling.
Bedtime Network’s relationship expert, therapist Nyiri Grigorian comments, “Ever notice that your worst arguments with your kids, partner or spouse happen at bedtime?” She recommends that before engaging in a major argument you “allow some time to review and look at how you feel, even make some notes. Then, tuck your feelings away for the night. Issues that may begin a fight at night are better solved in the light of day.”
Bedtime Network’s sex therapist Miriam Baker recommends that we examine what is standing in the way of greater sexual satisfaction for us and our partner, adding that “sex at bedtimemay actually help you sleep.”
Bedtime Network interior designer Randy Florke recommends turning off your technology at bedtime. He (and we) believe that the only real way to power down for the evening is to let go of your cell phone and computer. While many of us feel we are unable to part with our devices, turning them off for the night is the only way for us to truly disconnect. “Don’t put a workstation in your bedroom. If space is really an issue and you have to have a desk for your laptop in your bedroom, put it away at night so that you don’t see it if you happen to get up to go to the bathroom.” No need to bring on the worry train if you awake at 3am!
Parents of college kids living away from home or people with elderly parents: we know the temptation to keep your cell phone on is great. If you have a land line, perhaps you can ask your kids to call you at that number if they really need you “after hours.” This way you can turn off your cell phone and avoid unnecessary distractions.
As for us, we are big fans of taking a warm shower with Dr. Bronner’s lavender soap before bed. It’s very relaxing and somehow when the shower is over even the most stressful of days doesn’t seem quite as bad. The combination of the warm water and the lavender scent definitely helps to make the transition.
We hope we have inspired you to create your own bedtime ritual. Let us know how it goes. And if you need a little support or guidance, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you.
Night, Night. Cindy Bressler and Lisa Mercurio Co-Founders, Bedtime Networkhttp://www.bedtimenetwork.com
P.S. We are also the co-creators of “Bedtime Beats – The Secret To Sleep,” the 60 to 80 beat-per-minute musical sleep solution. When used as the foundation for a bedtime ritual for 15 minutes nightly. Listening to Bedtime Beats each night will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.