Soothe Your Senses
Your senses play an integral role to your day. We can feel if our clothes are dirty or clean, we can feel the cloth irritate our skin making us itchy or anxious. We shiver when we are cold and sweat when we are hot. Our tummies growl and sometimes give us that awful hollow feeling when we have not eaten. Loud noises such as music, tv or even neighbours can put us on edge. Sometimes scary movies linger in the shadows of our mind making us feel watched or haunted. Other times it is the electronic marvels that marvel us into high stress and anxiety like your cell, blackberry, ipod, laptop (if you have a 10min email check like me turned on 24/7), and not to forget the tv and radio/docking station.
All of this, at least for myself, drives me crazy! I once knew a guy who everyday at 4:00pm, turned off his phone, his laptop and refused to look at the clock unless he was outside of his home. His reasoning was that technology including deadlines, people and tweets was ruling his life. He was stressed out enough as it was, was it too much to ask to have 6hrs before bed without being disturbed by technology? I myself am well against the invention of the phone. My work is very social and I feel being inturrupted in my home at night when I have enough worries about life let alone sleep, now I have to accomodate someone else because they’re a chatty cathy? Well, call me a bitter betty, but I think people are way too demanding and my mental and physical health outweighs anyone else and their social needs. I do take phone calls from the odd friend or colleague who I know will call with prupose and without drama and chaos. This I do not mind as much. Even my twitter is geared specifically for sleep only!
So for those of us who are taking deep breaths in life as opposed to be calm, cool and collective, why are we taking these things to bed with us? Why are we disturbing our senses for the “royal they”, or social demands? (Note: “Royal They” is a Social Work expression referring to the people in our lives who run our lives by running our conscience.- for example: parental figures, teachers, friends, the popular kids, peer pressure, social norms, etc…)
We need to value our sleep as much as and for a lot of us, even more* than our daylight hours. We need to make time during the day to do laundry and cleaning so our nights can be clean and fresh. We need to make time to make wholesome meals and feed ourselves so we are not waking up to hunger pains or sugar lows/highs. It has more to do with prioritizing and placing value on our mental/physical health than anything else.
Our senses play out while we sleep affecting our dreams and sleep cycles. So is not important to soothe them and meet our basic needs to ensure a good nights rest at least? Sometimes even without actual sleep we can find rest by practicing relaxation.
My methods of relaxation:
Clean sheets, clean bed, clean bedroom and bathroom. De-clutterizing can de-stress us making our nights more laid back in turn allowing us to be more relaxed as opposed to on edge.
I always make sure my bedroom is warm (not hot) when I go to bed) and a personal preference is having it cooler as the night progresses. I find cool air (not cold) is easier to breath and more soothing at night, especially if I do wake up in a terror, to get back to sleep. I personally prefer yoga wear/lounge wear as pajamas as opposed to actual bedtime attire. I know I have said this before but this has made a 40% difference in my sleep. I find a light cotton, flowing and airy is the best. This way if you sweat at night, it can easily dry and you’re not woken in a puddle. Also this helps regulate my body temperature.
Having some hot tea or hot chocolate helps me to be nice and warm and toasty before bed but by the time I am asleep I am adjusting to the heat in the room fading into a cooler temp. I would advise not to have anything with alcohol, high in sugar like juice or hot chocolate made from syrups with high sugar content. This is the same for foods, things like meat, and some dairy products can be harder on your body to digest and takes more energy. If I’m hungry before bed I will snack on something citrus, like pineapple, orange or grapefruit or something else like a pear or yoghurt. You may want to try having a glass of milk (warm or cool) and you may be surprised how this can fill you up and take the edge off your hunger. I know cow’s milk has a lot of sugar in it, as opposed to some other soy products (which I drink), so you may want to weigh the sugar content against the odds of having a sugar high while trying to get to sleep. This is the same for yoghurt, don’t eat 20grams of sugar before bed if you can help it, anywhere between 1-7 should be alright.
When evening comes, everything slows down in my home. The music is turned down, the tv is low. Once the night outside is black the fireplace goes on, the lights dim and I preapre myself for the bedtime stages that are to follow. Remember that your body can not produce melotonin when it is light outside. Melontonin is something that is only cued to produce once it is dark. This is why having a night shade or eye shade can be so beneficial. For those who produce low amounts of melontonin it helps them to create more so they can have a deeper sleep and stay asleep longer. Once morning comes, your body will stop producing the melotonin. Note: you can pick up melotonin at your drugstore which is a natural way of helping to produce more. Also, I would not recommend working out or doing anything like cleaning or partying at night. It is important that cognitively and for your muscle memory that your body understands that this is quiet time and it can relax and melt away all the stress of the day. You’re teaching your body it is safe to relax and be worry free.