There is absolutely no denying we live in a fast paced world that glorifies being busy 90% of the time. But, if we are all being honest, we notice how much of a toll that can take on many different aspects of our lives, especially our sleep.
Sleep is SO underrated. It is a vital part of our overall health and well being, yet it’s one of the first things we give up. Sleep helps us to rejuvenate, it helps strengthen your immune system, it helps combat inflammation in the body and it helps with concentration + productivity. If you aren’t getting enough sleep or you have irregular sleeping patterns it can have a massive impact on your mental health. Studies have shown people that struggle with sleep show higher rates of struggling with depression. (1)
Not getting enough sleep can also negatively impact your hormones, which in turn can leave you with a host of other problems.
Sleep is important and it’s crucial that you make the time to get at least 7-8 hours each night.
There are 4 stages of a sleep cycle:
Awake - This is obviously when you are just hopping into bed getting ready to fall asleep. You may also have certain periods during the night where you wake but you don’t always remember it.
Light Sleep - This is the second stage of your sleep cycle. It’s the stage that normally you will spend 3-4 hours in. Light sleep initiates your sleep cycle. You can expect muscle relaxation and a decrease in heart rate, breathing and body temperature.
Deep Sleep - This is the restorative part of your sleep cycle. During deep sleep your muscles will grow + repair and it’s harder to wake up from.
REM - This is an intricate part of your sleep cycle. REM sleep is where your imagination runs wild, you experience dreams, your heart rate increases and your body becomes immobile to ensure you don’t act on your dreams.
Each stage of our sleep cycles play an important role in ensuring we are well rested + rejuvenated for the next day.
I totally understand that everyone lives and leads different lives and lifestyles. This is why I wanted to create a blog post giving you the rituals + practices I swear by for a deeper sleep.
Let’s start off with something that is free and extremely easy to do.
Limit your screen time at least 30 - 60 minutes before bed - This one should just be a given but we have such easy access to Netflix, youtube, instagram, pinterest, and any other social media platform. You name it and there is a platform for us to glue our eyes to. Reducing my screen time helps immensely for a couple of reasons. The first is that I’m not aimlessly scrolling and my mind doesn’t have as much time to wander before bed. The second is that exposure of blue light is terrible for our eyes. In order for our bodies to get into that sleepy state, it helps to reduce the amount of light we are seeing. I also find that reading the bible, reading a book or doing some journaling before bed allows my heart to settle before my slumber.
Did someone say sleepy tea? - As we know I am studying to become a clinical herbalist and naturally herbs are my go-to for literally everything, including sleep. They are such a gentle way to incorporate natural support for your bodies needs. My top 3 are chamomile, lavender and valerian root.
Chamomile is known to have amazing sleep effects on the body. It contains an antioxidant called apigenin which actually binds to specific receptors in your brain that may help promote sleep.
Lavender works as a sedative. Lavender interacts with neurotransmitter GABA to help calm the brain.
Valerian root is incredible for sleep. It also contains antioxidants, hesperidin and linarin, that help promote sedation.
I highly encourage you to speak with your health practitioner before introducing different herbs into your diet as there can be negative interactions with certain medications.
Sleep blend - We all know that I am a lover of essential oils and use them to support my body in all different ways. I have made the switch to revive essential oils because they are a company that I completely align with. Here are just a few reason why I choose revive:
They are 100% Pure Oils. Revive sources their natural ingredients from all over the world ensuring you get the best quality of oil.
They are sustainably sourced and the quality of ingredients are sourced ethically.
They conduct lab testing. If a plant or oil doesn’t meet the quality standards, revive won’t use it.
They are community focussed. They like to support family owned farms and I quote from their website…“people whose lives are tied closely to the land”.
They are never tested on animals.
They distill the oils at lower temperatures to ensure the benefits of the plant are preserved.
This is the recipe for my tried and true sleep blend.
You will need a 10mL glass roller. You can find them on amazon or buy them from your local health food store.
r e c i p e :
5 drops of cedar wood
5 drops of lavender
5 drops of frankincense
5 drops vetiver
Top the rest of your roller with carrier oil of choice. I used wildflower harvest rosehip oil last time.
I rub this blend on the bottom of my feet, behind my ears and under my nose before I go to bed every single night and trust me when I say this stuff works!
Revive oils are extremely affordable! A 10mL bottle of cedar wood costs $8, a bottle of 10mL lavender costs $9, a bottle of 10mL frankincense costs $18 and a bottle of 10mL vetiver costs $17. (These are US prices).
A full disclosure: I am affiliated with Revive oils. I personally love this brand and completely align with everything their company stands for. I want to continue to share their products with this community and give you fun tips on how you can be incorporating oils into your life.
You can shop Revive products using my link here.
If you use the code BETHANY10 new customers will receive 10% off their first order and 15% off if you spend over $100USD.
Ando mat - I am super excited for this portion of the blog because I am collaborating with an incredible company based in Ireland that create these beautiful acupressure mats.
I totally understand if you’ve never heard of an acupressure mat before, so let me take some time breaking down what they are, how to use them, their amazing benefits and the materials they are made out of.
Ando mats are made from 100% thick cotton material and plant based Eco foam. While the acupressure points are made from non toxic and non allergenic materials. The Ando mat contains over 6000 acupressure points and the acupressure neck pillow contains around 2000.
Acupressure is a form of alternative medicine and can be used to help balance and restore the body to it’s natural state of being.
The Ando mat has so many beautiful benefits that can aid your body in a completely natural way.
Benefits from the Ando mat website:
STRESS RELIEF - By lying back onto the Ando Mat it simulates the ancient practice of lying on a bed of nails. The spikes trigger the release of the hormone oxytocin into the bloodstream instantly relieving stress and generating a feeling of calmness and wellbeing.
PAIN RELIEF - Mimicking the healing concept of an acupressure treatment, the Ando Mat releases endorphins that block pain, relax your muscles and reduce tension to replenish your body with energy.
IMPROVED SLEEP QUALITY - The Ando Mat helps you fall asleep quickly and naturally, easing you into a deep, restorative and refreshing sleep, so you wake up thoroughly refreshed in the morning to start your day.
MUSCLE RELIEF - The acupressure points also work to stimulate and improve blood circulation. As a result, it promotes increased energy as well as a faster recovery of overworked muscles. This is similar to how a foam roller works!
I have personally been incorporating this sweet little practice of using my Andomat into my night routine about 10 - 15 minutes before I jump into bed. I simply roll it out on the floor and lay on it. My shoulders come to the top of the mat. I always use my neck pillow too.
You can also lay on your stomach to help stimulate digestion, you can stand on it to incorporate some reflexology benefits or you can sit up with your legs out to help with lymphatic drainage. There are so many ways you can use this mat and it’s extremely beneficial for your overall wellbeing!
I recommend wearing a thin layer to begin with until you are used to the needle sensation on the targeted area. I also recommend you incorporate this practice into your routine EVERYDAY. In order to see any kind of results you need to be consistent.
I have personally found using this acupressure mat to be such a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. Laying on my Ando mat allows my body to settle and I feel nothing but calm for those 10 - 15 minutes. Because I am so relaxed, I have found that it helps with my sleep too. I truly can’t recommend this product enough.
Keep in mind that the first few seconds lying on the mat might be a little uncomfortable, but trust me when I say this works and it feels incredible.
You can shop Ando mats using this link and for 10% off your mat use the code: Bethany10
Again, a full disclosure that I am affiliated with this company. I 100% stand by the product they sell and would not be sharing with this community if it didn't work.
Well, there you have it friends, a few of the practices and rituals I swear by for a dreamier sleep. I would absolutely love to know if you end up incorporating any or all of these things into your routines.
Let me know in the comments below something you learned from this post. I love interacting and getting to know this community more.
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Together, Let's flourish, lovely.