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  • pjyoungdpt

How to Get Better Sleep: The Foundation for Health and Happiness

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

Woman of color sleeping on her stomach

It seems to be common practice for many of us to push through our days due to over commitment and the many needs of other people in our lives. The problem is that the well of energy necessary to to address all of these situations will run dry if it is not replenished. Each of us only has so much to give before we risk falling apart as we drag ourselves through our days exhausted and depleted. The most challenging part confronts us when we then get sick or develop pain or an injury. The body cries out. Boundaries that keep our emotional/ physical/ spiritual bank account filled up are essential. Yes, each of us may live under very different circumstances----some have more family support or resources. However, I have noticed that regardless of these factors, there are specific behaviors that certain women seem to master to ensure they fuel their inner reserves and enhance their well being. The first basic daily need is sleep hygiene. Specifically, getting to bed or at least in your room reading/ relaxing with lights out by 9/10pm. You see staying up late because "it's the only time I get to myself" ends up ruining your sleep cycle and your cortisol levels. The next day, you feel cranky, and end up drinking too much caffeine and grabbing that sugary treat to "stay awake". You may also notice your back pain is back or your headaches have returned. Your period may be more intense or your menopause symptoms are more challenging. That stressful day then leads to another lousy sleep that night.....and the cycle continues. Many of us know the feeling of wired and tired----so exhausted but you can't sleep well. Make yourself a nightly bedtime routine.....yes even if you have little ones. It teaches them, by example, how important and self- loving a sweet night time ritual can be. My daughter used to love to spray her pillow and her room with a light lavender spray and read her favorite stories. Then there was a song or two when the lights went out. My son loved his rain sounds tape after we finished stories as it lulled him to sleep. For you, it is important to set a bed time. It's not when "everything is done". You will honestly get more done during daylight hours when you have more energy and a routine set up that honors your basic biological needs. When your night time shift begins consider taking a bath or a shower or just washing your face with a steamy wash cloth and some essential oil. Change into some comfy pajamas and spend 5 minutes doing deep breathing/ meditation/ prayer. What feels right for you? If you can get up before children or at a set time before work to take care of yourself, you can create a better sleep rhythm and energy restoration than if you stay up into the wee hours getting that second wind! Yes, it is not easy for some of us to focus on this ritual. I am sharing it because I see lack of sleep as being the common underlying factor in women who have chronic pain, stress, inflammation, and weight gain. Your body needs good, deep sleep. It is absolutely essential to your health and peace of mind...and can change how you meet the world each day.


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