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By Lauren Roxburgh
Sleep is so essential for good health, vibrancy, and looking our best. Let’s face it, a well-rested body is a happy body, and that glow radiates from the inside out. That being said, sometimes getting sleep can be a real challenge. From work obligations, little ones at home, or other distractions and stress – that eight hours of sleep can seem like a distant dream.
But even though we will always have busy times in our lives, it’s important to do what we can to prioritize our sleep. It’s one of the most beneficial things we can do for our body, mind, and mood. And if you’re not sleeping well, all of that other hard work you put into your workout routines and healthy eating, won’t pay off as well since your body needs rest to recover, detox, and rejuvenate.
As a mom and a business owner, I know how challenging it can be to get the rest you need. Keep reading below for some of my go-to practices and tips for getting a better night’s sleep.
Give your phone, computer, iPads, and the TV a “curfew” every night (this is not just for your kids!). Turning off devices at least two hours before bed is ideal, and three is even better. Screens give off blue light, which can prevent the body from making the important hormone melatonin and disrupt your circadian rhythm.
To take things to the next level, try dimming the lights in your house to set the mood for a restful night’s sleep. If you have to be on your phone/computer for work or other reasons– be sure to wear a pair of blue light blocking glasses or amber-tinted glasses to help filter the light. Try using the time you were Netflixing or scrolling on Instagram to do something more intentional (and still relaxing) like connecting with a loved one, reading, journaling, or some other creative activity like knitting.
We accumulate a lot of tension throughout the day from stress, driving, sitting hunched over devices, or from an intense workout. Try spending a few minutes on movement medicine at night to relax the body, relieve tension, and calm the nervous system.
One of my favorite tools for using in the evenings is a foam roller since you can use it to help undo the day, relax, and work out any kinks or muscle soreness. My Body Sphere and Aligned Domes tools are also perfect for assisting you with self-massage and releasing tension in the body (check out my relaxing and stress-relieving sequences I designed for use with these tools in the Aligned Life Studio).
Journaling is a wonderful tool since it can help you process events from the day and work through any emotions or experiences you’re going through. I encourage journaling before bed if you tend to have racing thoughts at night or feel like worry is keeping you up. Take some time to write out what’s bothering you, and oftentimes once you write it down, you can reframe the situation in a more positive light.
Another great practice is to try writing down 5 things you are grateful for before bed and see how quickly you shift into a more positive and relaxed state. Feeling positive and grateful will help you drift off to sleep even faster.
Magnesium is having a moment in the wellness world and for good reason — it can be so helpful when you’re struggling with sleep and stress. Magnesium is an important mineral that your body needs to relax and rest. Oftentimes in times of stress, our bodies become deficient in the mineral, which is why supplementing can help. It’s estimated that around 40% of the population is deficient in magnesium. I like taking Natural Calm before bed, but there are many forms of the mineral you can try. (Ask your doctor before taking one to see what dosage may be best for you and your needs.)
Another way to get a dose of magnesium before bed is by taking a warm bath with Epsom Salts. This will help soothe your sore muscles and help your body relax since the magnesium in the salt is absorbed through the skin.
Taking some time to focus on the breath and do deep breathing exercises is a great way to tell your body that it’s time to sleep. Many of us don’t breathe very deeply or from the diaphragm, which can contribute to the body being in a stressed state more often. Deep breathing is one of the quickest ways to activate the body’s “rest and digest” mode and take you out of the stress response, which, unfortunately, many of us stay stuck in.
Finally, try and remember how important sleep is for your health and prioritize it like you would your workout classes or healthy lunch. Don’t be hard on yourself when life gets in the way and you can’t get as much rest as you’d like. But, it only takes a few small tweaks into your evening routine to see such a huge difference in your sleep quality.
Lauren (Lo) Roxburgh is an international best-selling author, speaker, and wellness educator who is often dubbed “The Body Whisperer”. A board-certified Structural Integration practitioner with a degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, Lauren is known as an expert on all things fascia and body alignment.