Sleep, we won’t heal without it, or prosper without it, or even get through the day without it most times. Yet many of us try, believe we can, or are forced to because of insomnia, stress or a relentless schedule. But if we’re going to find the best new version of normal after our loss, it’s most definitely going to include sleep, so we need to learn how to make it a priority in our lives.

 

Sleep is as essential to life as food and water, and as important for our well-being as exercise, security, even love. During sleep, our brains stay remarkably active, removing toxins that build up while we’re awake, and enough sleep ensures that our brains function optimally during our waking hours. Sleep is largely responsible for enabling our neurons (nerve cells) to communicate with each other and without sleep, we can’t form or maintain the pathways in our brain that helps us learn and create new memories. It’s harder to concentrate and to respond quickly without sleep.

 

Sleep can literally change our perspective as drastically as night and day. The world looks very different through a sleepless lens than through a mind and body that’s had enough rest. If we’re not already, there are a few things we can do in the evening, morning and even throughout our day, to prepare ourselves for a good night’s sleep.

 

Set a schedule

Going to sleep and waking up around the same times each day help our bodies regulate themselves and get on their own schedule. This way we’re not fighting it to go to sleep or wake up in the morning.

 

Don’t be on a screen

Numerous studies show that the LED lights in computer and phone screens are anti-sleep inducing. In fact, they keep the brain more alert so if we have trouble sleeping already, this one simple change could be a big help to us.

 

Create a sleep routine

Maybe we take a lukewarm bath before bed or simply shower. Maybe we read a chapter of a book, or the same book (Dr. Seuss’ Sleep Book is a great option) before going to sleep. Having a glass of wine is probably not the best idea since alcohol can be a deterrent to sound sleep. However, a cup of tea or warm honey milk can be soothing and calming.

 

On the reverse side, we can also have a regular morning routine and make sure to leave time for it before we have to do something the next day. When we know what to expect in the morning, it helps us feel more at ease and relaxed as we fall asleep.

 

 

Sleep affirmations

Just like with anything else in life, our minds start to believe what we continually tell them. If we’re having trouble sleeping and constantly nag our brains to shut off and our body to get tired, then more than likely the opposite will happen. We’ll lie awake frustrated and stressed because we’re still not asleep. Writing a simple affirmation such as the one below can help prepare our minds for a better night of rest.

 

“I’m excited to go to sleep. My body and mind are ready for rest. I’m going to sleep soundly and wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day. I’m thankful for sleep.”

 

Following this with a simple morning affirmation can be great too, and trains our mind-body to appreciate and even want more sleep.

 

“I slept great last night, that felt good. I’m thankful for good rest and am ready for my day.”

Or something like that.

 

These few simple actions can make a big difference in the amount and/or quality of sleep we get each night, which will, in turn, create only benefits in our daily lives.