Ahhhh! What a difference a good night’s sleep makes! The quality of our sleep significantly impacts the quality of our day and our energy levels! Even the way in which you awake can shift the whole mood of your day or your energy level. But what determines a good night’s rest? 8 hours? No interruptions? Dreamless sleep? Awaking before the alarm? Awaking after the sun? There are many considerations but to me, the most important is how you feel when you wake up.
Do you feel rested and ready to start your day with a positive outlook?
Look back on the first 5-10 minutes after awaking…Were you ready to get out of bed? Where you excited about what today may bring? These first few minutes of the day can dramatically shift our general mood throughout the day.
There are a few ways to improve this time.
1. Be sure to get enough sleep. Usually between 7-10 hours is best but it will vary depending on the person, their day, their stress and exercise levels. Go to bed early enough that you get the about that you need.
2. Minimal interruptions. Try not to drink too much before bed so you don’t have to awake in the middle of the night. If you can, turn the phone off, or at least to airplane or silent mode.
3. Set an alarm that is enjoyable to wake up to. Try a song you enjoy or a sound that doesn’t make you jump out of your skin, but does wake you up.
4. Rest the mind before bed. It is better it avoid all “screens” for about at least a half hour before bed. The light can affect your circadian rhythm, which regulates organ function among other natural processes. You also want to be aware of emotional stimuli before bed. Watching the news, a horror film, or even Facebook can trigger stress, which the body then has to process while sleeping. Try having a shower, a cup of herbal tea, light reading, yoga or meditation instead.
5. Exercise during the day. During exercise the body to processes stress hormones (and out food) and the mind can processes thoughts. That way you aren’t doing your processing as you lay down for bed!
6. Dreams. We all dreams but we rarely remember them. Dreams are imaginings of the subconscious that often act out our thoughts, emotions and fears in a representative way. The last 10 minutes before you sleep and the first 10 min upon waking have the greatest ability to affect our subconscious mind. It is a magnificent time to work on affirmations/intentions, meditation and dream recognition.
Sleep improvement may not come “overnight.” It may take of few days before you see significant results, but waking up feeling refreshed and excited for the day is well worth it!