BEAUTYCALYPSE

August: THE Month To Develop A Healthy Sleep Routine | Healthy Sleep Quest #6

I admit: sleeping is one of my fave things to do. Sleep is my answer to stress. If you’re not as lucky, August is THE perfect month for some sleep school!

Sleep is the new black

Sleep advocates are finally being heard: backed by scientists and researchers who blame poor sleep habits for nearly every disease under the sun, sleep is THE talk of the town and THE miraculous remedy to make us slim, beautiful, bright and roundabout our better selves.
Can we agree that sleep is great? Probably. But what are you to do, if you are not getting enough sleep?

If you’ve been around here for some time, you might remember my (quite comprehensive) post about 7 deadly sins of losing sleep, 13 foods that enhance healthy sleep and an everyday countdown to a good night’s sleep. If you’ve missed it or if you can’t remember, check it out now to understand what I’ll be talking about. I’ll wait.clock-without-handsBack again? Great!
Let’s begin.

August: The Easiest Month of the Entire Year

In Europe, where summer holiday time begins in July and runs until late in September, and even in the US and Canada, August is really the sweetheart of all months.
The days are still long, the weather is mostly great and sunny while the nights start getting pleasantly cooler… And even if you are not off duty yourself in August, the general relaxed mood is really there and so different. Business schedules are generally less frantic, life is a bit slower. August ist downtempo. If I had a smell to associate with August, then it would be – of course – lavender.lavender-augustBut whether or not you’re chilling out for three luxurious weeks in the Mediterranean, let’s ALL have a nice chunk of that relaxation cake that is August!

You Are Accepted at the August Sleep School!

1. Get your sleep basics – be happily busy.

Embrace the last summer days and infuse them with some appropriate action – enjoy a dance, a round of beach volleyball, an impromptu garden BBQ with friends. Let the August days be filled with that specific something to give you happiness and to keep you busy with enjoyable activities. Most importantly, don’t just sit inside or outside for that matter. Our bodies are made for movement, not for sitting down.

2. And now, on to boarding school. What?

As you remember from my earlier post linked above and as you probably know yourself anyway, research suggests that we have 7 to 7.5 hours of sleep every night.
Our bodies are also programmed to have a routine, which means ideal bedtime is same time each night.
What sounds like a horrible throwback to boarding school, makes a lot of sense: all the complicated, intertwined biochemical processes in our bodies need time. And so you’ll sleep much better going to bed at the same time every night for 7, 8 hours than if you’d go to sleep at different times and slept in until noon. Be kind to yourself with everything else, but show up here.

3. Lesson One: be your own overnight guest

Remember the first point? Be happily busy.
Let’s transfer this feeling to your sleeping time. Look forward to it. Have nice bed linen, tidy up your bedroom – the less cluttered it is, the better –, in fact, prepare the bedroom as beautifully as if for a dear overnight guest.
Have a nice glass of water and just a few fresh flowers if you’re not allergic of course. Pick your favourite pajamas or sleeping shirt/dress. Choose a stunningly beautiful, inspirational photo book as your bedtime reading. Brief: have fun preparing your bedtime and have something pleasant, yet not too exciting, to look forward to.

4. Lesson Two: plan it backwards

Here I refer to the countdown I’ve introduced in my earlier post. Here it is as a handy reminder again:

8 hours until bedtime: no more coffee, cola, black or green tea, brief, no coffeine
4 hours until bedtime: no booze, and now is the last time for a healthy snack
2-1 hours until bedtime: prepare the next day to enjoy the satisfaction and the relaxed safety of neat planning
1 hour to 30 minutes until bedtime: unwind – dim the lights, switch off your electronic devices, give yourself a signal ‘we’re entering sleep zone’.”

5. Lesson Five: to avoid at all costs

As I mentioned above, August is THE month to get your healthy sleep routine going and to make it a healthy habit for years to come.
While you enjoy the last summer month, do yourself a favour and avoid these at all costs, at least during next two weeks:
1. Irregular bedtime
2. Sleeping in on weekends – instead, rise and sing, honey. Enjoy the sunny mornings, September isn’t far ahead.
3. Going to bed worried
4. Reading/watching blood-curling thrillers, playing exciting video games
5. Alcohol in the evening
6. Coffeinated drinks in the afternoon
7. Warm bedroom

berlin-by-night-technikmuseumSWEET DREAMS TO YOU, ADVENTURERS… Zzz… 😉

P.S. Keen on more good habits?
Check out DON’T SKIP LUNCH and WEEKEND ADVOCATE for more happiness inspiration!

12 replies »

  1. I too am very fond of sleep so I am glad that there is evidence it’s good for us. I am lucky that mostly I sleep soundly for seven to eight hours and I don’t usually have difficulty nodding off. Thank you for your comprehensive guide to good sleep practices. 😉

    • You’re lucky, then! Also 7-8 hours seems the right amount of sleep, says science 🙂

      Nothing is more wicked than the evil cycle of “can’t sleep – get a med – can’t wake up – need a med – have side effects – need more meds”, I have seen that so often in my parents’ circle of friends.

  2. A pal works with a Sleep Doctor and I really need to read your post and follow advice. I made a semi resolution in the New Year to get to bed before midnight. It is now August and I’ve managed it a total of 3 times. I feel like a smoker who knows how bad it is yet carries on with their terrible habit.

    • It’s really like with any good habit: once you have ‘suffered’ through the first sessions, your body is so tahnkful, you get addicted to the good stuff – eating clean, or exercising, or enjoying your early bedtime (first with a book – but nothing too exciting! next with a meditation)

  3. Since we moved, we made a deal with each other that there would be no clothing, stray items, anything superfluous in the bedroom (it helps that we finally have a dressing) and you know what? It makes a huge difference! We both have been sleeping so much better. 🙂

  4. I adore going to bed. I love sleeping. My one small problem is that I don’t get there early enough. Well, it’s not really a problem because I still get a good sleep. I just think it would be better to get to bed before midnight and then wake up a little earlier than I do now.

    • I know exactly what you mean! My way out of this was going to bed as soon as I had the first signs of tiring, even if it was a silly time like nine in the evening, but I just would grab a book or put on an audio book or just meditate, and then – zzzz 🙂