How to Have the Best Sleep of Your Life
Written by Shannon Carroll
Why Sleep is Essential
Sleep is essential to our physical and emotional well being. It’s also important to our overall happiness and productivity. But many people struggle with getting enough quality sleep. In this series I will share my some of my top wellness and lifestyle tips for improving your sleep.
A few years ago, we did not value sleep. In fact, I thought if I could minimize the hours of sleep I got so I could instead be more productive, that I was a true boss-babe. My insufficient sleep and over-indulgent hustle mentality showed up in the forms of: increased irritability, decreased stress resiliency, hormone imbalances, greater PMS, frequent colds and sickness and a generally feeling of overwhelm.
And when my over-stressed, pastor-husband seemed to have increased sleep demands – as evidenced by more frequent naps and hitting a wall in the evenings, causing him to need to go to bed early – I wrongly accused him of being lazy and unavailable to help me around the house. Oops!
It wasn’t until his brain totally shut down and erased the last 10+ years of our life from his memories in the form of amnesia, that we had the final “wake-up call” we needed. (Check out our amnesia story in our best-selling book we wrote about the experience.)
We quickly learned that the brain had been giving us warning signs that it was on overload. And the increased sleep demands should have been red flags for us that something needed to change.
You see, the brain resets itself while we sleep. When we close our eyes, it finally gets a break from ingesting incessant information throughout the day and it can take a much-needed break to process it all. Sleep is one of the number one things we need to focus on for brain health and overall, general wellness. Every single wellness goal we want to attain will have “more and better sleep” as one of the areas to make a priority.
Sleep is an absolute gift from God, a break from the weariness of life. With adequate sleep, our body has a greater capacity to handle stress – and it can even help our bodies heal from many things that ail us.
We have so much more energy since we’ve made sleep a top priority.
Barriers to Restorative Sleep
So why do we boast about not needing much sleep or not getting great sleep? It’s like being able to operate on just a few hours makes us a hero. This could not be farther from the truth. Sleep is essential and we must humbly acknowledge that fact if we want to be at our highest potential.
There are many legitimate barriers to good sleep, but thankfully all of them can be overcome with the right lifestyle changes and herbal medicines and intentions. Add sleepy time essential oils to these rollers and apply to your neck, wrists and bottoms of your feet at bedtime.
But first we must agree with our Creator that sleep is one of our main priorities. Sleep has to make it high in the list of what’s important before anything else will change. We now value restorative sleep so much that we are willing to go to bed early or turn the to-do lists over to take naps, if needed.
This past weekend, my husband had many, many rare demands on his time and energy – and his sleep amount and quality was greatly diminished. His body immediately reacted to this change in routine and insufficient sleep, and he ended up with a miserable head cold.
When we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies tell us. Are you listening to what your body is saying? If you’re dependent on caffeine to get you through the day, you obviously aren’t getting enough sleep. If you keep having more and more worrisome health symptoms pop up, you most likely aren’t getting enough sleep. If you’re chronically stressed and feel maxed out with life, my bet is that you aren’t getting enough good sleep.
I’d love to share with you my top 10 tips for getting the best sleep of your life. I’ve got a short email series ready to send your way with all my practical tips.
Children Have High Sleep Needs
We also need to be working with our children to help them value sleep and get enough of it. Growing kids have even greater sleep needs, often requiring at least 10-12 hours through most stages of growth and development. When our sons don’t get enough sleep, they experience more frequent headaches, volatile mood swings and sickness.
It makes me so sad to see how so many kids have to get up extremely early to catch a bus or get to school and have their “brain on.” In these cases, a much earlier bedtime is essential. This is one reason why I love homeschooling, because it allows us to adjust their sleep schedules to meet their specific growth and sleep needs.
Results from Getting Incredible Sleep
I can truly say that we as an entire family have experienced a total transformation in the sleep department. We now sleep long and hard and actually wake up feeling refreshed most days. I’ve experimented with different products and routines and lifestyle adjustments and believed I’ve cracked a code for improving mine and so many others’ sleep patterns. Here’s a link to our favorite sleep mask, which has helped us with sleep.
Here’s what we’ve noticed since we’ve gotten top-quality sleep recently: David’s memory is sharp and his mind is clear. We have more peace in our home. My hormones have come into balance. Our stress response is more resilient. We get sick much less. We have more energy for the things that truly matter in this season of our life. Our bodies can thrive instead of always giving us trouble.
There is hope for improving your sleep quantity and quality, and I hope you’ll see this as an important, high-priority goal in your life.
I invite you to grab my free email series with my 10 practical tips for getting the best sleep of your life.
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