Life and Happiness

One of My Favorite Things: Sleep

I know I’ve written about the benefits of sleep before, but I’m doing it again because I am a firm, firm believer in sleep. As a matter of fact, it’s one of my favorite things. I love the idea that I can climb into my cozy bed, close my eyes and after eight hours I can start over again. I am the napper of my family and was always the one to sleep in the latest. It certainly helps that I love my bedroom and I love my bed, but some days, going to bed is my favorite part of the day.

The science supports my love of sleep and I know that most people agree that sleep is important, so why do so many Americans (35%!) report they don’t get enough sleep? The study linked above by the CDC found some very interesting things in our relationships with sleep. Of course what most people tend to ignore is the socioeconomic challenges some people face that can interfere with their sleep (shift work, going to bed hungry, sleeping in the same room as children, etc.). While I would love to dive into this thought more, this post is about how to improve your sleep, and many of the socioeconomic challenges cannot be changed in a single post.

There are serious risks to not getting enough sleep. Children who don’t get enough sleep are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and adults can face challenges with depression, obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer and more. But while we know getting enough sleep is an important aspect of our health we still don’t make it a priority.

There are many ways we can improve our sleep quality as well as quantity. It’s always a good idea to keep your bedroom a sanctuary; a place for sleep. I keep my laptop tucked away in my armoire, where it’s easily accessible if I’m having a lazy morning or working from home when I’m sick, but it’s usually out of sight, and out of mind. I also keep my room light and airy, which personally brings me a feeling of peace. You need to find what works best for you and your needs.

Another big part of the problem is technology. I fully admit to often falling asleep to Netflix, but I know that I sleep better when I read before bed, or listen to my sleep podcast. At night when I wake up, I try to avoid reaching for my phone to check the time and/or scroll through social media. There are plenty of technology-based sources out there to help you sleep, such as the Sleep With Me podcast I use. There are apps to track your sleep based on your movements throughout the night and even apps to play relaxing sleep music or sounds. Overall, it’s going to be best for you to put your phone down at least 20 minutes before bed.

Ideally you should be aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep nightly. Set yourself a bedtime that would put you at the high end of that range, then start your bedtime routine an hour before that. For example, if your alarm goes off at 7am you should set your “bedtime” to be 10pm. That means that at 9pm your should be starting your bedtime routine, including brushing your teeth, washing your face and shutting down the house for the night. You can add in a stretching or meditation routine, a cup of herbal tea, reading time and even a prayer or spiritual routine. By the time you climb into bed your body should be relaxed and you should be preparing for sleep. Maybe you’re not quite tired yet, so you keep reading and that’s ok. Remember you already put yourself at the high end of your sleep range, so if it takes a couple of hours to fall asleep you’re still ok!

What’s your biggest struggle with getting enough sleep? Can you tell when you’ve been sleeping well and when you haven’t? Do you have any great tricks, apps or podcasts to share? Let us know!

Food and Nutrition, Life and Happiness

Super Bowl Monday

food-lunch-mexican-nachos.jpgIt’s Monday morning and I am dragging! This weekend was packed fun and I may have indulged more than normal. Saturday my sister and I hosted a party at our house complete with appetizers, desserts and lots of drinks. Then Sunday I went out to lunch before heading to a Super Bowl party. I actually did pretty well at the party, considering what most people imagine Super Bowl eating to be like. But here I am, getting ready to go into work on Monday and I’m wishing I had another day in the weekend to sleep, workout and eat better.

So here’s my plan for this Super Bowl Monday to help me start feeling better.

1. I’m drinking all the water! I know with all the events and parties this weekend I probably didn’t hit my water intake goals, so I’m making sure it happens today!

2. I’m eating my normal breakfast. I still feel kind of yucky from all the foods this weekend, but I know I need to have a healthy, protein packed breakfast to stay on track the rest of today.

3. Snacks and lunch are packed with veggies, specifically those high in fiber. I know my food choices this weekend weren’t the best fiber options so I chose to focus on that.

4. I’m going to bed early tonight. I’m definitely sleepy after this weekend and while I’d love to get a nap in today (I love naps) it’s just not going to happen. Instead I’m planning on crawling into bed an hour earlier than normal. I may just spend that hour reading, but either way I’m going to let my body unwind and relax so I can get a good sleep tonight!

How are you feeling this Monday? Did you indulge this weekend? How do you like to start your week on the right foot? Let me know!

Life and Happiness

Quick Pick-Me-Up for Your Mental Health


I am really trying to refocus my energy into my mental health.  I tend to have too much to do from the end of October through January or so and I forget to take care of myself in the process.  I had set a weight loss goal in December, which I didn’t hit and by the end of the month I was feeling pretty down on myself.  It was then that I realized I hadn’t been focusing on my mental health, and I had “sabotaged” myself during December by skipping workouts and eating more “junk” because I was feeling kind of gloomy.  So I decided that my goal for January would be to focus on my metal health and so far I’ve been doing great!

I’ve been looking into a variety of ways to focus on my mental health to help me get through those tough days and I’ve downloaded a few apps, copied lists of journal prompts and more in hopes of finding some inspiration.  While everything I’ve found so far has been great, I still keep thinking back to my go-to mental boost.  I’ve evolved it over the years, and often make little tweaks based on who I am recommending it to, but I’ll share the basic formula with you today.


With practice you will be able to do this exercise at almost any time with almost any distractions around, but it’s good to start in a place where you can really focus on yourself.

First I ask that you take a few breaths and try to find some quiet.  Give yourself a little prep before you start by relaxing as best you can.  Now list 10 things you love about yourself.  I ask that you aim for 5 physical traits (hair, face, fingers, etc.) and 5 personality traits or accomplishments.  The first time you do this, you may not be able to list a full 10 things and that’s ok.  The idea is to build up your self-love and appreciation for yourself.  But don’t give up too quickly!  Do try hard to complete the list.  You can write it down, say each thing out loud, or simply think them.

I have included a little example, based on my practice today:

  1. My legs are showing definition.
  2. I am feeling confident about my class today.
  3. I love my hair color.
  4. My face is thinning out again.
  5. I have knowledge that can truly help people’s lives.
  6. I got a full 8 hours of sleep last night.
  7. My skin is clearing up.
  8. I have a work wardrobe I feel confident in.
  9. I am making personal changes that make me happier.
  10. I am continuing to work on my education and loving it!

The more you do this, the more creative you will get, which is exciting because you start to realize how many great things you have going on in your life!  It picks me up every time I do it and it reminds me to focus on self-love, which is always important.  I have watched people do this exercise and I’ve seen the struggle with it, but they come out of it feeling more confident.  My favorite was doing this exercise with a group of women I was working with.  The group aspect made things more complicated, but it ended up making it more beautiful.  The women were nervous to list things about them and they were embarrassed when their turn came.  Maybe they could have been more honest if they were working alone, BUT when a woman struggled to finish her list, I listened as the others in the group quickly came up with ideas.  It was like a giant compliment circle!

So take some time and give yourself 10 compliments today!


Fitness, Life and Happiness

The Mental Aspect of Weight Loss

Wow, I can’t believe it’s already 2018. There’s so much that happened in 2017, both personally and in the world. One of the biggest things is that I’m going through some medical stuff- nothing major, but a side effect is possible weight gain so I’ve tried to be on top of my workouts and diet. In December I wanted to lose the 2 lbs I’d gained since starting the treatment. That was my months goal. But December came and went and my weight remained the same. At first I felt upset with myself for not being able to drop those 2 pounds, but I stopped and took a second to think about why.

The very first thing I realized is that I was feeling a little down. I was worn out mentally and even when I was doing my workouts or eating fresh, my mind wasn’t completely there. I wasn’t as driven or as excited. It became easier to slack off in my workouts, to snack on some cookies late at night. On top of it all I caught that nasty bug which kept me out of work one day, so I was stressed trying to catch up on everything while still resting enough to get better.

So, even though I still want to lose those extra couple of pounds (I realize it’s a small number and I shouldn’t obsess, but I’d still like to work on it), that’s not my goal for January. Instead I’m focusing on my mental health. I’m checking in with myself regularly, eliminating sources of stress, letting go what I can, and taking some time for myself. Because here’s the thing- I know the weight loss will come, but it’s going to be a heck of a lot harder if I’m not in a good place mentally.

I hope 2018 brings everyone a happier and healthier life, both mentally and physically!

Life and Happiness

It’s That Time of Year Again…

December has been flying by! I thought I was ahead of schedule with everything, but things keep popping up that I forgot about (like my boss’s Christmas present!). On top of that work has been wild and I’m currently searching out more financial opportunities as well as working on some new writing projects. I was all set to enjoy the holiday season, but somehow I find myself rushing around all day and finally crashing in to bed each night wishing I had time for some yummy hot cocoa, a holiday movie or even a hot bath.

So, in hopes to motivate me to slow down these next few weeks I’m writing this post to help you (and, yes, selfishly me) enjoy the holiday season.

1. Make the most of your “downtime”. This means combining certain activities and planning ahead. For example, I waited until I had purchased all of my family presents before I started wrapping. So I spent one Sunday night, tucked in my room, wrapping presents and watching holiday movies on Netflix. I got my movie fix and got my wrapping done. I also have been planning my weekends, spacing activities out so I can enjoy them. My sister and I got giant gingerbread cookies to decorate so we planned a “holiday episode cookie party” where we’ll watch the holiday episodes of our favorite shows while decorating the cookies. While I’d like to do this soon, I know that waiting until I have a completely free evening will let me enjoy it more than trying to do it after a long day at work when I just want to crawl into bed.

2. Know when to say no. This is just good year-round advice, but especially during the holidays it’s important not to over do it. This last Sunday was I was supposed to go to my book club meeting, but I woke up sick and that evening I had my Christmas dance recital to help run. As much as I wanted to go to the book club meeting I knew I had to get some rest before the big night. Plus it’s never nice to get others sick right before the holidays! Sometimes you have to skip a party instead of packing them all into one evening. You want to keep stress levels low and joy high and that might mean saying no or skipping a few things. Stick with the most important and your favorites and take the time to enjoy those things.

3. Start gift shopping early. While it might be a little late this year, it’s still some solid advice. One thing I always stress about is gifts. I love finding the perfect gift for everyone, but when you only give yourself a month or so to find these things it can get overwhelming. Instead I try to keep an eye out all year long for items I know my friends and family will love. Then I tuck them away in a super secret spot and around November I pull them out and see who I have left to buy for. This helps spread out my spending as well, which is always a good thing! I also tend to collect things like candles and lotions so I keep a stock of those items ready for any last minute presents or gift exchanges.

4. Take some time off. Whatever you do, try to take some time off at the holidays. There’s nothing worse than having a day packed full of holiday activities only to know you have to go back to work the next morning. This year I had to get creative since I knew a lot of others asked for time off. Instead I decided to give up my Saturday shift for the winter, giving me some flexibility in my personal schedule. My sister got super lucky and figured out she could take 3 days off and end up with a 10-day vacation based on her schedule and how the holidays lined up! It’s always best to plan ahead on this too. I usually end up requesting Christmas Eve off in September since that’s the big day for my family. In return for this I offer to work Christmas Night as well as New Year’s Eve. That way others can take off time as well. My dad used to save up his annual leave and take the week between Christmas and New Year’s off so he could spend time with us (since my sister, Mom and I had the school holiday). Even if it’s just a day, or a few hours to start your holiday early, taking some time off will give you more time to relax and enjoy the season.

5. Stick with your favorites. Traditions are my favorite part of most holidays since I have a large, close family. But this also means a lot of traditions. We’ve had to cut back on certain things due to time, or changes. We’ve latched on to a few traditions and simplified where needed. With my dad’s side of the family we’ve gone from giving everyone a gift to a gift exchange to donating to a charity each year. This way we still spend time together, eat our traditional Christmas Eve meal but we don’t have to worry about bringing carloads of presents. Traditions are more fun when you can actually enjoy them!

The holidays are often stressful and sometimes depressing or lonely times for many people. It’s important to take some time and focus on what’s important and what makes you happy. Maybe it’s family traditions or maybe it’s trying a new restaurant for Christmas. Whatever it is, put your energy into a few special things and you’ll end up with a much less stressful, more joy-filled holiday season!

Life and Happiness

World Mental Health Day and Working In

I was recently taking CEU courses to keep my Group Fitness Instructor certification active and one of the options was a class that gave exercises for stress management. One of the main ideas was about “working in” vs. “working out”. I tried it and fell in love!  So today, for World Mental Health Day I thought I’d share this concept with you.

When we work out we are stressing our body. There are an incredible amount of good things that come from working out, but too much stress on the body is not a good thing.  While exercise can help relieve mental stress, it can cause damages like illness or injury when your body is over stressed.  So instead of working OUT the idea is to work IN.  The goal is to bring more energy in to your body than you are expending.  This is done by using slow, controlled movements that don’t tend to elevate the heart rate.  It’s a great way to re-energize the body.

You may have guessed that exercises like yoga, tai chi and meditation use this working in technique.  They are some of the more common ways that people work in (usually without even knowing it!).  But you can modify and find what works best for you.  Here’s what I’ve done to give you some more ideas:

My first time trying it I was tired. I hadn’t been sleeping well and I was feeling sick. My schedule is usually jam packed so I don’t like skipping workouts when I know I can’t “make them up” later. I was torn between going home and taking a nap or working out.  My solution was to try a weighted yoga routine followed by some stretching. I figured the slow mellow movement of the yoga wouldn’t wear me down too much and by adding the weights I could tell myself I was still working hard. I had to take breaks. If my heart rate started to rise too much I stopped to breathe. After 20 minutes of yoga I did 30 minutes of stretching and I topped it off with legs up the wall pose and a towel over my face/eyes closed. I went home and had enough energy to cook a healthy dinner and enjoy eating it rather than shoving it down so I could get to bed.

The next time I was also feeling sick. I had a headache that refused to go away. The idea of running or jumping was not appealing and I was already tired from the long day so lifting weights sounded hard. I ended up reading a book while on the recumbent bike for a hour. I was able to break a little sweat, although I had to keep an eye on my speed to make sure I was still doing something!  It wasn’t quite the same as my first experience, but at least I didn’t feel guilty about skipping the gym completely.

A third time I tried working in I went a totally different route. I decided to try to work on the choreography for some dances I was teaching. I hadn’t decided on a song for the recital dance the girls were doing so I downloaded three of them, put my headphones in, closed my eyes and walked through ideas. Sometimes I did a move full-out, but a lot of times I was just walking through the dance (basically doing the steps  part way). It allowed me to work on something creative, which always helps my mental health, while keeping me moving and off the couch.

I’m still testing different ideas to see what works best for me and I know that each day I may need something different.  I’m always open for suggestions.  My current workout routine is 45-90 minutes 5 times a week and I’ve opted for a work in session about twice a month. I’m still getting the results I want/need from my workouts, but I’m also getting some major mental health benefits.  I’m always taking on more than I should and finding this idea of working in (and expanding it beyond yoga and meditation) has allowed me to care for myself in a new way.

Mental health is just as important as physical health. It’s been a journey for me to find ways to take care of my mind, body and soul.  This was a great step in that journey and I hope it will help someone else in their journey.

Life and Happiness

How Facing My Anxiety Gave Me a Chance to Live in The Moment

I’ve struggled with anxiety pretty much my whole life (although I just recently accepted this). When I was younger it was fairly mild, however in more recent years it has become more of a challenge in my daily life and I allow stress and worry consume me until I have anxiety attacks.

Within the past few months my personal and professional schedules have picked up and I find myself overwhelmed with all that I have going on. I finally told myself it was time to take it one day at a time. Instead of stressing about how to fit in all of my shifts, get in extra time at one job, workout, go grocery shopping, do the laundry, make dinners, clean the house and make a side dish for a family BBQ in one week I would only focus on the day ahead of me.

So basically what I’ve been doing is using my planner like crazy. What I do is put everything in my planner (including workouts and rest days). Literally everything. Like last Tuesday- normally I workout right after work, but last week I had book club right after I got off work so in my calendar I put work, book club, and then 30 minute walk with Kuna. I then added a workout to Sunday morning to make up for Tuesday.  But writing it all down is only step one.

Step two means thinking about the amount of planning each thing needs. So instead of stressing about what to make for the BBQ all week long I say “I’ll go shopping for the BBQ Saturday morning and will spend no more than 30 minutes before that deciding what to make.” Because let’s be honest- you don’t need to worry about a side dish your entire week! When people say “What do you think about going on a trip two weekends from now?” I respond with “I’m taking things day-by-day. Let’s talk about this next weekend when I have less going on.” I even told someone this weekend that I would send a specific email out on Monday morning instead of Sunday night like she asked. It made no difference what day the email was sent, but I had scheduled it for Monday and Sunday my plan was to NOT think about work. Guess what, it all worked out fine and I didn’t feel the need to stress about something on my Sunday.  All I’m really doing is time management.

Now, the final part is to be flexible! Yes I may have something scheduled for Saturday morning, but if I don’t sleep well Friday night I wake up, take an honest look at myself and my day and choose the most important thing. Anything that can get rescheduled does. Last Saturday I woke up feeling pretty puny. I had planned on working out for an hour or more and the working in the office before going home and getting ready for my evening shift. But I wasn’t feeling well and I thought that maybe I should rest a little. So I did an hour workout and went home to read before my evening shift. I rescheduled my planned work for Wednesday when I usually have my short day. So it’s not just making a schedule and sticking to it; it’s about refocusing your day to match your needs.

And here’s the best part- not only have I reduced my anxiety, but I’m also able to live in the moment. On my walk with my dog last week I wasn’t thinking about anything except what was going on around me. I wasn’t worried about skipping a workout or getting enough sleep that night to tackle the next day. I was just enjoying walking my dog on a late summer evening. I allow myself to focus more completely on the task at hand instead of worrying about all the other tasks I have coming up. It’s been incredibly freeing. I was so used to worrying about every little thing, every minute of every day that I wasn’t enjoying myself. Now I can say “No, I’m not going to worry about that until tomorrow.”

Note: This is actually an old picture. I was so in the moment walking Kuna I didn’t even think about photo ops!
Life and Happiness

A Few of My Favorite Things

I’ve been trying hard to focus on some of the positives in my life in hopes of being happier in my day to day activities.

  1. My bedroom. Seriously. My bedroom is my sanctuary. I’ve carefully picked a color palate that is soft and calming. I have plenty of natural light and I’m surrounded by books and plants. I can come home from a long day, curl up in my white linen duvet (that I allowed myself to splurge on) and feel at peace.
  2. My family. I have a pretty solid family. We’re supportive and proud of each other and it shows. Every time I get off the phone with one of them we end it by saying “I love you.” I could literally have the worst fight with my sister over the phone and we’ll still say “I love you” at the end (even if we use bratty tones to say it).
  3. The weather. Ok, right now it’s summer and sunny and hot. And as much as I love the idea of summer I hate the heat. BUT I’m trying to look on the bright side. This morning my boss and I both got to work early (like an hour early) and commented on how the longer days keep us more productive. It’s so much easier waking up for an early morning when the sky is lighter rather then when it’s dark.
  4. A good book. So I’m kind of in the middle of five books right now, which is not normally how I like to do things. But I keep buying more books! And they’re so exciting I just want to read them. So I’ve been trying to read for at least one hour each day in the evenings to 1) help me get through them all and 2) calm me down after work/workouts.
  5. My workout routine. So I’m not always in love with working out. I mean, I know it’s good for me and I feel soooo much better when I’m actually doing it regularly, but I’m not awkward excited to throw on the spandex. But lately I’ve been super motivated and I’m creating a fabulous routine. Huge shout out to FabFitFun for helping in this. Check out the bottom of this post if you want to learn more.

I kept the list short today so I could really reflect on what are the most important things to me at this exact moment. I didn’t post this to brag you guys. I want you to actually try this yourselves when you have a few minutes. You can write it down or just think about everything, but instead of just listing things, take the time to really imagine and picture them. Think of the smells, how things feel, how it makes you feel. Do this exercise when things start to get tough. When you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by life and you just need a break.

FabFitFun is an incredibly fun (and easy) way to get some of the season’s best items at a great price. I signed up after seeing the Fall 2016 box shared on social media and I loved what it contained. Since then I have received two more boxes and am scheduled to get the Summer 2017 box this week.

For $49.99 you get a box filled with over $200 worth of items! Plus if you like an item in the box, there’s usually a coupon on discount code for you to buy more. There are beauty products, office products, jewelry and more. Some of my favorite items have been a travel sized deodorant I put in my gym bag, Thank You cards, a travel coffee mug and great lotion!

But my absolute favorite part is that through my subscription (remember, under $200/year for $800+ worth of items) I get access to some incredible workout videos. Yesterday I paired three Barre videos with some light Cardio and I felt incredible! It’s a great way to try something new, spice up your workout and give you some motivation.

If you’d like to sign up please use my referral link here and enjoy a fun little package delivered to you every 3 months!

Life and Happiness

Stuck in a Mental Rut

Last week and so far today, things have been pretty stressful. Work has been crazy and I’ve been struggling to schedule in any relaxing me time to combat the stress. Now even though my job titles say something different, I pretty much consider myself in the position of customer service (at both of my current jobs). I mean, my primary goal is to keep customers happy. Now whether that’s out in the open, interacting with them, or cleaning the bathrooms, it’s all to keep the customer happy. So when I look back at the stress this past week, it’s not from deadlines or excess of paperwork, but rather from my interactions with people. The negative interactions have greatly outweighed the positive ones, and this I think is common in our society.

Think about it, you go out to eat and have a meal. The service is good, food tastes great and you enjoy yourselves. Now after a dinner like that would you immediately think to write a review on Yelp? Would you stop on your way out to thank the server one more time? Would you ask to see the maganger or owner to let them know you had a wonderful experience? Most often we don’t. But if you go out to eat, feel like the service is subpar and don’t like the food what would you do? As a society we tend to focus on the negative.

Now to be clear, if something is wrong it is a good idea to let people know, but don’t forget that how you let them know makes a big difference too. If you stop an employee and say, “Hey, I was just in the restroom and it’s getting pretty messy. Just wanted to give you a heads up.”  they’ll likely feel better than if you stop them and say, “Your bathrooms are disgusting. You need to clean them now.” If an employee is behaving poorly then it can be ok to notify a manager, but do you best not to be negative.

People who work in customer service positions (whether that’s their title or not) are usually working their butts off to make sure customers are happy. Heck, just today I had to take my lunch an hour late because I was on the phone with a handful of people complaining about things I had no control over. I really think that if just one of those people had thanked me for my time I would have gone to lunch much happier instead of defeated, tired and hungry!

So I guess what I’m saying is try to put a little more positivity into the world with your daily interactions. Thank someone, smile at people around you, take some time for gratitude. I firmly believe that kindness can spread, but it’s up to us to pass it on. Cheer up a few people today and you never know who’s life they may touch because of your kindness. Get out of your mental rut by putting out good vibes!

Life and Happiness

The Importance of a Bedtime Routine

The older I get the more I realize how important a bedtime routine actually is. I’m sure some of the parents out there reading this are saying “Yes! Yes! Yes!” The thing is, when we talk about bedtime routines, we’re usually talking about young kids. 

But enough about the kids, let’s talk about us (insert winky face emoji here). I am finally accepting that I need a bedtime routine too. I need that comfort of predictability to help me unwind from the day and fall into a deep sleep. I’ve spent a good part of the last 10 years going, going, going. Be it school or work or both I just climbed into bed when I was done with everything. I didn’t really try to get in bed at the same time every night and sometimes I was just so tired I crawled into bed without even brushing my teeth or washing my face (oh college…).  But now that I’m trying to balance my ever changing work weeks with my health and fitness I’m beginning to realize the routine makes all the difference.

Getting a good night of sleep can make a world of difference. Studies have suggested that adequate sleep can improve your memory and creativity, help you with althetic and academic performance, assist in fat loss, and lower stress levels. Studies have also shown a connection between less sleep and increases inflammation. As a population we tend to recognize the benefits of sleep, but that doesn’t mean we always follow recommendations. It is still widely believed that adults should get 7.5-8.5 hours of sleep each night, but we only average about 6 hours and 40 minutes on week nights and closer to 7.5 on weekends. 

There are many suggestions as to how to keep a routine including avoiding caffeine, stimulants, and alcohol before bedtime, not watching the clock and going to sleep when you’re truly tired. The first thing you need to recognize is that your sleep routine likely won’t look like anyone else’s. We’re all different people who react differently to different stimulants and that’s ok. Try a few of the suggestions below and if they don’t seem to work, forget them! Just remember to give everything a fair shot before dismissing it (that means trying it regularly for 1-2 weeks).

Tips to getting a great sleep:

  • Take your hot bath or shower earlier. If you’re someone who likes to shower at night or enjoy a long soak in the tub, try doing these things earlier in your evening. We know how hard it can be to fall asleep when you’re too hot and these activities may raise your body temperature making it hard to fall asleep.
  • Try some yoga or light stretching before bed. Use this time to relax the body and empty your mind. 
  • Prepare for sleep by dimming lighting around you. Bright lights tell our biological bodies that it’s day time and time to be awake. By slowly dimming the lights around you, you can mimic natures light shift from day to night and from awake to sleep.
  • Avoid screen time before bed. This includes TV, phones and tablets. Think of how easy it is to say “one more episode” or “one more game” or even “one more Facebook post”. The light and activity stimulates us and ends up keeping us awake. Some people set strict limits and don’t allow technology into the bedroom while others may set a time limit (no phone 1 hour before bed).
  • Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary.  Invest in some comfy sheets and blankets that you love and that calm you. Make sure you have a pillow that gives you support and eliminate anything in your room that adds stress. Personally I try to keep my bedroom clutter free and I make my bed everyday so it feels calm and peaceful when I am ready for sleep.
  • Give yourself a strict bedtime. This one is amazing for me! I calculate back 9.5 hours from when I need to wake up. I give myself an extra hour because I know that some nights sleep won’t come quickly and nothing keeps me up more than stressing about how much sleep I’ll get. Instead of crawling into bed exactly 8 hours before I need to wake up, I crawl into bed earlier and I don’t worry if it takes me a while to unwind and fall asleep.
  • Exercise regularly, but not right before bed! This should make sense. Exercise or physical activity will help eliminate any excess energy, but it does give you a “high” right after (even if it’s just a mental high) which makes it hard to fall asleep. But being lazy all day can leave you with extra energy your body wants to expend at night. Find your best exercise time and stick with it! 

As I said before, we all acknowledge the benefits of good sleep, but we need to make it a priority. The best way to do this is to create a routine, just like you may do before work or school every morning. Good luck and sleep tight!