How’d you sleep last night?
“Hmmm, okay I guess.”
“Fine.” (looking away swiftly to avoid eye contact)
“I counted around 2000 sheep before I fell asleep, and again 850 at 2 AM.”
“I want to crawl back into bed.”
“For the life of me, don’t even ask!”
(Says nothing while staring with a blank unimpressed expression).
Which one are you? I’m the last one at this stage. Because unforeseen things happen to all of us, including the experts. 😉
For the last three days, 2 super adorable but mad cats have been disturbing my sleep. One moment we’re cuddling and the next I’m used as a scratch post. It’s a vicious cycle.
So, let’s all be better prepared and follow sleep expert and neuroscientist, Dr. Chelsie Rohrscheib’s non-negotiable rules for better sleep. Yes, me included. LOL. It’s just as simple as getting up and cutting a slice of cake, except we’ll be healthier humans.
And did I mention these are non-negotiable! There is no “but” here.
No electronics before bedtime? Hell no!! I’ll admit… the first non-negotiable sleeping tip sure isn’t a piece of cake. But if we don’t listen to our bodies, we’ll have to deal with the consequences. Like me right now. I’m on my 3rd cup of coffee, zoning out on some Irish Folk tunes (not generally preferred but my fake energy needs it), and I don’t know if I should nap or go for a 10km hike...
Don’t be like me! Rather deal with the problem.
Rohrscheib says, "In order for our brains to get the signal that it's time to sleep, they have to stop receiving light information through the eyes. [Before bedtime] I also use only soft lighting. I don't use fluorescent lighting. If you want to get really old-school, I recommend using candlelight."
Or simply cover your peepers with blue light blocking glasses at night. They’ve been my life-savers!
Rohrscheib suggests sleeping under the stars for a few nights. I’ve done this a few times and I kid you not, I’ll make it my career if I could. Seriously though, it’s like a reset button!
"When you go camping, you'll find you feel tired way earlier than you usually do," she says. "That's because your body is back on the natural sleep cycle that it was meant to be on — relying completely on the sun, and not on electronic devices."
It may sound boring, but I can attest, you’ll find things to do other than being in digital zombie mode. AND you’ll have the most rejuvenating sleep ever!
Rohrscheib's third non-negotiable rule is keeping a strict sleep schedule.
"You need to tell your brain exactly when it needs to start winding down for sleep every single night, and the best way to do that is to go to sleep at the same time every single night," she says. "If [your bedtime] fluctuates, you're just going to confuse your brain — it's not going to know when to make you feel tired."
While getting out of our comfort zones can be beneficial, we generally thrive on habitual behavior. When our rituals are interrupted, we tend to operate with difficulty and stress levels rise (much like mine while traveling and continuously finding myself in sticky situations).
The great news is, we have some super easy tips on the blog to help clear your mind before bed. Take a looksy here.
Another priceless tip for guaranteed sleep quality.
"Try to keep the temperature low, because we don't sleep well when it's hot. Remove light sources by covering your windows, and make sure there's nothing that can wake you up during the night, such as pets entering bedrooms."
Hear hear! I’ll have to migrate to the couch tonight because the cats are the queens and they won’t settle for anything else.
If your environment is more flexible than mine, you’re more likely to have a good night’s sleep.
Some things are better dealt with than ignored. Get more tips for guaranteed sleep quality!
Uhm, no wonder the piece of cake is still lingering in my thoughts. Going to bed hungry because I’m too lazy to prepare food is a bad idea after all.
Dr. Rohrscheib recommends finding a middle ground. Never trying to sleep with a growling stomach — nor one that's overly full. It makes perfect sense though. If we go to bed hungry, our bodies think we’re starving to death. 🤔
She says. "So our brain will force us to stay awake until we procure food eventually."
(Popping my own cream-filled cheesecake thought bubble)
Quick and healthy light meals here we come. Because we also don’t want to feel like we swallowed a large pizza whole.
"I always say try not to exercise at night because you release a lot of adrenaline and that can inhibit your sleep," Dr.Rohrscheib explains. "But if you can get exercise in the morning or late afternoon, that's great — it's really helpful for sleep."
With an inclination to awaken slowly, I’ll opt-in for some quick downward dog stretches on the balcony later. But mostly I’ll watch the sunset and pretend I’m exhausted.
You’ll need to figure out what will work best for you, but - and this is an acceptable and non-negotiable ‘but’ - you’ll need to hit the ground running. Heck, even if it’s a quick walk to the shop for cake (I mean essentials).
Start by limiting your daily blue light exposure with blue light blocking glasses.