Hello everyone! As promised, here is part 2 of our new immunity series. Today we will be talking about improving your overall sleep experience, and we have some great suggestions for you so that you can truly rest, digest and recharge. Let’s begin!
Part 2: Catch Some Zzzz’s Not Omg’s
Firstly, be sure to spend some time outdoors for about twenty minutes to half an hour at least, each day. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a sunny day or not, you should find that you sleep better on days when you go outside compared to the days that you don’t. A wonderful ritual is to go outside in the morning to help regulate your circadian rhythm.
Secondly, get some plants in your room. In NASA’s 1989 Air Pollution study, scientists studied several plant varieties that appeared to improve air quality by removing common pollutants in the air, such as benzene and formaldehyde. NASA described a concept called “sick building syndrome”, where people staying in enclosed spaces for a prolonged period of time is itself considered to be a source of pollution (another reason to go outside). This is indeed an important factor to consider while self-isolation is still ongoing, particularly now that we are in the summer months and larger gatherings are occurring in the home. So what are the best plants to use? The consensus seems to be that plants in general have the ability to clean the air. You could begin with plants that have a darker shade of green, such as a mature Zz plant (these have rich, dark green leaves) as studies have found that darker plants tend to induce a more relaxing effect compared to brighter plants.
Thirdly, for you to have the best chance of sleeping, you need to decrease the potential for hindrances that could sabotage your sleep success. More specifically, you may have found during quarantine that you are eating more later at night as you binge-watch the latest Netflix series. Although fun, try not to eat too much right before you go to bed, because this interferes with your body’s ability to digest food properly and will likely lead to an uncomfortable and inevitably sleepless night. This predicament is two-fold, because you don’t want to go straight to bed after watching TV because a) you’ll be too stimulated to sleep, and b) the blue light emitted from your screen will inhibit melatonin production. Give yourself a few hours to wind-down without using snacks and social media.
On that note, it is helpful to make a routine at night that will allow you to steadily move into a state that is more conducive to sleep. For example, you may want to take advantage of essential oils. Pure lavender oil is so relaxing, and you only need to put a few drops onto your pillow or into a diffuser if you have one, or even add a little to a warm bath about an hour or so before bed. And remember, those pesky electronics need to be turned off! Anything that produces light is going to hamper your ability to drift off. Not only does this mean that your windows should have proper light-blocking capabilities if possible, but even the light from an alarm clock can be disturbing. I find putting my phone on airplane mode helpful as you can still use the alarm feature. You don’t have to be too concerned with how long your wind-down period should be: just do what you need to until you feel sleepy.
Finally, a clean room! Jumping into a comfy bed with fresh sheets in a relatively clutter-free room is the best, especially in tandem with all the other suggestions! Sweet dreams!
We hope you enjoyed this blog post on sleep! Even if you are not able to utilize all of these suggestions, start with something and go from there. You can experiment with what works for you and adapt your practice as you see fit. With a good night’s sleep, difficult situations are just a little easier to manage. Stay healthy and stay tuned good people for part 3 of our immunity series!
Please note that the information provided here is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your physician if you have any concerns about your health and/or intend to change your lifestyle by adopting any of the practices suggested in this blog.