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  • Writer's pictureRoberta Whitney Hughes

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep- At Home or Away

Updated: Jan 4, 2022

A good night’s sleep is essential to your health and well-being. When your body receives 7.5-8 hours of sleep each night, your immune system is at its strongest. You wake with improved focus, more energy, and reduced stress levels. While you sleep, your body is able to restore, heal, and recover.

Travel Challenges Your Body's Harmony

When you travel, your body’s natural harmony is challenged. The natural stress of travel makes it difficult for your body to rest. By planning ahead and learning techniques that support your body’s natural rhythms, you will be able to enjoy a good night’s sleep whether you are nestled in your own bed or away.

Create a Bedtime Routine

Creating a bedtime routine is essential to falling asleep, sleeping through the night, and getting a full 7.5-8 hours of rest. When you practice your routine regularly at home, you will find it easier to sleep well when you travel.

Over the years, I have acquired a toolbox of techniques that have helped me sleep well whether I am at home or traveling. Not all of these tools are necessary, and they do not all need to be practiced all at once. Play around with the tools that speak to you to create your personal bedtime routine.

Experiment and Practice

This is your time to play. Use my toolbox as a beginning. Experiment and gather the tools that work best for you. I recommend choosing two or three tools to form your bedtime routine. Practice your routine for at least a week to see if it makes any difference. If you aren’t getting the results you want (better sleep), exchange or add tools that might help.

Be patient with the process. Give your body and mind time to adjust to the routine before changing it.

The Brain Responds to Familiarity

Your brain responds to repetition and familiarity. Practice your routine every single night. Over time, the minute you begin your bedtime routine, your brain will automatically know that rest time is near. By the time you get into bed, your mind will be more capable of shutting down and going to sleep.

Set a bedtime and stick to it.

This might be the hardest tool on the list. I know that life is both busy and unpredictable. We can’t always control our circumstances to get to bed at the same time every night. Do your best to create the time and hold yourself accountable as often as you can.

Play music or white noise.

Music and white noise help drown out the sounds around you. By reducing distracting sounds, your mind is able to rest and relax. When you travel, bring your music or sound machine with you. The familiar sounds will tell your brain it is time to rest.

Have a cup of tea an hour before bed.

Warm herbal tea can be the magic trick to let your body know it is time to rest. My favorite bedtime tea recipe:

• 1 bag Celestial Seasonings Sleepy Time Peach

• 1 bag Yogi Tea Ginger

• Steep in hot water 2-3 minutes until water becomes a medium warm color

• Flavor with local honey or Madahava agave

Do legs up the wall pose.

This pose helps calm the central nervous system. It also reverses the blood flow, slows the heart rate, and relieves stress on the low back. Set a timer and rest with your legs up the wall for five to ten minutes before getting into bed. This will bring your body and mind into a more restful state before getting into bed.

Listen to a Sleep Meditation.

A sleep meditation will guide your mind and body into rest and leave you there to sleep. This practice will help if the Countdown Mediation is not effective for quieting your mind. Try the March 2021 Sleep Meditation on PeaceFull Living TV.

Apply essential oils.

My recipe for calming the mind and relaxing the body:

• 1 pea-size dot of Beauty Counter Hand Cream

• 1 drop Lavender oil

• 1 drop Frankincense oil

• Rub together in palms and apply to back and sides of neck, behind the ears, and squeeze earlobes and ears

• Rub palms together again, cup hands and place over eyes and nose; take three slow, deep breaths

Draw a hot epsom salt bath.

Take your bath at least an hour before bed. The hot water combined with one to two cups of Epsom salts will relax your muscles and release tension. Soaking for 20-30 minutes lowers your heart rate and brings your body and mind into a restful place. Be sure to hydrate with plenty of water throughout your bath. When you get out of the tub, you can add Legs Up the Wall Pose to help your body cool down and get ready for sleep.

Take bedtime supplements.

A few years ago, my acupuncturist recommended a blend of supplements to help reduce anxiety. I have been taking these supplements regularly at bedtime and they help me sleep well. Be sure to check with your doctor to make sure these supplements are safe for you:

• 5 HTP

• GABBA Calm

• Melatonin

Wear a sleep mask.

I have a silk sleep mask that I put on each night. It lets my brain know that sleep is near; it also blocks out the light. When your brain experiences complete darkness, you naturally produce melatonin, which helps you sleep.

Eat your last meal at least two hours before bedtime.

Your body needs energy to digest food. If you eat a big meal close to bedtime, your body will be hard at work when you try to go to sleep. Digestion can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugar.

If you avoid these at least two hours before bed, you are more likely to have a good night’s sleep.

Avoid electronics.

At least an hour before bed, reduce (eliminate completely if you can) screen time. Electronic stimulation keeps your mind active. Scrolling through social media, answering emails, and sending text messages close to bedtime will keep your mind active and awake. Try reading a book, journaling, or flipping through a magazine instead.

What if You Wake Up During the Night?

While all of these techniques will help your body and mind prepare for rest and fall asleep, what do you do if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep?

Laying in bed and tossing and turning is the worst thing you can do if you wake up in the middle of the night. Instead, try a combination of these techniques:

• Get out of bed and fix a cup of tea. Sit in a chair and sip it slowly, then go back to bed.

• Practice the Countdown Meditation when you get back in bed.

• Try Legs up the Wall Pose for 5-10 minutes

• Play a sleep meditation when you get back in bed.

• Rub lavender oil on your feet and behind your neck and ears.

When staying in a hotel, request a room in a quieter location.

Call the hotel ahead of time to request a room in low-traffic areas. Repeat your request at check in. As a rule of thumb, avoid rooms near the elevator or overlooking the pool or a busy street. The higher up you go, the less you will hear noise from the outside world.

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