This post is sponsored by CVS Pharmacy.
This post topic is one that I feel so passionately about, especially given my status as a toddler mom coupled with daylight savings and all the things going on in the world right now. SLEEP! Never in my life have I valued and prioritized sleep in my life than I do now. It’s a huge part of my self-care regimen.
- Rewind to my teens + college: sleep, sleep, sleep. No big deal to sleep in until 9, 10 or 11 in the morning. Zero guilt about 10-12 hours a night.
- Rewind to my 20s/early 30s as a working gal trying to get started in the fitness industry: Sleep!?? Who needs sleep? If you can get by on 4-6 hours a night, why wouldn’t you!? A day might start with a 5:30a training clients or yoga class and stretch through a 7p workout or class and I didn’t think twice about it.
- Rewind to pregnancy: Never in my life have I felt so tired. Cried at the thought of having to go teach a yoga class. (I really did cry on a few occasions…especially in my first trimester.) Chose sleep over all else, especially workouts. It’s a whole new world.
- Rewind to new motherhood: Sleep is life.
- Present day, mom to a toddler and in my late 30s: Sleep is still life. 100%.
This photo of me and Finn taking a nap on the couch on the day he came home from the hospital will always be a favorite and a reminder of the importance of slowing down, resting and sleeping.
Sleep is an important foundation for overall health and wellness and as I have transitioned into my mid-to-late 30s and into motherhood, I have come to realize what a profound impact that sleep has on everything from physical health, mood, stress, cognitive function, energy, mental state and much, much more. My sleep habits have actually improved since becoming a mom because I truly started to realize how much sleep deprivation and lack of quality sleep impacted everything!
To raise awareness about the importance of sleep as it relates to your holistic health, I’m partnering with CVS Pharmacy on their #DontSleepOnSelfCare campaign. The timing couldn’t be better to talk about sleep given that Sleep Awareness Week took place March 8-14 and we all recently went through the Daylight Savings time change. Now is the perfect opportunity to start taking steps to improve the quality and duration of your sleep and they shared with me some common myths about sleep that I was surprised to learn. This information helped me re-prioritize getting 7-9 hours of sleep to ensure I’m treating myself well ever day (and night) and I think they could be helpful for you guys too!
COMMON SLEEP MYTHS
MYTH: You can “cheat” on the amount of sleep you get each night.
FACT: According to SleepFoundation.org, sleep experts say most adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep each night for optimum performance, health and safety. When we don’t get adequate sleep, we accumulate a sleep debt that can be difficult to “pay back” if it becomes too big. The resulting sleep deprivation has been linked to health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure, negative mood and behavior, decreased productivity, and safety issues in the home, on the job, and on the road.
MYTH: The older you get, the less sleep you need.
FACT: National Sleep Foundation sleep experts stand firm in their recommendation to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. The older people get and patterns in life change, sleep should remain a constant to help maintain a healthy body and mind.
MYTH: Working out at night will make it harder to fall asleep.
FACT: In general, people who get more exercise are known to sleep better than those who don’t. According to a National Sleep Foundation poll, only 3% of surveyed adults said they had difficulty sleeping after an intense evening workout whereas the majority who went to sleep an hour and a half after a late workout slept more deeply and awoke fewer times than moderate exercisers.
MYTH: If you can’t sleep in the middle of the night, try relaxing in bed and counting sheep until your doze back into your nightly sleep.
FACT: Waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to fall back asleep is a symptom of insomnia. While counting sheep can be a relaxing exercise for some, some research shows this practice is actually distracting and could be more harmful than helpful. Most sleep experts, confirmed by the National Sleep Foundation, agree that if you cannot fall asleep within 15-20 minutes of waking up, getting out of bed and engaging in a relaxing activity like reading until you feel sleepy is the best approach to getting a more restful night’s sleep if you’re having trouble.
MYTH: Insomnia is characterized by difficulties falling asleep. (This is my life! I can fall asleep but middle of the night wake ups or super early wake ups crush me!)
FACT: While it’s one of the characteristics of insomnia, difficulty falling asleep is only one of many signs of insomnia. The others include waking up too early and not being able to fall back asleep, frequent awakenings, and waking up feeling unrefreshed. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2002 Sleep in America poll, 58 percent of adults reported at least one symptom of insomnia within a calendar year.
Now, how about some actionable things that you can do to improve your sleep? I wanted to use my yoga knowledge and training and share my favorite yoga poses to help you get a better night’s sleep.
YOGA FOR SLEEP AND RELAXATION
As a certified yoga teacher, I often get the question: Why is yoga the perfect thing to help you with sleep and relaxation? Well, stress and anxiety are the most common causes of sleep issues and countless studies have shown the benefits of yoga in reducing stress and anxiety. It’s a great natural sleep aid!
You don’t have to be super flexible to practice yoga and you don’t have to do an hour-long, demanding practice to see the benefits. Just incorporating these five simple poses into your evening routine can help you quiet your mind before bed.
What will make these five simple poses so powerful is your awareness of and connection to your breath. This will help to lower cortisol levels (which is the stress hormone!) so that you feel more at peace in your mind and body…thus resulting in better sleep!
MY FAVORITE NATURAL SLEEP HELPERS FROM CVS PHARMACY
There are other natural sleep helpers that I love beyond yoga and many I can find at CVS Pharmacy. Here are just a few of my favorites.
- rareESSENCE dream travel candle with lavender, armoise and clary sage essential oils. Lighting a candle is always part of my evening wind down routine and this one smells lovely!
- Warmies Slippers. You can heat these slippers in the microwave! Need I say more?
- Nature’s Truth Good Night essential oil roll on. This roll on has a base of sunflower seed oil with lavender, tangerine, bergamot, cypress, geranium, frankincense, and chamomile essential oils. It’s great to keep on my nightstand to dab onto my wrists or behind my ears for a little comfort and relaxation.
- Mist Your Mood lavender room spray. I spritz this around both mine and Finn’s room at least once or twice a day. It smells wonderful!
- Be Well Teas – Get Some Zzzzzs. This soothing caffeine-free herbal tea features mint and citrus notes with passionflower and chamomile. It also has valerian root extract for a little natural sleep helper.
- Nature’s Bounty Goodnight Lovely Softgels with melatonin and hyaluronic acid. I love these melatonin soft gels on nights that I need a little extra help unwinding.
Let’s talk sleep. What’s your current relationship with sleep? Are you sleeping enough or too little? How does sleep impact your day-to-day functioning?
What helps you unwind and sleep better at night?
Have you tried things like yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, melatonin, etc for sleep?
Image credit: Deeana Kourtney Photogprahy.