I have a complicated relationship with sleep. On one hand, it’s my favorite thing to do. On the other, for a while, it was a major source of anxiety.
Before I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, I was exhausted all the time. I had trouble falling asleep and I’d wake up every couple hours. I could sleep 12 hours, but it would feel like I’d been up all night. Late afternoon became nap time, which, when being involuntary, is a lot less fun than I remembered. Did you know that in Traditional Chinese Medicine, each organ is said to have a specific time during which its most active? If you’re waking up at 3 am every night, like I was, that could mean your liver is off balance and having some trouble detoxifying your body, or that you’re dealing with some kind of latent emotional stress.
Listen to your body, it’s always telling you exactly what it needs and sleep is one of the most important aspects of taking care of it because it’s the time where your body heals, repairs and detoxifies itself.
Here’s to your sweet dreams and mine.
Make time to wind down
Your body can’t just go from 60 to 0, so take some time to wind down. Having a routine sets your body up to know when it’s time to be awake and when it’s time to go to sleep. Get romantic with yourself, dim the lights, take a long Epsom salt bath (magnesium is an amazing sleep aid), lower the temperature in your room, and throw some Saje essential oils into a diffuser, massage them on your temples or even lightly mist your pillow for ultimate relaxation.
I know you’ve heard this before, but try to skip the caffeine and sugar within a 7-hour window of bed. Sometimes I need a boost in the mornings, so I’ll have a cup of Four Sigmatic mushroom coffee with coconut oil. It helps wake me up without the typical coffee jitters plus some adaptogenic benefits, supporting the bodies ability to recover from stress and imbalance.
I also love having a sleep-promoting tonic, that is amazing for your skin and might as well be hot chocolate, before bed every night. The recipe is simple, sugar-free and easy to switch up based on your tastes. I blend 1 cup of hot nut milk, a tablespoon or so of coconut butter, a tablespoon of Sun Potion Tocos for some hair and skin benefiting vitamin E, 2 teaspoons of raw cacao, and 1/2 teaspoon each of reishi and ashwaghanda with a dash cinnamon to reduce the effects of stress and balance blood sugar. It practically knocks me out and makes me prettier at the same time, giving a whole new meaning to beauty sleep.
The virtues of mood lighting
I’m not immune to the lure of late-night Netflix and Instagram, so instead of even suggesting you leave your phone and computer in the other room, just download the f.lux app onto your computer and set your phone to the night shift mode. This will at least decrease the amount of blue light that disrupts your melatonin production, an essential hormone for a good night’s sleep. I also highly recommend the slip silk sleep mask. You check a couple boxes with this one: you’ll sleep more soundly in total darkness and protect the delicate skin around your eyes, all while looking fancy and adorable.
The mattress and the main event
And last, but truly most importantly of all, invest in yourself and get a good mattress. Nothing I mentioned above will matter much if you’re still sleeping on that 5-year-old Ikea mattress like I
was. I just assumed I was supposed to be waking up with an immobile neck every morning until my beloved Avocado mattress came along. What’s so special about the Avocado you ask? Well friend, if you’re spending the recommended minimum 7 to 9 hours a night sleeping, why not do it on a mattress that’s organic and toxin free? It’s the most comfortable mattress I’ve ever experienced and completely free of gas-emitting foams and fire retardants. They even have pillows! I finally feel like that Isabel Marant wearing, Venice beach living, well-rested lady I was always destined to be!
Words, Meghan Stephenson. Image, Terry O’Neil.