Written by Julianne Sack, 2023 Let Go & Grow Summer Intern
Edited by The LG&G Team
Ah, sleep- the magical realm where dreams flourish and rejuvenation happens. We all know how amazing it feels to wake up after a restful night’s sleep, ready to conquer the world. If having one goodnight’s rest is capable of making us feel empowered for the day, imagine a consistent schedule of goodnight’s rests. While we sleep, there are many important functions that our bodies undergo. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke have an article that states that, “Sleep is important to a number of brain functions, including how nerve cells (neurons) communicate with each other. In fact, your brain and body stay remarkably active while you sleep. Recent findings suggest that sleep plays a housekeeping role that removes toxins in your brain that build up while you are awake.”
While we sleep it allows our brains to take in what happened while we were awake and to soak and store this information we may have learned or discarded.
The Sleep Pregame
To overcome any struggles with falling asleep, it is really important to have a routine, which overtime, will become a habit. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time everyday facilitates our body’s natural circadian rhythm. Aside from having a certain schedule, it is nice to make the process of going to sleep something that you can enjoy. Here, you can consider spending more time in your self-care routine before going to bed or coming up with a sort of sleepy ritual. This can include dimming the lights, lighting candles, taking a bath, journaling, or drinking a cup of tea every night. It can also include setting work boundaries or removing technological activity so that they don’t blur into the night- all of which will slowly start to be recognized by your body and can then associate this “ritual” to sleeping and will naturally start to ease and calm your mind.
In Dr. Brooke’s article titled What Clears Your Mind At Night?, she states “Developing a nighttime routine can help your system wind down and opt into a calm and relaxed state…checking off your to-do list literally floods your system with neurochemicals, like dopamine, as you begin to take pride in yourself and build confidence. This can be a check by a drink water this morning, eat lunch at 12 or wake up by 5:45!” Things like checking off a list can be so relieving and put your mind at ease.
For many of us, it can be difficult to sleep at night because of external factors. This can be loud noises, roommates, neighbors, kids, or even pets. Most of the time these external factors are out of our control, but we can try our best to limit them within our own space. Creating a peaceful environment even hours before you normally go to sleep can be very beneficial. Meditation can be a very powerful tool for your environment, the energy of your body gets toned down and your mind is cleared to allow new space for rest.
Trying aromatherapy could potentially bring you into a deeper sleep state much quicker, especially when combined with meditation. Surprisingly enough, there is a relationship between sleep and smell. According to Alex Dimitriu, a psychiatrist who works for the sleepfoundation.org, he states in an article titled How Smell Affects Your Sleep, “One factor that influences the sense of smell is the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is known for how it promotes sleeping during the night and wakefulness during the day, but it affects numerous other bodily processes as well. Sensitivity to smell can change throughout the day, and lower sensitivity at night helps encourage sleep. Sleep can also contribute to how smell is perceived and remembered…Research has also shown that smell can have an effect on how long it takes to fall asleep, in addition to overall sleep quality and quantity. Distinct scents may promote better sleep, help people wake up in the morning, or even influence dreams and memory formation during sleep.”
There are many scents that have been known to be more “relaxing” such as lavender, bergamot, chamomile, or rose. Simply inhaling these, putting them into a diffuser, or even spraying them on your bed sheets can potentially enhance your sleep.
Your Daytime Routine
How you sleep at night totally depends on what you do while you’re awake to sort of gain this momentum leading up to ultimate relaxation. Exercise can be extremely rewarding when it comes to your sleep quality. Whether it’s weight lifting, going on a run/ walk, yoga or swimming- anything that can exhaust your physical state and get you moving will essentially make it easier for you to fall asleep. In Dr. Brooke’s Holistic Guide Book, she has a bulleted list titled Keys to a Great Sleep, here are some of those bullets…
- Move for 5 minutes upon waking and try to get 10-20 minutes of direct sunlight in the early hours of the day
- Avoid caffeine after 2 pm
- Make sure your room is cool or that you are at a comfortable temperature
- Make sure the room is completely dark by turning off all of the lights, if outside light is coming in you can purchase blackout curtains
- Keep your phone and other technology at least 10 feet away from you
- Go to bed around the same time each night, ideally before 10 pm
Overall, sleep is crucial to our brain, mind, and body. In sleep we reconnect with the unconscious and liberate toxins for a total body restoration. For more information on building a solid foundation, check out the Let Go & Grow Mind Body Reset Program and other resources available on Let Go & Grow’s website.
Julianne Sack comes from a small town in southwest Florida known as Naples where she lived most her life and decided to come to Orlando to study Biomedicine. Julianne’s parents are both immigrants from South America who came to the states for not only a better life for themselves but a better life for their future children. Julianne has always enjoyed challenges and believed a medical career would suit her ethic, but as she grew up, she discovered a lot of corruption and dishonesty in the medical field and decided this may not be the right path for her. During the quarantine of Covid-19, she spent a lot of time with herself and started to learn a lot about the power of the mind and healing the body through more natural remedies and activities. In turn, Julianne’s path for her future now consists of functional medicine and holistic counseling.