It is Day 1 of the Finding Flow & Making Meaning 30 day Challenge. And in today’s video you will find me on location.
Yes, sitting in my bed.
Because today I talk about what I feel is the MOST IMPORTANT Soul Flow Practice you can implement in your day.
Besides being a writer, blogger, Intuitive Consultant and Intuitive Soul Coach, I am also a 911 Public Safety Dispatcher. I work 11 hour shifts, 44 hours a week if I don’t have overtime or training days. I work weekends and holidays.
And I work nights.
If I’m lucky, I get 6 hours of sleep on a work day. But usually it’s around 5 hours. On my first day off, like today, I am awake 18 hours, I’ll take a 3 hour nap, so I can turn my body around and sleep tonight. (Sleeping at night is important, as I’ll explain.)
I am sleep deprived by the nature of this work.
Yet, even on my days off, I am known to short change myself on pillowtime in order to fit “more important” tasks into the day.
I know I am not alone in being sleep deprived.
We have a sleep deprivation CRISIS in our modern lives. In 1942, only 11 percent of the population got less than six hours of sleep per night. Today, 40 percent of us get less than six hours.
Because of this, 60 million prescriptions for sleeping pills are written every year.
As a result of sleep deprivation, tired drivers are involved in 328,000 traffic collisions each year in the United States. 6,400 of these are fatal.
Science is beginning to prove that sleep plays a vital role in every aspect of our health – from weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease to cancer and Alzheimer’s. And our cultural dismissal of sleep as “wasting time” compromises our decision-making, our work lives, our relationships and our happiness.
People like to brag # NOTIMEFORSLEEP.
When in reality no time for sleep is not cool, it’s costly.
I definitely felt that my lack of quality sleep was one the biggest contributor to many of the issues I was experiencing a few months ago. I had to confront that head on and remind myself that sleep is one of the most sacred spaces we have.
Sacred Sleep became the first of my 6 Soul Flow practices.
So how can you begin?
Here are 7 things you can do to prepare for sleep, and create a foundation for a better waking life.
1. Take a hot bath
Soaking in a hot bath for 20 minutes, two hours before sleep can work wonders. You see, your body temperature naturally cools down at night, which signals the body to prepare for sleep. If you soak in a hot tub, not only is that relaxing, but your temperature rises. That creates a steeper and faster drop in tempurature—which can put you in a deeper sleep, faster.
2. Turn Down the Lights
Late in the evening, your pineal gland in your brain releases the chemical melatonin, which makes you sleepy—the hormone of darkness—but it will not flow with the lights on. Dimming the lights in the evening can create the right chemistry for sleep.
3. Turn off the TECH
You’re gonna hate me for this, but the #1 thing keeping you from getting to sleep and sleeping well is your technology. The artificial blue light from our televisions and computer screens and phones are stimulating and disrupts our melatonin production and our circadian rhythms.
An hour before bed, turn off the tv, and computer, put your phone face down across the room, and begin slowing down your brain by doing something calming, like reading an analog book.
4. Turn Routines into Sleep Prep Rituals
Go through your bedtime routines mindfully, consciously acknowledging that you are preparing yourself for sleep. While you are doing your beauty regimen, brushing your teeth, laying out your clothes… be mindful of the intention that you are preparing for sleep.
Take this time to write in your journal, or do a gratitude practice as you review your day. If you are spiritual or religious, meditate or pray. These things set the tone for your sacred sleep space.
5. Limit drinking and evening snacks
This is gonna be unpopular too. It was for me! A definitely appreciate some “wine down” time, if you know what I mean. Unfortunately, alcohol may initially make you drowsy, but later one in the night, as it metabolizes into sugarit will disrupt your sleep patterns. This will keep you from getting the deep, restorative sleep your body literally needs to survive.
Also, eating a meal or snack before bedtime keeps your body active while it is trying to digest. This keeps a part of you from fully getting into a restful state.
If you drink a lot of any liquid before bed, it can cause you to get up in the night to use the bathroom. So it is good to keep fluids to a minimum. If you do have to get up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, DO NOT CHECK YOUR PHONE, and keep the lights low so you don’t disrupt your melatonin production.
6. White Noise
I keep a fan running all night for the white noise it provides. If I really want to get a deeper sleep, I play a recording of Brown Noise. Brown Noise has more bass in it… like ocean waves without the distraction of the repetition.
Some people swear by Binaural Beats. Binaural Beats are brainwave entrainment recordings you play through headphones. They sync your brainwaves to the frequency of the audio track. So if you are wide awake and alert in a Beta state, and play binaural beats that are at a Theta state, your brain will match that frequency and you will fall asleep.
7. Sacred Place
Last but not least, this is Shannan-backed, not science-backed: create a place for sleep that makes you say “ahhhhhh.” Make it pretty. Or minimilistic. Or fluffy. Whatever type of environment that relaxes you. (Dudes be like, “I’m sleeping in the garage!”)
Seriously! Buy nice, soft sheets. Invest in the right pillow for yourself. Make it smell good with candles, room or linen spray. You spend a THIRD of your life there (or at least you should be) so make it worthy of that.
Wash your sheets at least once a week! And seriously, MAKE YOUR BED! There is a huge difference between getting in an unmade bed, with wrinkled sheets and the remnant energy from the night before still present, and unwrapping a freshly made bed. It’s like opening a gift.
Make it special.
Make Sleep Sacred!
TOMORROW is DAY 2!
Come back tomorrow for DAY 2 of our 30 Day Challenge, where I will be talking about my favorite Soul Flow Practice of all: #InstaSoul
Be sure to download your FREE “Soul Flow” Workbook so you can develop and implement a daily practice that cultivates FLOW and Makes Meaning in your life. Then join the Challenge on the SOUL SIDE OUT Facebook Page.
It is never to late to join in. You can #MakeFLOWhappen today!
If you have any questions, leave a comment, drop me an email, or message me on Facebook. And if you’ve got Soul Flow ideas or suggestions, I would loooove to hear about ’em.