It’s not a surprise that many of us struggle with incompetence in our bedrooms. By incompetence I mean between us and our bed. Many of us reading right now struggle with acquiring adequate amounts of sleep needed for us to live healthier, creative and fruitful lives. There are many studies, podcasts, books and my favorite TED talks that educate us on how important it is for us to catch as many Zs’ as we can during nighttime. However here is a new outlook on resting and possibly a better way to enhance your sleep life. You thought I would say sex life. Stick with it people! Even though I can attest to being one who’d rather intertwine my soul with my lover in between the sheets during the witching hours, I simply look and feel better when I sleep enough hours instead of skipping resting hours for magical pleasures or for getting work done.
Your sleep patterns can grow old with you
Many Americans take sleep for granted. That is very obvious given that we are usually tired, stressed, irritable and unhealthy. It has dawned on me how much our sleeping environment plays part in how much time we spend in between the sheets. Looking back at my history of sleep I have noticed the differences in my sleep patterns differed from the environments in which I was sleeping in. Growing up I always had trouble sleeping. I grew up in a house that technically never slept much like the city I lived in, New York. My father has had insomnia for the most part of his adult life and he could never sleep until everyone was home, in bed and asleep; and after he’s watched a few hours on the tell-lie-vision. Growing up I was very attached to my father and so staying up late with him was a habit I acquired at the early age of five. When I would be too scared to sleep in my own bed in a room I shared with my two sisters I would share the couch with him and the T.V. until 1:00 am. This kind of behavior may have had something to do with the fact that since I was a toddler my father nurtured me a lot and would hold me close to his stomach almost all of the time. When a parent holds their baby close to their body for long periods of time often a child and that parent will develop a strong energetic connection almost as if they become one form of energy a form I like to call love. A child feels protected and the parent feels powerful as if they were protecting the baby from all harms of the world. This created a very strong bond between my father and I which led me to always run to him and my mom’s room in the middle of the night to sleep in their bed whenever I had a bad dream up until the age of twelve. Whichever way you look at this behavior, it is not the healthiest for a child let alone a pre-teenager. Consciously noticing this as I got older, I watched my contributions to my sleep behavior, unsettlingly enough I realized I never practiced any sleep rituals consistently which may have caused me to never gain an adequate amount sleep.
The magic in our bedrooms
Being a knowledge enthusiast, I stumbled upon this amazing book: ‘Sara Snow’s fresh living. The essential room-by-room guide to a greener, healthier family and home.’ By Sara Snow. I immediately became obsessed with this book. This book was exactly what I had been searching for years. In her gifted words she provides practical ways you can green every room in your home, glorify the universe by lessening your carbon footprint outdoors and in your office, all while becoming more health-conscious about your daily habits. It was not a surprise when she began to speak about my favorite room in the home, the bedroom. After all, our bedrooms are a very magical place. Our bedroom is where we dream into a realm of sub-consciousness we are not even aware of. While we sleep it’s almost as if we become superhuman, alive yet spiritually in a different dimension. It sounds enchanted doesn’t it? Well, not if you’re sleeping in a room full of clutter, lights, music, noise, allergens floating everywhere causing you to breathe inadequately. In that case you probably won’t be able to reach a deep sleep – scientifically named REM sleep; rapid eye movement; a unique phase of mammalian sleep characterized by random movement of the eyes, low muscle tone throughout the body, and the propensity of the sleeper to dream vividly.
Beware of your Rituals
When I began reading this particular chapter I started to see all the bad habits I had incorporated in my bedroom that contributed to the reasons why I was not getting in the mood to fall asleep. My biggest issue was always falling asleep, getting in the bed was never difficult for me it was the lying awake for at least two hours before actually falling fast asleep. To begin having a better sleep life, I learned how important the rituals done before bedtime were. Now a ritual does not consist of a musical interpretation of a hocus pocus spell. A ritual is performing an action repeatedly with a desired result. Waking up every morning washing your face and brushing your teeth; that is a mundane ritual, as said by one of my teachers Luisah Teish. At the age of twenty two for the first time I created a bedtime ritual that never failed. I was working very hard to build a foundation for my work and my future. I rented my first one bedroom apartment and felt so blessed to finally have my very own sanctuary that was safe and filled with my essence. Every room smelled like a tropical rain forest filled with sweet fruit. Every room was spacious and clutter free, every door remained opened and lights were usually kept dimmed or lit up by candles. My bed consisted of a foam mattress and enough plush pillows that was equivalent to another body lying on my bed. It was a very cozy bedroom with wall to wall windows and no electronics added. In my opinion, televisions are not meant for a bedroom it ruins the vibe. When a TV is in your room it almost feels like there is multiple spiritual entities in the room with you. Every night at least two hours before needing to fall asleep I began to start shutting off any light that was on in my home and would leave a few tea light candles lit on my night stand. I would shower, brush my teeth, and lather my body with raw coconut oil to prevent dry itchy skin while asleep. I would then cuddle up in my bed with a pen and notepad or a great book to read. Needless to say this easily became a habit, my night time ritual. Never in my life was I ever a morning person until I lived in my own apartment and had my own rituals without any disturbance.
In her book Sara Snow states that 65 percent of Americans sleep less than the recommended seven to eight hours a night. Sleep is often treated like a luxury than a necessity. This to me is an alarming issue because a lot of us do this subconsciously and then it quickly becomes a way of life for us like any other habit unless we pay attention. This then leads us to the possibility of compromising our immune system, have elevated stress hormones, slowed metabolism, and be at risk for heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. This may not be new news for you but my advice would be to begin to pay attention to our habits that create our bedtime rituals. In fact taking note of our rituals around our home as a whole would lead us to have healthier lives than we ever imagined. If we turned off the lights that are not being used more often we can save money, conserve electricity and maybe even calm our anxieties by promoting a romantic ambiance in our homes. Let’s be honest we can all use a little more romance and/or intimacy in our lives. However even if we live alone we need to be able to cater to ourselves in order to be more fruitful and just overall progressive human beings. Maybe romancing your bedroom will be a great start to getting that extra hour of sleep at night that will allow you to wake up on time and ready to start doing those little tasks that you have been putting off to write up your new business proposal. Or maybe romancing your bedroom will offer you a vote of confidence you didn’t have in yourself before because now you can actually think in an organized room that allows you to dance around or practice your new yoga poses when nobody’s around. Whether you’re a mom, dad or a single person starting her/his new business remember to make your room your sanctuary. Make sleep a priority. Make your bedroom your go to place for peace, quiet and tranquility. Romance your bedroom and make sleep life better than ever.
YtheG’s tips for a better night’s sleep
Quiet is best or White noise,
-Nature sounds on Pandora App is my go to. It has a sleep timer. 15 minutes is best option.
Aromatherapy! I use to be big on candles. Now I chose a more natural approach using Oils and Incense. Sage, Chamomile and lavender are my favorite or brew a chamomile tea and let it infuse your home if it’s small.
Comfy, soft bedspreads like satin but if you sweat a lot then 100% cotton will do. Others; Bamboo, Organic cashmere.
Pillows- If you’re like me and love the feeling of being embraced as you venture into the spiritual realm than adorn your bed with at least four comfy pillows or just two and one fluffy body pillow.
Much more important than you think. Get in the mood. Light tea light candles, lantern, or Christmas lights at least an hour before bed. No television. No computers nor iPad or mobile phones. Leave all electronics out of the room.
Get in the mood:
Drink some tea. Draw yourself a bath or a warm shower. Moisturizing your body will prevent dry skin.
A book, not newspaper, article, or magazine because anything-current events may cause high blood pressure in this society. I am not prescribing reading to bore you into sleep. It is to help the transition of your mind and to calm your spirit into a world of imagination.
Brush your teeth & use swishing oil “oil pulling” – a clean mouth surprisingly helps with thirst and relaxation.
Yasmintheresa Garcia is a Mentor and Dietetic Supervisor Intern who is also certifying to become a Birth Doula and Emergency Medical Technician. She hopes to become a wholistic practitioner in the near future.