Long Life Movement

Sleep Better Tonight

A good night’s rest helps us function at our best. If you’ve ever experienced a difficult night with limited sleep, I know you’ll agree.

We know that when we sleep our body goes into repair and recovery mode. When we rest for extended periods, from 6-9 hours, our bodies then have the necessary time to cycle through healing, re-building, and resetting processes including

  • tissue growth and repair
  • memory consolidation
  • the release of hormones that regulate growth and metabolism
  • supporting a healthy immune system
  • energy accumulation.

Sleep takes up at least 1/3 of our lives. It’s a highly productive time that provides us with the needed energy and tissue rejuvenation to live fully during the 2/3 of the time that we are awake.

How Much Sleep Do You Need

Simply, you enough sleep to feel rested and restored. Sleep experts agree on a range of hours based on age. See where you land in this chart.

AgeHours of Sleep
6-13 years old9 to 11 hours
14-17 years old8 to 10 hours
18-64 years old 7 to 9 hours
65+ years old 7 to 8 hours

Establish Your Bedtime

Research shows that establishing a regular bedtime helps, as well as following the natural circadian rhythms of our existence, and assists with a quality night’s sleep.

I’ll concur with the researchers. Furthermore, I’ll admit that so many of us have forgotten how to establish a bedtime routine.

Maybe we never were introduced to routine in our childhood or if, as parents, we never established a routine for others in in adulthood.

Therefore, I recognize that it may be a giant leap for many of us to begin a new pattern of a “bed time routine.”

However, I know, from current mind body research, that our brains are capable of re-wiring and that we are not “stuck.” So, if you are with me — and a believer that we are truly capable of change no matter our age — please give at least one of these ideas a consistent and dedicated “try.”

What does a “try” mean?

Well, it means at least 6 weeks of focused effort. 6- weeks is about 40 days. And if you have read any scripture from any tradition, 40 days is the magic number.

Tap into your faith. Tap into 40 days. It’s either 40 days in a desert or 40 days in a flood.

Recognize that you resonate with either the dry conditions (desert) or the wet conditions (flood) and give yourself the time to create a new routine. 6 weeks. 40 days (42 days if you’re a technical kind of person).

How to establish your bedtime.

  1. Determine your wake up time.

    What time do you want to wake up?

  2. Determine your sleep duration.

    How many hours do you need to sleep? Refer to the chart above for a suggestion on the number of sleep hours for your age.

  3. Determine your bedtime.

    Take your desired wake up time and subtract the number of hours of sleep that you need. The result is your bedtime.

Tips to Sleep Better

We know sleep is good for us. The trick is sometimes it’s just hard to fall asleep. From my studies as a movement teacher, I have discovered a few tips that may help.

  • Stick to a regular bedtime and sleep schedule even on your days off.
  • Exercise every day.
  • In your bedroom, decrease excessive light and sound as well as aim for adequate room temperature.
  • Limit, and if possible, avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Turn off all electronics at least at an hour before your bedtime.

Establishing a Bedtime Routine

If we’ve raised children, we’re accustomed to establishing a bedtime routine for the young ones so that we may rest. Often parents will create a bedtime ritual. A bedtime ritual includes a series of calming and self care activities completed in a precise order at the same time.

As adults we benefit from establishing a bedtime ritual, too. Completing self care tasks provides comfort and a sense of security from the regularity. A regular process allows us to feel calm, safe, and secure.

I think we all would agree that the possibility of good rest always begins with feelings of safety, security, and peace.

How to establish a bedtime routine.

Select a series of bedtime rituals and complete them at the same time every night.

  • One hour before bedtime, turn off all electronics.
  • Take a bath and/or wash your face.
  • Brush and floss your teeth.
  • If you’re prone to leg cramps, do a few leg stretches.
  • Light a candle and as you look at the flame name the blessings in your life and give thanks.
  • Read uplifting poetry, scripture or journal.
  • Extinguish the candle and transition to bed.

May you rest well and feel fully refreshed and energized for the dawn of your next new day.

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about the author

Lisa Long, M.A.

Lisa Long wants to live in a world where Love gives you a "permission slip" to drop the mask and be who you are. Known for her hearty and full-body laugh, Lisa meets people where they are in the present moment. She passionately believes in the healing potential of movement. As a teacher and producer/writer, her work has been featured on Good For You blog, CBS television station affiliates, and telelvision cable channel networks as well her print manual called "Home Practice: A Guide for Healing from Breast Cancer" was published by a 5 hospital health care network. When she's not helping others reach their fullest potential, you'll find Lisa hiking a trail to a waterfall or riding her bike at the beach. Her latest collaboration with a university launches in 2020.

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