Whether you’re someone who happens to be big on making New Year’s resolutions or not, if there is one thing that I definitely think every single reader on our platform should commit to doing in 2022, it’s getting some sound sleep on a consistent basis. Between all of these variants of COVID that are creeping up, the emotional roller coaster rides that keep on coming politically, professionally and financially, compounded with the everyday stress that comes from, shoot, just being a human on planet earth, now, more than ever, sleep has to be treated like it always should have been — an absolutely essential thing to do. Not some of the time but every single day of our lives.
So, how about doing your health and well-being a solid by making the following 10 sleep-related promises to yourself? Without question, being well-rested is one of the surefire ways to handle all that will come your way. That’s pretty much a guarantee. Anyway, on to the promises.
1. “I Will Get No Less Than Six Hours Each Night”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 3 of us do not get enough sleep. And how much should that be? Believe it or not, even as an adult, you should be getting somewhere between 7-9 hours, each and every night for the sake of “recharging” your system. If you don’t, it could eventually lead to things like mood swings; stress; low productivity; poor decision-making; weak immunity; weight gain; lack of balance; a low libido; a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes, and even shortened longevity.
Listen, I know that hectic work schedules, kids, and whatever else you’ve got going on can make being in bed for nine hours seem like a real stretch; that’s why I said “six” in the title. That said, if you’re currently out here getting any less than that, that’s not good and the older you get, the more you’re going to notice it. Again, sleep is not a luxury; it’s a priority. Go into this year making sure that you treat it as such. Everything about you absolutely depends on it. Straight up.
2. “I Will Not Eat or Drink Two Hours Before Bedtime”
If you’re someone who struggles with acid reflux, you can’t account for some of the pounds that you’ve been packing on and/or it drives you crazy that you have to keep getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom (especially since sometimes that can make falling back asleep seem damn near impossible), it could be because you are eating too close to bedtime. Consuming foods and drinks less than 2-3 hours before retiring for the night can cause your metabolism to slow down which can make it harder for you to digest your food (which can sometimes trigger heartburn).
Not only that but midnight snacking typically leads to eating foods that are full of sugar (which can keep you up). Plus, it’s pretty much a guarantee that drinking right before bed is going to result in you needing to empty your bladder at some point. So, if you want to sleep more soundly, stay out of the kitchen two hours before bedtime. If you don’t…prepare to deal with the consequences. Literally.
3. “I Will Also Be Intentional About What I Snack on After Dinner”
And what if you’re not prepared to stop snacking before bedtime? You’re grown, chile. Just make sure that you are more intentional about what you put into your mouth. Almonds are high in magnesium which can help to settle your nerves. Kiwi can boost your serotonin levels so that you’re able to fall asleep faster. Cheese and sunflower seeds both have tryptophan in them; this is a good thing because it’s an amino acid that can increase your melatonin levels which is a hormone that helps to regulate your sleeping patterns.
Sweet potatoes are dope because potassium, magnesium, and calcium can lower your blood pressure. Popcorn is a healthy carb that can help to produce more tryptophan in your system. Dark chocolate is loaded with magnesium (which can also keep your circadian rhythms in check). Pineapple is able to boost your melatonin levels too. And while you really should watch the drinking thing, if you must, tart cherry juice has a good amount of melatonin in it, oat milk contains tryptophan, and chamomile tea is great at relaxing you.
4. “I Will Create a Regular Sleep Schedule”
One definition of schedule is “a plan of procedure, usually written, for a proposed objective…”. When it comes to sleep if your “proposed objective” is to get all of the rest that your mind, body, and spirit require, you need to put a plan into action. This includes deciding what time you are going to retire every night, what your “wind down routine” will require and what time you want to wake up the following morning. For instance, if you want to turn in at 10 p.m. each night and get up at 6 a.m. (eight hours), you should give yourself 1-1 ½ hours to get ready.
This can include taking a shower or bath; reading a couple of chapters of your favorite book or listening to a podcast episode; doing some meditating and/or praying; listening to some soothing music; journaling; relaxing with an essential oil diffuser on; having sex (more on that in a bit) — whatever will de-stress you and relax you is ideal. Just keep in mind that the key to making a sleep schedule/routine work for you is that you do it, as consistently as possible, without fail, each and every night…until it becomes a natural habit.
5. “I Will Give Myself a Foot Massage at Least Three Times a Week”
It’s kinda crazy how many people ignore their feet when it comes to getting a good night’s rest. The reason why I say that is because a good foot massage can do everything from increasing blood circulation and easing pain to reducing anxiety and encouraging relaxation. The key to a successful foot massage at night is to apply an essential oil or even some CBD oil to (especially) your soles. The reason why is because there are thousands of pores on your feet (some say as much as 2,000) and they contain some of the largest pores on your entire body; this means that the oils that you put there will absorb into your system faster.
And just what kind of oils are best? Lavender will calm you. Ylang-ylang will slow down your heart rate. Bergamot reduces stress levels. Sandalwood will help to balance out your moods. And peppermint can reduce seasonal allergies so that you can rest more soundly. As far as CBD oil goes (something I’ve been using for my own feet for most of this year), it helps to relieve aches and pains and it works like a sedative which is always a good thing once you’re ready to catch some zzz’s.
6. “I Will NOT Have Deep Convos Prior to Bedtime”
A few years ago, Elite Daily published an article that said the best time for people to have deep conversations is during the evening hours. The logic is when you are more relaxed, you’re better at listening and communicating. While I understand the logic, my two cents are that “evening” should be no later than dinnertime. Yes, I am a huge fan of pillow talk between couples; still, I don’t think that should mean discussing bills, relationship stresses, or even sexual critiques. Although some people can compartmentalize these types of discussions to the point where they can have them, roll over and then sleep like a baby, most of us (especially people who are overthinkers) cannot.
Bottom line, when it comes to the really deep discussions that tend to take a lot out of you mentally, schedule times, preferably outside of the bedroom to have those. Inside of it, discuss things that create positive vibes and will make the two of you feel closer and safer. It can’t be said enough that a lot of interior decorators believe that bedrooms should ONLY be for sex and sleep; definitely not low-key business meetings or draining debates. Personally, I couldn’t agree more.
7. “I Will Not Use My Phone As a Way to Fall Asleep”
I’ve got a girlfriend who is a literal insomniac. She’s not really helping matters either because she is pretty much glued to her phone. She falls asleep looking at it and if she happens to get up in the middle of the night, she won’t go back to bed without peeking at the screen first. Yeah, that’s a real problem because not only does whatever intel she may see on her phone increase her chances of becoming preoccupied as her mind gets to racing but the blue light that comes from her phone screen can actually disrupt the melatonin production within her system.
I promise you that whatever is happening on your phone will be right there, waiting for you, come morning. So, unless you’ve got some folks within your home who are traveling or there’s a sick person who you are checking on and you want to leave the phone on in case of emergencies, there’s no need for your ringer to be on. Shoot, here’s a novel concept — how about turning it completely off until morning? (Close your mouth, it is indeed possible. LOL.)
8. “I Will Incorporate More ASMR”
If you’ve ever wondered what ASMR stands for, it’s Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. And what the heck does that mean? Well, a nickname for ASMR that might make more sense is “brain massage.” Yep, when you watch or listen to an ASMR video, it literally massages your brain in a way that activates the production of hormones like dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins — all of which are beneficial to you getting a good night’s rest.
For the past couple of years, I’ve been sleeping to the sound of rain falling and it has only taken my quality of sleep to another level. So, even if it’s not in your budget to cop an ASMR machine, at least hop onto YouTube to listen to the rain, wind, fans, ocean waves, or some other nature sound that can calm you, drown out outside noise, and take your quality of sleep to an entirely new level. (Just go to YouTube and put ASMR and the sound you are looking for into the search field. A lot of them will run for 7-10 hours without any commercial breaks.)
9. “I Will Sleep Naked More Often”
For many years, I’ve slept without any panties on, just so that my vagina can “breathe” (check out “What Your Vagina Wishes You Would Do More Often”). But it’s only been the past few years or so that I’ve been sleeping completely naked and boy — I really wish I’d been doing it for all of my adult life! On this platform, we’re such a fan of it that an entire article has been devoted to why it’s such a smart thing to do (check out “Yes, Sleeping Naked Could Help Your Anxiety & Sleep Pattern”).
Some of the perks that aren’t mentioned in this piece include the fact that sleeping in the nude can put you in a better mood, boost your metabolism, help you to maintain healthy skin, improve infertility (for both men and women) and most definitely increase your chances of gettin’ a lil’ sumthin’ sumthin’ if you happen to have someone in the bed with you. When you sit and think about all of the ways that sleeping naked can benefit you, it’s kinda crazy that only roughly 29 percent of people do it with only around 17 percent who do it every night. Still, if there is ever a time when you should want to be the exception and not the rule, sleeping in your birthday suit should most definitely top the list.
10. “Sex Will Become More of a Constant at Nighttime”
If you’re currently practicing abstinence or there isn’t a “contender” in your life right now, I’ll just say that this is a promise that you should make to yourself whenever the time is right. For the rest of you, though, definitely check out “Why Couples Should Engage In ‘Midnight Sex’ More Often” and seriously consider taking it to heart. The reason why I say that is because, if there is one act that can relax your body, calm your senses and make you feel safe and sound all night long, it’s sex — sex right before going to sleep.
For men, it increases their prolactin levels which can make them super drowsy, and for us, after sex, our estrogen levels tend to get a boost which can result in our REM cycle enhancing which can definitely help us to sleep so much better. Hmph. Not like any of us should need another reason to get it in more often, but if more sleep is what you’re after, more sex can certainly help you out. Happy New Year, y’all!
Featured image by Getty Images