How to Create a Blissful Sleep Oasis
Acella Pharmaceuticals, LLC., is partnering with Heather Procknal, NBC-HWC-CHC, to bring greater awareness to the importance of thyroid care and education. This post was sponsored by Acella Pharmaceuticals and should not be construed as medical advice. Please talk to your doctor about your individual medical situation.
One of the symptoms of hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is that “tired-yet-wired” feeling.
If blissful sleep is only a distant memory for you thanks to an underperforming thyroid, then keep reading. There is hope for a great night’s sleep if you first set the stage with some simple pre-sleep strategies.
As you know, your thyroid plays a crucial role in managing your hormones, blood sugar, stress and sleep cycle. If your sleep is compromised and you’re not getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep, then it can take a toll on every system in your body.1 To say sleep is important is an understatement.
Restful Sleep Benefits:
Helps regulate hormones including estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, melatonin and adrenalin, which can all impact your ability to lose weight
Gives your digestive system a chance to rest
Recharges your brain for optimal cognitive function
Allows your body to enter a parasympathetic state, which can decrease anxiety and stress
Balances blood sugar levels
Resets your energy reserves
Tips for Making Restful Sleep Attainable
Now that we’ve stressed how important sleep is, let’s dive into what you can do to make falling asleep and staying asleep more attainable.
Make sure you’re prioritizing physical activity in some form every day. Exercise earlier in the day rather than closer to bedtime. Your body temperature varies slightly throughout the day and is ideally 1 to 2 degrees lower in the evening and throughout nighttime. By getting your exercise done earlier, you allow your body to cool down and set the stage for a better night’s sleep. Exercise has also been linked to more restful sleep, making even a little bit of walking beneficial to catching those elusive Zs.
Pro Tip: Aim to have exercise completed at least two hours before bedtime. If you can’t get in a workout, try some gentle stretching.
Balance Your Blood Sugar
If you find yourself waking in the middle of the night, it could be due to low blood sugar. When your body experiences low blood sugar it reacts by raising cortisol levels to trigger the release of glucose. But when this happens, it can jolt you awake before it’s time to get up.
Pro Tip: To avoid this abrupt break in your sleep, try having a protein rich snack with good healthy fats, such as a handful of Brazil nuts or a small banana with peanut butter close to bedtime.
Reduce Blue Light Exposure
Blue light is impactful to your sleep because it directly affects your body's production of the hormone melatonin. One recent Harvard study found a strong correlation between lowered melatonin production and increased blue light exposure.2 This is interesting because melatonin is responsible for making you feel drowsy and exposure to blue light suppresses the production of this important hormone.
The sun is our greatest source of blue light, but LED screens, fluorescent lighting, phones, laptops, tablets and any many other artificial light sources emit blue light. Once the sun goes down, we are no longer triggered to start producing melatonin if we are looking at TV and phone screens late into the evening.
Pro Tip: Set a reminder to put blue light emitting devices away at least one to two hours before bedtime. Or wear blue-light blocking glasses to help reduce the hormone-blocking effects of these light sources.
Create a Cool, Calm, Comfy Cave
How cool is your room?
Experts at sleep.org recommend “… thinking of your bedroom as a cave – it should be quiet, cool, and dark for the best chance at getting enough rest.” They also suggest setting your thermostat to a cooler temperature, ideally between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit.3 You want it to be chilly enough so that you can snuggle under your covers and be warm but not roasting.
When you picture your room, is it free of clutter and distractions?
If not, then clear out things such as work- or school-related items and move them to another room. While you’re at it, clear off your bedside tables and leave only the essentials. This will allow your mind to settle in and focus on sleep rather than feeling compelled to solve that last problem or send one more email.
Are your bed and pillows supportive and cozy?
The Better Sleep Council recommends replacing your mattress every seven to 10 years.4 But this can vary greatly depending on your personal comfort and support needs. It’s also recommended that you replace your pillows every year, as they can lose shape, fill with dust mites and harbor dirt and grim. Ewww!
Is your bedroom very dark when you go to sleep?
Beyond avoiding the use of a phone or computer in bed, what are some other sources of light that might disturb your slumber? Turn your alarm clock face down or cover it so it’s not lighting up the room. If you must use a night light for midnight bathroom breaks, consider using motion sensor night lights so they’re not shining all night long.
Pro Tip: Take a bedroom inventory today and see how it stacks up. Then make a point to create the best “sleep cave” you can, one modification at a time.
BONUS! Sleep-Time Spray
Now that you know how to set yourself up for sleep success, here is an easy DIY Sleepy-Time Spray that you can make to spritz on your bed sheets or pillow before you drift off into a rejuvenating blissful slumber!
What You'll Need:
100 milliliters amber or blue glass spray bottle with atomizer
1 large glass measuring cup with pouring spout
1 small funnel
20 milliliters unscented witch hazel or vodka (you can use the cheap stuff)
70 milliliters of filtered water or deionized water (don’t use tap water)
15 drops lavender essential oil
<15 drops bergamot essential oil
10 drops frankincense essential oil
Measure all ingredients and combine in large glass measuring cup with spout.
Use the small funnel while pouring into the 100 milliliters glass spray bottle.
Return atomizer to glass spray bottle.
Before spraying, give the bottle a few shakes to redistribute the ingredients, otherwise the oils settle on top.
Spritz your pillow a few times and allow a minute for the alcohol (if you used vodka) to evaporate and the essential oil aroma to develop. Breathe deeply and enjoy the calming benefits of this relaxing pillow spray.