I’m not sure what it is about this season in our lives, but in our household, we’re craving challenges and ‘newness’ that has spurred us to pursue a new monthly goal. September was our Whole30 Challenge, October was our month of being ‘unplugged’ from the TV, and here we are in November with the title of Namaste.
I just finished reading the Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington, and it totally blew my mind. I’m a great sleeper and have always had that talent and passion for good quality sleep, but that book throws all sorts of scary statistics at you about the detriment that poor or little sleep can have in our lives, now and into the future. The best takeaway I got from the book was that we must prioritize sleep every day, and adjust/change our habits in order to do so. Thus came the idea for Namaste November.
The challenge I constructed is centered around our sleeping, and therefore morning, routines. When we go to bed late, we get up late, press that snooze button one too many times, and our days begin with rushed activity and breakfast eaten at the counter or thrown into to-go containers. It’s neither relaxed nor fulfilling and certainly not a positive tone to set for the day. I honestly cannot yet understand how people with kiddos manage it, but major gold stars for those of you who make it out the door with your sanity or lunch in hand.
So here’s the deal, earlier bedtimes and a 10 minute yoga session in the morning upon rising.
In the Sleep Revolution, Arianna suggests calculating how much sleep you need – for me 9 hours is optimal – and then count backwards from your wake time. From there, determine what pre-bedtime rituals you want to allow time for and set an alarm or schedule a ‘meeting’ to make it happen. Here’s how I calculated our new bedtime (working backwards):
6:40am Wake time
9:40pm Lights out
8:40pm Bedtime ‘meeting’ alarm goes off – this prompts prepping for bed (ie. washing my face/showers, walking the dog and turning off/putting away all electronic devices)
If you’re like me, that 8:40pm ‘meeting’ sounds ridiculous. But that’s the idea, right? To make sleep a priority. And if you have to get it on the books, then do it. Who’s going to fault you for trying to get more sleep? Sure, my friends laughed outright when I told them that I’d have to be home by 8:40pm this month, but if we’re being honest, their sleep habits aren’t anything to be envious of, so I’m not sure they’re the right people to be taking slack from.
The other side of the Namaste November challenge was to create a morning ritual that allows for us to set an intention for the day. If my husband and I can knock out a quick 10 minutes of yoga together, it creates a mini date, first thing in the morning, and begins our day with an activity that encourages purpose and calm. Maybe yoga isn’t it for you. Perhaps it’s a walk around the block with the dog, or a few interval sprints in the driveway, or just a good cup of coffee on the patio while you read this blog. Whatever your remedy, I would encourage you to allow yourself 10 minutes in the morning to honor the day and set intention for what it may hold.
Now that you understand the challenge, what time will you be heading to bed?
Here are a few of my favorite bedtime ‘tools’ and books currently on my bedside:
Socks: These are toe-alignment socks that have saved my feet from what I like to call my ‘clubbing’ days. Remember those nights you wore platform pumps for 6+ hours and didn’t even flinch? These socks will work to reverse that damage you’ve done to your little piggies.
Glasses: These glasses are by no means glamorous, but when we’re prioritizing sleep and resetting our bedtime routines, glamor isn’t really the focus. I pop these blue-light blocking glasses on when I’m reading before bed (whether on my Nook or a hardbound book), or if I happen to be looking at a computer or phone screen after my 8:40pm cutoff. They’re meant to keep your brain in that proper circadian rhythm that we’re all craving and should help you catch those Zzzz’s sooner. Learn more here.
Sleep mask: This mask is so pretty and while it’s not the exact model I use, I do wonder how I ever slept without a mask before now. It’s totally magical.
Sleep Revolution: I can’t say enough about this book, although my friends can probably testify that I’ve tried. Just read it and then pass it along.
Contagious: My hubby requested this book for his birthday but it’s made it’s way onto my side of the covers. Thought-provoking storytelling about why ideas take off and go viral. As a marketer, this is a great refresher for my daily focus.
Diffuser: This sweet diffuser makes so much sense. Go to bed and wake up with the healing powers of essential oils.
Yoga mat: I personally own a Lululemon mat, and shelled out some serious $$ for it, but when I was researching Christmas presents last year for my cousin, this Gaiam mat came in with rave reviews.
Sweet dreams for now and Namaste,