Do you sleep enough? According to the National Institutes of Health, adults need seven to eight hours of sleep on average, yet lots of us feel it’s a special day to get close to the minimum seven.
Beyond feeling horrible, being moody or depressed and looking sleepless, (none of these fun), a 2013 study in Surrey, England revealed that less than six hours of sleep a night for a week can alter the expression of over 700 genes — and many of those genes are related to the immune system and stress responses. This further supports the idea that a lack of sleep can cause or exacerbate depression, inflammatory diseases and even obesity.
Sleep can transform your life. It can make you smarter, happier, healthier, more intuitive, fresh-faced, much sexier, a better athlete, a more creative being … and the list goes on!
Trying to get more sleep? There are so many feng shui ways to create a better environment for the kind of restful sleep that restores your cells and resets your spirit, yet a handful of these tips are essentials:
1. Clear your mind.
Try to avoid going to sleep angry, worried, overwhelmed or sad as much as possible! If your mind races when your head hits your pillow, get up and dump your thoughts down on paper. If you're feeling blue, writing endless pages of everything you are grateful for — and I mean everything — will help you feel more at ease.
2. Clear your bedroom.
Cluttered closets, beds stuffed with storage underneath (be careful you aren’t sleeping on top of bad memories or problems) and otherwise cluttered nightstands and dressers are similar to thoughts that run endlessly through your mind, creating energy blocks and heightening chaos rather than calm.
3. Dim the lights.
As the sun sets, start lowering lights in your home. Keep turning them down as you get closer to bedtime. Bright light late and night can interrupt your sleep patterns.
4. Quit electronics.
At least an hour before bed (optimally two), shut down as many electronics as you can. Try to stop working on your computer and phone before bed. This small act of unplugging will do wonders for your feeling of balance, as well as your sleep cycles, since the light from computers, phones and TVs also wreaks havoc on your sleep rhythms.
5. Give up afternoon energy drinks.
If it means you're tired for a while in the afternoon, so be it for a few days. Quitting late-in-the-day coffee, tea, energy potions and, for me, green smoothies (am I the only one that feels hyper-energized for hours after drinking one?) will set you on a course toward more blissful bedtimes.
6. Drink a natural sleep potion.
Chamomile tea is always a favorite, but my most potent sleep potion is a teaspoon of powered magnesium stirred into a cup of hot water.
7. Let air and energy circulate.
Stagnation is never good for rejuvenation. If you live in a noisy neighborhood or can’t leave a window slightly open for any reason, a small fan can help keep air circulating in your space. You don’t need to sleep with it on (though you certainly can), but airing out your bedroom each night creates a fresh space for sleep.
8. Bring in the earth element.
Earth is the grounding element of feng shui, and it does wonders to create a more peaceful environment. Earth toned colors, stones, crystals, clay … all of these materials and colors create a more relaxing space.
9. Try some aromatherapy.
A few drops of lavender, rose or frankincense essential oil on the soles of your feet can be an enormously relaxing nighttime ritual. Lighting a few lavender candles in your bedroom can also do the trick, blanketing your space in fragrance.
10. Count sheep!
Counting from 100 to 0 was a very early childhood sleep tip that never fails when I am feeling restless. You can picture yourself walking down 100 stairs toward bed, or literally counting sheep, but the act of meditative calm (even a great deep breathing exercise) is the perfect lead-in to a bedtime.
While there are tons of other ways to create a balanced bedroom, these basics are the foundation of a great night’s rest. Once you start sleeping more, you will have far more grounded energy and a greater awareness of all you can shift in your home and life to help you to create more of everything you want … but it starts with sleep!