Believe it or not, this article is clean of dirty jokes, despite it being about bedroom habits (Although I’m guessing my upcoming article on 5 Proactive Changes I made in the bathroom will include a hefty load of dirty doozies).
Through experimentation and curious implementation, I’ve tested out (and now regularly practice) the following lifestyle adjustments. They may seem small and unlikely to make a difference, but so does Ant-Man. And he’s an Avenger – a really cool one at that. So coming from a 6’0″ gal, size does not matter in the bedroom. Okay, I tried to keep it clean. A for effort. I just love corny jokes. “I need corny in my life.” Are you with me, Simkins?
Without further adieu, here are 5 Proactive Changes I made in the bedroom…
I used to take a long time to fall asleep. I’d lay down and my mind would automatically go over the day’s adventures and tomorrow’s expectations. While my change in nutrition has played a HUGE role in my improved and newfound skills of falling asleep easily – I’ve also experienced the beneficial role of decreasing light stimulation.
Avoid bright, unnatural lights and stimulation before going to bed. This means typical room lights (use a dimmer if you have one), TV, iPad, smartphones, all that jazz. All this lively stimulation disrupts the release of the hormone melatonin, which helps you fall asleep. We’ve gotten into using “Christmas tree lights” – you know, the little twinkle lights – and lamps, which provide a softer glow.
How long should you go without bright lights before bed? As long as you can. Even if it’s 10 minutes, that’s better than zero! Happy snoozing.
Have you ever watched a movie where a beeping morning alarm goes off and you feel an unconscious reaction of tensing up? I used to use a beeper alarm and I swear, I will forever have a Pavlovian response of anxiety. IT’S TIME TO GET UP!
Thank goodness for smart phones with programmable alarms.
Difficulty waking up in the first place? If you’re a “multi snooze-hitter” or a “sleep through your alarm everytime” type of person, your body may not be rejuvenating and recovering the way it needs to be from the day prior. In other words, your quality of sleep needs to improve so you can actually wake up energized (YES, this is actually possible).
This is where your nutrition comes in. Your nutrition plays perhaps the biggest role when it comes to the quality of your sleep. One immediate change you can make is decreasing the stimulating foods you consume (e.g. caffeine, sugar) and increase the nourishing ones (vegetables, healthy fats in avocado, oils, nuts, etc).
Back to alarm buzzers. I’ve forever said so long to any abrupt alarms and opted for a happy and awakening stimuli. My current “wake me up gently” alarm song: Wabash River Float by Thomas Newman, from The Judge (original motion picture soundtrack).
With my improved nutritional choices and this non-crap-myself-awake alarm, I can even wake up ready to roll at 5:08am to teach my 6am Reformer Pilates class at Escape Pilates. Yay! So I’ll see you on Tuesday at 6am, then?
Your muscles and surrounding tissues need movement and blood circulation to bring delicious nutrients in and waste out. Before I ever step my feet onto the floor, I move around in bed, awakening my entire body from my fingers to my toes.
Depending on what you eat, how you move, and the amount of various stresses your body experiences on a day-to-day basis, your body might feel a wee achy, stiff, slow, lethargic, or painful in the morning. Side note: I can also say from first hand experience, training as a professional athlete leaves a major toll on the body, wearing it down with overtraining and / or repetitive movements. Doh! Whatever your fitness or sports background may be, moving around in bed is a user-friendly way to safely assess what’s going on with your body before you put the full weight on your used, and possibly, abused joints.
This has helped HEAPS for my plantar fasciitis and my temporarily-unhappy joints. I would wake up with shocking pain to my foot, requiring me to instinctually grab for anything to hold me up so I could hop, limp, or fumble to the bathroom. To kindly awaken my entire body, I literally create random, mindful, circular movements in as many joints as I can. If this sounds totally random and you’d prefer a bit more guidance to the movement, here are two of my favorite morning active stretches to do in bed (note: these active stretches are beneficial at anytime of day!).
Just about every morning I wake up, I open my bedroom window blinds, look outside and say in a slightly over-ecstatic voice, “Good Morning World!” Is this slightly absurd? Sure, it may seem odd to some. (I’m waiting for the day when someone happens to be walking by at the exact time when I announce myself to the world in my pajamas. Hopefully they say good morning back to me!)
While I began this morning ritual out of pure entertainment, I discovered a fascinating side effect. It sets a positive tone for the day.
Speaking the words aloud is more powerful and uplifting than simply thinking them. It’s the same for when you share your personal goals. To say aloud that my goal is to obtain a master’s degree in holistic nutrition (it’s true, eek, I just said it! Well, wrote it, at least), makes it real and helps me become accountable to it (I’m researching online programs as we speak).
What will your phrase be? If you don’t feel like dancing in front of the window, here are a few other suggestions to say aloud:
1) Today I will _________.
2) I will make the most of today by doing this:
3) Today, I am ready to take on this challenge:
4) Today will be awesome because _______.
Every night, Matt and I ask each other,
“What was the best part of your day?”
I honestly forget why we started asking this. Yet just like “starting your day on a happy note”, we’ve found that ending your day on a happy note can be just as uplifting, reflective, comforting, and inspiring.
Each night, you can ask yourself (or a partner) what the best part of your (their) day was. You might be surprised by your own answer.
If you try out any of these lifestyle adjustments, please share how they go in the comment section below. I’d love to hear!
Curious how to improve your health in the kitchen? See our previous Proactive Global Goods here.