A Quest For More Rest

A Quest For More Rest

It’s the start of the year and we are all still excited about those new year’s resolutions. As we dream of all the things that we hope to accomplish by the end of the year, have we stopped to consider what it will take for us to get there. Have we really thought about all of the adjustments and some comforts that we may have to give up in order to reach those goals? When it comes to larger goals like losing weight, learning a new skill or even tackling a big project then yes, hopefully you thought it all the way through. Unfortunately when it comes to the more personal goals, you know the one directly related to our own needs, that’s when things get a little tricky. 

One of my big goals for 2022, is to get more rest and I know that it is something many of you in our community are committed to as well. Rest is one of those goals that can easily be sidetracked by the demands of life. Work gets more demanding, kids need you, family commitments or any number of things often leads to less time for you to decompress and rest. That’s why I have committed this year to not only creating more space in my own life for rest, but also helping you do the same. So if you are ready for more time dedicated to refilling your own cup then stay tuned. Our Lab Notes blog will be the place that I share my own experiences, the place where I take you along my journey for more rest.

In my quest for more rest the first thing I had to do was change my night time habits. The things I was doing to help me “wind down at night” were actually counterproductive. In my head I was relaxing but to my brain, I was providing more stimulation, making it harder for me to doze off. Below are my four biggest mistakes and easy swaps to help you catch more zzz’s. 

Swap The Glass Of Wine For A Cup Of Herbal Tea

As much as it pains me to say this, wine or alcohol of any sort is not the best option before bed. If you want to enjoy a glass or two, have it with dinner. Some medical professionals recommend three hours before bed which is great if you can manage to have dinner at six. If not then aim for two hours and hope for the best. 

As for what to sip before bed, herbal tea is the best choice. It is naturally caffeine free and some varieties may help you fall asleep faster. My go to is a blend of Chamomile and Tulsi (holy basil). It is delicious and helps me doze off faster. 

 

Swap Binge Watching For Binge Reading

Now this one has been hard for me as the only time I really have to enjoy my favorite shows is after the kids are asleep and the house is clean. That’s also the time I am trying to fall asleep which means I am losing hours in favor of “one more episode”. We have talked about this trade off at length in our post about Revenge Bedtime Procrastination, but the bottom line is turn the television off. 

The swap is a good book. I am a huge fan of audio books and feel that audio or old fashion print in hand will work. What you don’t want is a digital book on an e-reader or tablet. I’ll get to why in a moment so you’ll have to stick with me for a moment. Now full disclosure, having to actually read most books will put me to sleep so for the purposes of rest I’m going with a paper book. If I really want to absorb the information it’s audio for me. 

Swap Social Media Scrolling For Journal Writing

There are lots of reasons that late night social media scrolling is bad for our sleep habits but let’s just stick to the basics here. Our electronic devices emit blue light that has been proven to affect our bodies production of melatonin (the sleep hormone). This throws off our natural sleep wake cycle affecting not just our quantity of sleep but also the quality. Some have suggested wearing blue light blocking glasses to help with this and if you just can’t seem to give up the late night scroll then it’s a great option. However, journaling is a much better option.

Journaling over scrolling is probably my favorite swap and one that has been super helpful for me. First it helps to clear the clutter in our minds from the day. Journaling is a safe outlet for your thoughts and feelings, especially the ones you don’t feel comfortable sharing with another person. Also for me personally it helps to organize the never ending to do list that keeps me up at night. Having a central location that I can refer back to gives me ease, knowing I won’t forget something while I sleep. 

For those of you who are new to journaling or are just in need of a little inspiration, scroll down to grab my list of Five Journal Prompts To Declutter Your Brain Before Bed. Each prompt is designed to help you clear the common thoughts that keep us up at night so that you can rest easy. 

If you are guilty of any one (or all) of these sleep disruptors, I hope you find these swaps helpful. If you know that this is the year where you put yourself at the top of the priority list then, I can’t wait to take this journey together. 

XOXO

Keisha – Chief Wellness Officer

Grab our 5 Journal Prompts to Declutter Your Brain Before Bed to help you drift off to sleep faster.

Journal Yourself To Sleep

Grab our 5 Journal Prompts to Declutter Your Brain Before Bed to help you drift off to sleep faster.

Journal Yourself To Sleep

WBL Podcast: Discipline in 2022

Discipline in 2022

In today’s podcast episode, host and Chief Wellness Officer LaKeisha Entsuah shares her focus word of the year and what that looks like in our pursuit of wellbeing. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Tip of the Week: You don’t need a new plan, you just need to stick with the one you have.  Consistency is what will get you to the finish line.
  • What the last year has taught me about achieving my goals and has been the missing link. 
  • What self discipline looks like in our wellness journey. 
  • The need for accountability in goal setting.
  • How do we create our path forward without being overwhelmed.

The key to achieving all your wellness goals is discipline. Get started today!

Ready To Achive Your Wellness Goals This Year?

The key to achieving all your wellness goals is discipline. Get started today!

Start Your Goal Setting

How Less Stress Is Good for the Skin

Have you been feeling stressed lately? You’re not alone. Stress has become a major epidemic in our society. Not only can it take a toll on your overall physical, mental, and emotional health, but it can also do a number on your skin. The good news is that you don’t have to live with these consequences. In this instance, taking a chill pill every once in a while would do you a lot of good. I know that stress management might sound like something that’s easier said than done, but it’s as simple as adding more self-care to your daily routine (or a lot more). And guess what? There are many no-stress things you can do to help reduce your stress levels and keep your skin healthy! Keep reading for more enlightenment on stress’s connection to the skin, as well as our tips for practicing better stress management day-to-day.

High Stress Levels Are Your Skin’s Worst Nightmare

Studies show that there is a direct correlation between increased cortisol–a hormone associated with stress—and issues with the skin. This hormone affects our skin in many ways, including accelerated signs of aging and the development of sunspots, fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of elasticity. High cortisol levels have also been found to make skin conditions like acne and eczema worse. If you spend a lot of time stressing about the little things in life, your skin will suffer as a result. It’s a vicious cycle, as stress often leads to physical illness as well.

Ways to Manage Stress

Stress is a natural state of existence that comes with the constant ups and downs of life. However, it is not something that needs to be tolerated–it’s something that should be managed to the best of your abilities. Learning to relax and letting go of control will help you accomplish this goal.

Sleep Better

In stressful situations, the fight-or-flight hormones begin to surge, resulting in a rush of adrenaline that prevents you from getting a good night’s rest. Sleep deprivation will slow down your immune system, lower your resistance to stress, and have you looking plain tired. Making sure that you set aside a quiet, screen-free time in the evenings can generally help you improve your beauty sleep.

Wind Down with a Cup of Warm Tea

Drinking your favorite kombucha or decaffeinated green tea can be a great way to relax. Not only does it not give you caffeine, but it also has beneficial ingredients to help reduce your cortisol levels and increase your quality of sleep. Studies prove that drinking green tea can also help you lower your blood pressure, which is an excellent stress reliever. This can also help you boost your immunity.

Eat Healthy

Go low on the junk food and high on the good stuff. Keep in mind that it takes a lot of time and energy to process a high calorie meal or to burn the calories you just consumed, so cutting down on fried foods, sweets, and other unhealthy treats will ensure that your body doesn’t have to work overtime to do that. 

Maintain a Regular Skincare Routine

You may think that you have enough information to take care of your skin. After all, you’ve already read countless articles on how your skin needs specific nutrients for optimal functioning. Well, none of that matters unless you know how to prioritize the application of your products. The key to keeping your skin healthy is to find a routine that works for you—and stick with it.

Whether you’re on the go or spend most of your time at home, your skincare routine should reflect your lifestyle. No skincare routine is complete without an at-home cleanser, toner, and a moisturizer that will meet your needs. Learn how to use them to keep your skin looking fresh, natural, and radiant.

Try Yoga

Stress management is usually associated with taking a break from your daily routine, but there’s another practice that will boost your mood and improve your overall health: yoga. Yoga is an amazing stress-relieving activity. You may even notice a difference in the way your skin looks after trying a few sessions.

Many people find that yoga helps calm their minds and relax them, especially when you incorporate other calming practices like meditation.

Meditate

Meditation is a proven stress buster. When you slow down and tune into your thoughts and feelings, you are able to slow down your breathing and relax your body. It is not necessary to meditate for hours to reap the benefits. All you need is about 20 minutes a day, five days a week.

 

Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

The phrase “revenge bedtime procrastination” initially brings about an image of a toddler standing up in their bed, bawling their eyes out as they fight to keep them open. And this performance, put on for your benefit, stems from them not wanting to go to sleep so that you won’t be catching any Z’s anytime soon either. 

However, that is not precisely what the phrase means. It is a psychological phenomenon that is becoming more common and it is affecting the sleep habits and lives of adults everywhere.

What Is Revenge Bedtime Procrastination?

The first official mention of revenge bedtime procrastination is in an article written by Dr. Floor Kroese, a behavioral scientist from the Netherlands, in 2014.  In her publication, Kroese says revenge bedtime procrastination occurs when someone goes “to bed later than intended while no external circumstances are accountable for doing so.”

To put that in terms we can all understand, it’s when we go to bed late for no reason at all other than we want to stay awake. And we do this even when we realize it is not in our best interests. The reason we do this, typically, is in an attempt to fit more leisure time into our overly-stuffed schedule.

Some studies say that this phenomenon is directly linked to a person’s lack of self-control. However, others say that people who fall prey to revenge bedtime procrastination are attempting to simply gain more control over their lives.

Where Does “Revenge” Come Into Play?

The “revenge” aspect of revenge bedtime procrastination comes from the act of defiance against one’s better judgment to do the right thing, in this case, going to bed in a timely fashion that will allow you to function optimally the next day.

Who Is Most Likely to Suffer from Revenge Bedtime Procrastination?

This psychological phenomenon often affects people who typically do not derive much pleasure from their daily activities. Therefore, in the evening hours, they tend to engage in as many activities that bring them joy as they possibly can.  The trade-off for adding some fun in their day means that they will often suffer from insufficient sleep or sleep deprivation.  

People who tend to suffer the most from revenge bedtime procrastination include:

  • People who experience high amounts of stress at their job.
  • People (mostly women, studies show) who experience high amounts of stress at their job and then go home and engage in many other non-paid high-stress activities (ex. homework, putting the kids to bed, etc.)
  • Those who naturally procrastinate.
  • People who work extensive hours regularly.

There is also evidence that the pandemic has caused a higher percentage of the population to experience revenge bedtime procrastination. This seems to be because so many people have completely changed or abandoned their regular sleep schedule altogether because of the odd, unusual working arrangements caused by the pandemic.

What are the Effects of Revenge Bedtime Procrastination?

The lack of a good night’s rest often impacts both your physical and mental wellbeing. We must get a sufficient amount of sleep every night to function properly the next day.  

Just a few things that can happen as a result of insufficient sleep include:

  • Uneven or unpleasant moods
  • Weight gain
  • Lack of work or academic productivity
  • Increased depression and anxiety
  • An increase in heart problems
  • An increased chance that vaccinations will not be effective

Revenge bedtime procrastination may allow you to feel as if you have more control over your life, but, in reality, it is taking away your freedom in other aspects of your life.

How Can I Avoid Revenge Bedtime Procrastination?

There are a variety of suggestions to help prevent revenge bedtime procrastination. A few include:

  • Keep to a regularly scheduled bedtime.
  • Stop screen time about an hour before your bedtime so that your brain can prepare for sleep.
  • Take a hot bath or shower to help your body relax in preparation for bedtime.
  • Journal so that you can mentally “dump” the day’s stress from your brain.
  • Allow for relaxing activities such as meditation or reading before bed.
  • Make sure that your sleep environment is relaxing and welcoming.

Final Thoughts on Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

As the world and society continue to change and evolve, we are sure to encounter new issues that some might have never imagined possible just a few short years ago. Revenge bedtime procrastination seems to be one of those issues that manifested because of our increasingly hectic lifestyles.

Participating in revenge bedtime procrastination might seem like a way to regain a sense of freedom and control in your life. However, remember, you are simply creating more problems for yourself in the long run, as lack of sleep hurts other aspects of your life.

 

WBL Podcast: 2021

Catch up on all the Well Beauty Lab Podcast episodes from 2021. We covered everything from what it means to have sustainable sleeping habits to moms getting the support they need and everything in between. 

The Well Beauty Lab Podcast is hosted by our founder LaKeisha Entsuah.

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Bedtime Routine for Better Rest

Sleep is essential, and the quality of your sleep has a significant impact on how you feel throughout the day. Good sleep can help reduce stress, improve mood, and even boost creativity. It’s also been linked to good health overall. 

As your day comes to an end, there are some things you can do to help your mind and body wind down for bed. The routines you follow to get your bedtime started can make a big difference in how well you sleep.

This article discusses some simple bedtime routines that will help ensure better sleep for you tonight!

Why Is Sleep Important?

Sleep is crucial because it’s what allows our body and mind to repair and recharge. You could be sleep-deprived without even knowing it. And if you aren’t getting enough quality sleep, it can affect your mood, mental well-being, and physical health. Why?

When you’re tired, even the slightest things become difficult to accomplish, whether it’s remembering your friend’s name or staying focused on a project at work. Plus, you could just feel awful!

Sleep has also been proven to boost creativity and problem-solving skills. Think about how often creative or innovative ideas come to mind when you’re in bed! It tends to be an ideal place to let your mind wander and process the day’s events.

How Sleep Affects Your Health

As if that wasn’t enough, poor sleep habits can affect your physical health as well. If you don’t get enough quality sleep, it can lead to conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, weight gain, and obesity.

Everyone is different when it comes to sleep needs. However, there are some recommendations for how much sleep people actually need each night.

Generally, these recommendations say that adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. It’s also suggested you go to bed at the same time every night to establish a rhythm that your body can get used to.

What’s The Best Night Routine?

Establishing a perfect bedtime routine can be difficult when your schedule is busy and varies from day to day. Even so, you can still create a general pattern that works for you by following some of these guidelines:

  1. Go to Bed and Wake Up Around the Same Time Each Day – This includes weekends too!
  2. Take Time to Relax – This might include taking a bath, reading, or listening to soft music.
  3. Avoid Using Electronics Before Bed – Don’t watch the news, scroll through your phone, or check email.
  4. Try Not to Nap Too Late in the Day – And if your naps are typically less than 30 minutes during the day, try not to nap at all.
  5. Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment – This might include light shades or earplugs.
  6. Only Use Your Bed for Sleep – Avoid working, studying, or eating in bed.
  7. Don’t Drink Caffeine Too Late in the Day – Coffee, energy drinks and soda can all contain caffeine. Try to stop drinking caffeinated beverages around two hours before bedtime.
  8. Skip the Alcohol – Alcohol may seem like it helps you sleep, but it actually disrupts your sleep cycle. It’s best to avoid drinking before bed!
  9. Get Plenty of Exercise – You probably knew this one was coming! When you exercise during the day, your body craves good sleep to repair and recover.

How To Start a Night Routine?

When you’re tired, it can be challenging to create a routine that works for you. However, it’s crucial to find a pattern that helps you establish good sleep habits.

You may have trouble falling asleep at first if your body isn’t used to going to bed at the same time each night. It can take one to two weeks for your body to adjust, but you’ll feel better by the end!

While you’re figuring out this process, it might also help to work on eliminating any nighttime noises or distractions that keep you up. If the light is an issue, try using a soft sleep mask or black-out curtains.

Once your routine becomes a habit, you’ll start to notice the positive effects on your mood and productivity during the day. Try sticking with a bedtime routine for a few weeks and see how you feel. 

If you still need help sleeping after trying to establish a night routine, talk to your doctor. There may be underlying factors that can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep–like anxiety or insomnia. Once these issues are addressed and resolved, it will be easier for you to build a routine with rest at the center!

Sleep tips: 6 steps to better sleep. (2020, April 17). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379

CDC – Sleep Hygiene Tips – Sleep and Sleep Disorders. (2016, July 15). CDC.Gov. https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/sleep_hygiene.html

A Good Night’s Sleep. (2020, November 3). National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/good-nights-sleep#good

 

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