[21 Days to Better Sleep Challenge] DAY 1/21 - Sleep Disturbances and Feeling Overwhelmed. How Teaching The Brain New Habits And Routines Can Help | SMart Choice Lifestyle

Feeling excited about your future goals and planning your next trip or experience is a good thing, a healthy thing. But when all this is happening at night, you know it’s time for a self analysis. It’s not even funny how many ideas can pop into your head when you can’t sleep at night. I know myself to be an over thinker, but the speed my brain is processing information at 3 am is still mind blowing.

A few nights ago I just had it! Could no longer passively sit and watch all the to-do lists and worrying about the next day’s activities that my mind was putting me through. I did fall asleep (eventually), but the following day I sat and asked myself why was I constantly in a rush, either doing or thinking? All the roads pointed out to insufficient sleep, to chaotic sleeping patterns.

Constant attempts to find the best morning and evening routines, changing activities and having a full past two months all lead up to my body and brain not caring anymore about whatever discipline I wanted to have in my life. I just wanted to relax and recharge. But what you repeatedly do, you become, and just like that I managed to push myself into a loop: not enough sleep - rushing throughout the day - sleepy in the afternoon - hard to fall asleep at night - not enough sleep and on and on.

When you become used to doing things in a certain way and then you change them and don't try to get back at the initial stage for a while, your body will most definitely send you signals. That’s where [re]CONNECTING with yourself proves helpful.

We have to listen to our body’s needs, to be in sync with what they ask of us and to be able to nurture their wants: sleep, nutritious food, rest, movement. Headspace is essential for me. As much as I love people’s stories, i recharge in solitude. I need to go to bed early enough in order to sleep 8h and wake up recharged at a good AM hour.

Press the reset button and wish to better the way you’re feeling and thinking about ourselves, to gain more self-confidence (or to gain it back), and to do our best in this world and not waste any gifts (ex: writing, inspiring others, empowering, creating, etc).

Most of the times, sleep proves to be the cause of all the chaos in our minds and lifestyle. That’s why going to bed at a decent hour (something like 10pm) can be the best choice you’ve ever done in a while, especially if your schedule is busy or you have sleep issues (like in Multiple Sclerosis or other conditions).

A regular sleeping pattern can reduce our anxiety about schedules, can lead to more productivity (as the brain is more alert), and give us time to start our mornings slow and more mindfully. And overall, sleep is the promoter of less inflammation inside the body. We need sleep in order for our bodies to properly take care of toxin removal, hormone manufacture, and infection fighting. Whenever we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies cannot complete those important tasks, increasing our chances of developing health issues (or worsen preexisting ones) due to excess toxins, inflammation, and hormone imbalances.

In order to achieve having a regular sleeping pattern, some habits need to change. We all stay up to late or go to bed at different times every night. We are caught in the screens of our devices, wanting to finish “that one last episode of Game of Thrones!”, those “last three emails!”, or “one last refresh on Facebook”. We all do that! Because we want to finish what we’re doing, we don’t prioritize sleep.

Remember the chaos I was talking about earlier? Our bodies get confused. But if we set and strictly follow a bedtime routine, we will get in the habit of relaxing at a certain hour, naturally inducing sleepiness. If you know yourself as having a sleep disorder, first check solutions with your physician and add a bedtime routine that includes his/hers suggestions. All this needs to be in our best interest.

Arianna Huffington's #sleeprevolution movement shows a light over the importance of sleep in our lives. Here's her manifesto:

So, my choice / challenge for the following 21 days is to begin getting into some healthy sleeping habits (21 days is the minimum amount of days that can induce a new habit into one’s life). For increasing my chances to actually follow them, they’re included into my night routine. One hour before bedtime I put down all devices and screens, making notes on what I have to finish / see / do the next day. Then I go and make myself a chamomile tea, take a shower and wash my teeth, say my prayers and clear my mind for about 15 minutes and then do some journaling before turning the lights off.

What would your routine look like? How is your relationship with sleep and mental space going? Would love to hear that from you in the comments down below!

Until next time, have a wonderful day!