Selfcare Series # 4 - How to improve sleep and boost your immune system

posted 2020 Apr by

Depriving our body of quality sleep can wreak havoc on our immune systems. With routines disrupted, economic and social stressors rising, and a general feeling of anxiety blanketing our communities, getting a good night’s sleep seems nearly impossible.

Extensive studies have shown that a good night’s sleep can help you stay healthy, reset the brain and body to tackle the day ahead with more clarity and energy. 

Here are some ways to help you get those much needed quality zzz's 

Environment: Your Bedroom

Your Bed: Your bed has a main purpose: for sleep. While we’re all stuck inside, we may be repurposing our beds as a place to work, snack, hide from roommates and family… but all these may be giving our brains a message that it’s another place to be awake and active. It may not be possible to completely close off your bedroom during the day, but at least try to only get into bed when it’s time to actually be horizontal.

Clean sheets make all the difference in the world! A few drops of lavender or chamomile essential oils dispensed over fresh linens can calm the senses and help you get into a relaxed state more readily.

Change your sheets at least once a week, and pillowcases more frequently for clear skin.

Always make your bed in the morning! It is a marker of your first accomplishment of the day; it’s time to live, not sleep. 

Your Bedroom: Your room should be as dark as possible. Light is one of the most limiting external factors that can affect the quality of your sleep. It does so both directly, by making it difficult for people to fall asleep, and indirectly, by influencing our circadian rhythms.

Disruption to our circadian rhythms, which tells the brain whether it's night or day, when to optimize neurons for work or to power down for sleep can ultimately devastate healthy sleep patterns. 

Use light-blocking curtains or shutters to protect your bedroom from streetlights or other light sources. Heavy curtains can also help minimize sounds that may disrupt your sleep. Turn off or cover any electronics that emit light, including using small pieces of tape for indicator lights that stay on even when a device is powered off (not to be used on smoke alarms!).

Wearing a sleep mask like the GingerChi 100% Mulberry Silk Mask. It's light and comfortable and can help block out disturbing light sources that may keep you awake.

Keep your room cool. As you sleep your body temperature lowers naturally. Introducing your body to a cooler environment helps stimulate sleep and allows you to cycle naturally though the sleep stages. The ideal temperature for healthy sleep is 68-70F. Temperatures outside this range can disrupt the restorative REM (rapid eye movement) phase, causing you to feel tired and as if you haven't slept enough.


The Importance of Routine:

Routines are important because our brain learns to anticipate the patterns of our daily schedule. Setting up a sleep routine and avoiding certain behaviors can dramatically affect the quality of your sleep.

Eating or drinking:  Avoid eating or drinking two hours before going to bed. 

Exercising: Schedule your workout for no less than two hours before bed.

Watching TV or Looking at a Screen: Many studies demonstrate that light, particularly LED light from TVs and smart devices, interferes with the sleep-wake cycle. 

Taking a hot shower or bath: This may help to relax the body but bathing raises your core body temperature. Allow a period of two hours after a bath before you go to bed.

Drinking alcohol: While alcohol may act as a sedative for some people and help you fall asleep, it can also affect your sleep architecture and interfere with restorative sleep.

Laying in bed before you’re ready: Only get into bed when it’s time to sleep.

Don’t force it. If you are unable to fall asleep after 30 minutes, get out of bed. Go to a dimly lit room and do something non stimulating like reading something uninteresting, knitting, or drawing or doodling for 20 to 30 minutes. Then return to bed and try again. Repeat the cycle if needed.

Get up! Resist the urge to snooze your alarm, or to set several alarms because you won’t get up with the first. Unsettled snoozed sleep can make you more tired during the day. It’s best to get up, make your bed, and get your day started to jolt your brain out of sleep fog. 

Struggling to get up in the morning? Try using alarms designed to wake you during your lightest sleep period. There are several alarm apps that monitor your sleep patterns through your nighttime movements and are able to use that information to wake you when your brain is most receptive. 


What we recommend:

Breath-work and acupressure: Techniques like focusing on your breathing while stimulating a few acupressure points to calm the nervous system (as mentioned in our blog for acupressure) and prepare you for sleep.

Weighted Eye Mask: The same way a weighted blanket uses Pressure Therapy to envelops you in a hug, a weighted mask, like the GingerChi Jade Mask placed over the eyes can provide an immediate relaxing effect on the body — just the way we want to feel before drifting off to sleep!

Before placing over the eyes, the jade mask may be heated in hot water (check the temperature before placing it on your face) or can be chilled in the refrigerator. Try pairing the jade mask with our Eye Oil Concentrate  for fine lines and puffiness to wake up refreshed and glowing.

Avoid jet-lag syndrome: Sticking to a sleep schedule helps regulate your internal body clock. ⁠

Get a dose of Vitamin D: Just like cats stretching, or plants growing towards the sun, people naturally crave Vitamin D. Getting some fresh air and sunlight daily helps regulate our body clocks.

Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows: Pillows getting hot in the night? GingerChi 100% Mulberry silk pillowcases are luxuriously soft, hypoallergenic and breathable. Unlike cotton, the natural weave of silk keeps your skin cool, retain its natural moisture and reduce irritation to enhance the quality of sleep.


Aromatherapy: Research has shown aromatherapy can alter brain waves and behavior. Certain essential oils like lavender and sweet orange have shown to reduce the perception of stress, increase contentment, and decrease levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone.”


The GingerChi aromatherapy pendant designed to diffuse beneficial essential oils to help you with your Chi levels throughout the day can be included in your nighttime sleep ritual. Gently inhale before placing the pendant by your bedside for continued aromatherapy results through the night.

We hope this information has been helpful to you in attaining quality sleep much needed in these troubled times. We will continue to share ways to help you find balance and remain healthy. In the meantime be well, get a good night's sleep and stay safe.

With love and good Chi,
Anna xxx