One of the most popular questions I get asked is how to sleep better. This is a really important question as more than 60 million Americans and approximately 150 million people worldwide suffer from some form of insomnia!
Insomnia, whether short term (like a night or two) or chronic (lasting more than three months and occurring throughout the week), can be debilitating. It can affect your health, your happiness, your family and your career.
So, what can you do naturally to get more and better sleep? Here are some simple suggestions that might help.
Develop a bedtime routine
This is the most important step in sleeping better! 15-30 minutes before bedtime, begin winding down your day. Turn lights down low, turn off all electronics, brush your teeth, spray your pillow with lavender, have a bath or whatever simple routine you would like that helps you soften and settle into a quieter space. A cup of tea, a glass of milk, Yin yoga or a short stretching session with long holds and slower movements! Maintain this routine EVERY single night consistently.
Set a specific bedtime and STICK TO IT
Tell yourself that you will begin your bedtime routine at 9:30pm(or whatever time you want) and be in bed by 10pm. As much as possible (yes there are meetings, events, etc. that will bump this off), try to stick to this time frame. It can vary by 15 minutes either way but really set a time and work to stick to it.
NO ELECTRONIC DEVICES
Did you know that all of your electronic devices have a Do Not Disturb mode you can set? I didn't! But now, every device I have is set to Do Not Disturb at 6:30pm. Shut down all electronics, including TV, prior to your bedtime routine start and even better, remove them from your bedroom. That blinking light or beep stimulates you and you don't want that if you want to sleep well : )
Bedroom - Haven of Rest
What's in your bedroom? Do you have bright lights, lots of clutter, vivid colors? Make your bedroom a space for rest and relaxation. Softer lights, softer colors, less clutter, warm textures, comforting things. This should be your happy place - that room you walk into and the weight of the world drops off. Reorganize, redecorate, rethink this space to make it conducive to sleep and rest - this is your haven.
Lights, Lights, Lights
There's a light on my clock radio, a light on my charger, a light on the plug, a light on EVERYTHING! Remove any lit objects (even if it has a very soft light), cover the other lights up with dots, paper, furniture. Unplug chargers if they have a light and plug them in elsewhere. Hang room darkening curtains and make sure your room is as dark as it can be (turn the hall light off and the night light off). This helps your brain understand it is time for sleep. And, NO screen lights after the time you have set for prebedtime routine - no phone, no tablet, no TV, no e-reader. These blue lights stimulate your eyes and in turn your brain - keeping you alert and awake!
Settle into your bed, get all warm and comfy, and breathe deeply. Begin to lengthen your inhales and exhales - extending the exhale longer than the inhale. Allow yourself to settle and then begin counting your breaths backwards from the number 12, imagining yourself sinking into a more and more relaxed state. Most people don't make it to 1 but if you do, just begin again. Focus on releasing, relaxing and simply counting the breaths. Even if you don't immediately go to sleep, you will find you are more relaxed and prepared for rest.
I listen to a guided meditation for 30-45 minutes each night (this is my prebedtime routine every night) to help myself settle in and silence my crazy mind. When I focus on the meditation theme or the voice of the guide, I tend to slow my breath and my thoughts down and I fall asleep much faster and have a deeper sleep!
And last, but certainly not least - welcome to Yoga Nidra!
Yoga Nidra is an amazing meditation that includes a body scan to settle your body, setting an intention to focus your mind, and lots of other amazing elements that will help you get a deeper rest. Yoga Nidra can be used anytime - to help recover from sleeplessness or when you feel overly fatigued or when you simply need to reboot your body and mind. Most Yoga Nidra meditations are 10-45 minutes long and are great to settle you down for sleep.
There are certainly many other alternative therapy things you can add in here, such as Lavender essential oil spritzed on your pillow or sleepytime teas, etc. but starting with these above items will hopefully get you on the road to better, deeper, more fulfilling sleep. Good luck and goodnight to you! Don't forget to check out my YouTube channel for Yoga Nidra meditations, bedtime yoga classes and breathing tutorials to help you get a good night's sleep! http://bit.ly/2lDpiXb
I have been "playing" and experimenting with yoga, aromatherapy and healthy living since my late teens - researching, testing, reading, investigating, and learning anything that would make my life - and the lives around me - better naturally.
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