We all know somebody who struggles with insomnia, whether it be a family member or ourselves. Sleep is so often neglected as a key pillar of health, as nutrition and exercise seems to be all the rage online. It is a secret key in keeping our bodies running efficiently, recovering and healing at a fast speed.
So, how does a healthy sleeping schedule benefit us?
- Improves decision making skills
- Mood regulation
- Improves memory
- Strengthens immune system
- Assists in physical recovery
- Cleanses the brain of toxins
We can all feel the difference between a night of deep sleep, compared to a light sleep of only a few hours. It is time we harness the healing powers of sleep and take charge of our energy. Here are some tips that will help you sink into a deeper, more restful sleep every night.
1. Creating a night time routine – often referred to as “sleep hygiene”
Creating routine in our lives signals our bodies and brains into the correct energy level of our goals. Morning routines tend to pump us full of energy for the day – whether it be a big cup of coffee, or an intense workout. Night time routines are important, to help us unwind and signal our bodies that it is time to relax. It is about finding what works for you; but an evening shower, cup of hot sleepy tea, dimming the lights, journalling about your day, gentle stretches and spending quality time with your partner or family are a few great ideas.
2. Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra is a powerful tool for unlocking our parasympathetic nervous system – and switching from fight or flight, to rest and digest. Yoga Nidra is also known as, yogic sleep, and is a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping, typically induced by a guided meditation. There are many great guided Yoga Nidra practices on Spotify and Youtube that can help you.
3. No Screen Time 30 – 60 mins Before Bed
This one made not be a tip you want to hear, but putting away your devices before bed can increase your chances of falling asleep more peacefully. Not only is social media incredibly stimulating for the brain, but blue light has been scientifically proven to disrupt sleep. Blue light exposure suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that influences circadian rhythms (https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side, July 2020). A great alternative is taking this time in bed to read a book or write in a journal. These activities allow your mind to decompress, process the day and find stillness.
4. Aromatherapy for Sleep
Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts to promote overall health and wellness. There are many blends that help with relaxation and sleep including; lavender, chamomile and ylang ylang. You can place an essential oil diffuser next to your bed, for them to softly diffuse during the night, or apply them on your wrists while taking some deep breaths.
5. Pranayama Practice
Prana means ‘vital life force’ and yama means to gain control. Pranayama is simply the practice of breath retention and can be harnessed to relax or energise the body. Square breathe is a simple technique used to reduce stress and unwind the mind. It is very beginner friendly, as it involves inhaling to the count of four, holding for the count of four, exhaling for the count of four, holding for the count of four…
6. Float Therapy
For those suffering from jet lag or have issues sleeping due to shift work, floating can help reset your sleep cycle quickly. Many floaters fall asleep during their float session and experience levels of extreme relaxation. Some doctors suggest 1 hour of sleep in a float tank is equivalent to 4-8 hours of deep sleep.