Updated: Oct 13, 2019
Sleep, just like diet and exercise is VITAL to a happy, balanced stress free and energized life!
How much sleep should a person be getting anyways? I hear this quite often from my clients - "anxiety creeps in, I am so tired, I can't sleep, I need more time for sleep".
Research states that in order for our Brain's to Properly Function, we need a minimum of 6.5-8 hours of sleep. That is when the human growth hormone kicks in and allows you to enter into the replenish zone which keeps the body young and builds muscle. The last hour and a half is when the body does the most cleansing. Our immune system does the most healing when the body is in a deep sleep.
Begin a bedtime ritual: The Power Down Hour
Turn off electronics, have a bath, read, listen to a night time meditation and allow your body to relax. Focus on wanting to sleep.
If your mind is buzzing and you can't turn it off, try journaling. Write down all of the things that are racing through your mind. This is an energy release and usually helps to allow you to sleep once you have removed it from your thoughts.
I mean during the day! Usually, after a very full day we are more than ready to fall asleep once bed time hits. If you walk or exercise, or have a very full day physically or mentally (and usually it's those mentally crazy days where we are energetically DONE!) try some yoga or light stretching to relax your mind. If you've been run off your feet, a few light stretches before bed would ease the lactic acid running through your body and help to ease your mind and body before sleep. An evening walk will help to promote sleep too.
If you're so exhausted and you have no problems falling asleep, but wake up every morning at 3 am - try journaling, deep breathing, have sex, read, change where you are sleeping (sometimes just going from the bed to the couch helps) change your temperature - are you too hot, too cold?
Drinking enough water during the day to make sure that your muscles are hydrated will help to reduce restlessness. But make sure you cut off early evening so that you are not waking up to use the washroom.
Minimizing alcohol consumption close to bedtime will help you to achieve a deeper, longer sleep and you will feel rested in the morning.
Bedtime Posture & Temperature
Posture in bed is just as important as posture is while standing or sitting. When we are lying down our body is compressed by gravity in a different way which changes our body alignment. Our bodies need to be fully supported by our mattress and pillow. Keep it cool, your body naturally produces melatonin, helping you to fall asleep. Keeping a lower body temperature as you sleep will help you achieve a deeper sleep and wake up feeling rested and energized. Invest in a mattress that helps to regulate your body temperature or keep the window open, sleep with lighter blankets, or consider sleeping in your birthday suit to keep you cool the whole night through.
When it comes to optimal sleep habits and comfort a pillow is not something to forget about. A pillow that holds your head too high or too low increases your risk of neck and shoulder pain. A proper pillow should feel comfortable but also support your head and neck supporting spinal alignment.
Make a Bedtime and stick to it
Go to bed at the same time every day. (even on the weekend) Aim to hit the pillow a half an hour before bedtime so that you can unwind. Read, meditate, breathe, journal all while you are laying in bed. Then, at the same time every day, turn out the light and sleep. If you do stay up later over the weekend, try to sneak in a power nap too. This will help to re set your sleep pattern and make sure that are not missing those much needed hours of rest.
Stress, anxiety, rapid thoughts have become so common now a day that it can be difficult to know what it truly feels like to be truly relaxed. Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation to relax your muscles by deliberately tensing them one at a time to build up tension and then slowly let go to feel each muscle relax.
(Meditation at Bedtime) Tune into a guided meditation at bedtime to help your mind relax and shut off. Guided meditations will help to lull you into the comfort of a deep sleep. The key to a great sleep is to fully surrender to "Relaxation" in your muscles and your mind.
If you are attuned to Reiki, then do some Reiki on yourself in bed before going to sleep. If you are not attuned, then seek out a practitioner and treat yourself to a Reiki session. Reiki promotes sleep and relaxation.
Yoga or Stretching
Bedtime stretching - try a basic body stretch or some bedtime yoga to help alleviate any tension that you accumulated through out the day. Yoga Poses to help: Waterfall - Lay on your back flat on your mattress or on your yoga mat, lift your legs up in the air and bend your knees. Raise your arms straight in the air while keeping your shoulders down. Try straightening your legs in the air. Hold this pose for 30 seconds. Happy Baby - Lay on your back and lift your legs up in the air and bend your knees. You can either grab both feet or lock your fingers in between your big toe and second toe and push your legs out as far as you can (just as a baby does) Rock gently from side to side. Hold for 45-90 seconds. Corpse - Lie down and let your legs fall where they land naturally. Place your arms down beside you, palms up. Focus on your breath inhaling for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds and then release for 5 seconds. Repeat for 5 cycles.
Make room for movement!
Did you know that we never have the same sleep twice? Some people believe that they sleep in one position throughout the entire night but our bodies can change positions up to 40 times every night. This is because our bodies need to stretch and relax as we sleep.
By making a conscious effort to change your bedtime habits you will notice a huge difference in mind shift and your sleep patterns.
Would you like to Age gracefully? - Get Sleep. Would you like to heal your energetic and physical body - Get Sleep! Relax, Breathe, and Good Night.
Sleep! We all need it. We all crave it.