How well you fall asleep tonight can deeply affect your focus, drive, productivity and joy tomorrow.
Here are some tricks, tips and a short yoga sequence to aide in your sleep routine.
Make a ritual of going to bed
Every single one of my friends with happy babies have a very specific set of procedures to help their child fall asleep that begins at the same time every night. Milk, bath, short story time, song, bed.
If you are having trouble falling asleep, discovering this sense of ritual can help calm your nervous system, slow down your mental firing and relax the body for better rest. Try out the following steps for a week and then determine what works for you.
Step #1: Unplug
The light emitted by televisions, computer screens and most devices (including your phone) disrupts your bodies ability to properly produce melatonin. This is the hormone that helps your body fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. Ideally, we would all “unplug” within two hours of sunset to optimize the production of melatonin.
Step #2: Make a cup of tea
A small mug of caffeine-free tea can help. Take the time to focus on the act of brewing the water, steeping the tea and then enjoying your concoction—this is as much an act of meditation as an opportunity to savour a simple pleasure. Chamomile or peppermint are very nice options. If you purchase a pre-mixed “sleepytime” tea, make sure all the ingredients (St. John wort, kava kava and valerian root) are safe for you .
Step #3: Sleepy Time Yoga
Try these poses in order to help calm the nervous system and mind, relax the muscles of the body and invite the sandman to tuck you in. Grab a blanket and two pillows to support your relaxation.
30 seconds in each pose (and then repeat on the second side):
Low Lunge with hands on the floor or front knee (if you have knee problems lift it off the floor by pressing into your foot).
Low Lunge Twist: Keep the legs stationary and bring your opposite elbow to the outside of your knee. Breathe deeply.
Lizard: Take both hands or forearms onto the ground to the inside of your front foot. Release into the hip stretch.
Supported Childs’ Pose: Sit on your shins with your knees wide apart. Stack the two pillows in front of you. As you lean forward on the pillows make sure they support your belly. Rest with the head to one side, then the other for equal amounts on time.
Legs Up the Wall Pose: You can scoot so close to the wall your legs are at a 90 degree angle, or as relaxed as 75 degrees by moving back. It is also nice to put a pillow under the lowest part of the back, just above the bum. Place your right hand on your belly and your left over your heart. Notice the rhythms of your breathing and heart beat. Take at least one minute here, up to five.
If you have committed to this ritual and nothing has helped at all, notice your caffeine ingestion during the day and read more suggestions here.
Want more? Visit DevenSislerYoga.com for a longer yoga sequence.
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Author: Deven Sisler
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Petras Gagilas/Flickr
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