Let’s talk sleep. Having a healthy relationship with sleep is one of the most important things you can do in your life. Lack of sleep not only leaves you fatigued but can result in an onslaught of other health issues including heart disease, high blood pressure, memory loss, weight gain, low libido, depression, and impaired judgement.
With so much stimulation within reach at all times (think your phone, TV, computer, music) it can be difficult to create a healthy night time routine. Here are our three tips for creating a nightly ritual that aids in soothing the nervous system, calming the mind, and relaxing the body:
Early Afternoon – Pre-sleep Tips:
- Avoid caffeine or naps after 3 PM
- Avoid exercise 2-3 hours before your bedtime
Early Evening – Step 1: Slow Your Digestion
Try to avoid drinking or eating within four hours of bed time. Your body needs to wind down around 7 PM and eating a large dinner may inhibit your body’s ability to rest. You don’t want your stomach to be working on digesting food when it should be resting. Rather, try to have your biggest meals of the day in the morning and tier off to have a small, light entree for dinner.
Same goes for drinks. Drinking that extra glass of wine at dinner will only keep you up later in the night. Alcohol is proven to cause sleeping issues so you are better off switching to a soothing, herbal tea after dinner. Make sure not to try to catch up on your water intake before bed either. This way your body can focus on relaxation rather than waking up throughout the night to use the restroom.
Late Evening – Step 2: Unplug Your Brain
Around 9 or 10 PM, unplug your electronics. Exposure to light from your computer , TV, or phone screen is a big no-no when it comes to sleep health. One thing your body needs is for there to be reduced light in order for your pineal gland to work its magic making melatonin. If you continue to sit in from of the television your brain will not have the opportunity to unwind making it much more difficult to not just fall asleep but also stay asleep.
Trade scrolling your newsfeed for reading a good book, some restorative yoga, a candle light meditation, painting, or journaling. Anything that will help you unwind your mind without causing you additional stress or mental fatigue. Take this last hour or two before bedtime to sweeten your day with some loving self-care practices. These activities can help you feel grounded, relaxed, and ready to let go of what this day so you can welcome tomorrow with open arms.
Bed Time – Step 3: Relax Into Sleep
Brush your teeth, take a few deep slow breaths, maybe incorporate an evening self-massage with lavender infused body oil, and crawl into bed. Make sure that your room is completely dark and cool, around 60-70 degrees, and that you have bedding that makes you feel comfortable and supported. Being in a completely dark environment is important for your body’s sleep cycles and will allow the most natural, healthy sleep possible.
Having difficulty sleeping?
Namaste offers a variety of relaxation workshops and classes year round that aid in insomnia and stress. Try one of weekly Restorative Yoga classes or check out our upcoming workshop calendar for workshops like Yoga Nidra with Ashley Sharp or Restorative Yoga with Vickie Russell Bell.