Efficient, sound, and restful sleep equivocates to a successful day! When your body and mind have adequate rest and relaxation, you are better equipped to handle the day-to-day stress and demands that can deplete your energy and leave you feeling moody and exhausted.
Take a look at these simple yoga-inspired sleep strategies that can help ensure you are getting the best rest you deserve.
1. Set yourself up for success.
A restful sleep starts with planning early in the day. If you are a caffeine drinker, make sure you limit it to two cups, and finish your consumption by noon. Your biggest meal of the day should be breakfast, followed by lunch, with the lightest meal being in the evening.
And make sure you go to yoga class! Studies show that the number one factor to ensure restful sleep is getting regular exercise.
2. Supplement your diet.
Throughout the day, drink plenty of water, and consider if you are getting enough magnesium. Low magnesium in the body can excite the brain, which prevents relaxation at night.
Taking a supplement like Natural Calm, or eating foods rich in this mellowing mineral like oatmeal, pumpkin seeds, black beans, almonds, wheat germ, and leafy greens can help. Taking melatonin in the evening or drinking tea with lavender, valerian root, or passion flower will calm the body and mind.
3. Set a bedtime routine.
Just like a toddler learning to sleep through the night, a comforting and consistent bedtime routine is important for grownups, too.
Try to go to bed at the same time every night. Plan ahead so you finish your final meal of the day at least two hours prior to your bedtime. Wash and massage your skin, change into pajamas, and calm the body and mind to prepare for sleep.
Turn off all screens (TV, iPad, smartphone) 30 to 45 minutes before going to bed. Keep your bedroom free from these items, and dedicate your bed only to sleeping (no reading, eating, watching YouTube, or talking on the phone).
Make sure your room is free from noise, light, strong scents and pets, which could otherwise disturb your rest.
4. Stretch and circulate.
Practice autosuggestion: rest on your back and contract each muscle group beginning with your toes and finishing with your facial muscles. Flex your feet, spread your toes, and squeeze your legs. Then, all at once, relax these muscles.
Move onto the next muscle group until your entire body has had a chance to contract and relax. Hug your knees into your chest and rock from side to side. Press fingertips into the sides of your head and gently massage your temples and TMJ.
5. Send love.
Come into Child’s Pose with your big toes touching and your knees wide apart. Begin to deepen your breath and notice your belly and chest pressing into your thighs. Imagine a blanket of love covering your body and keeping your safe. Tell your skin, muscles, organs, and nervous system to relax.
As you breathe, repeat your personal mantra or simply chant “Om.”