With World Sleep Day on Friday 19th March and I’d like to offer some ideas for you to support a better nights sleep.
Did you know that our sleep pattern is dictated by something called the circadian rhythm? This is managed by the section of the brain called the hypothalamus and is sensitive and affected by stimulants such as light, exercise and diet.
One of the easiest ways we can influence our sleep health is by going to bed at roughly the same time nightly to embed (no pun intended!) a good pattern and rhythm. As well as this you could try some of these ideas.
- Leave a gap between work and sleep. An hour minimum and make a list of anything you need to empty out of your head for the next day.
- Turn your mobile phone off or turn off your data so no unwelcome emails or social media posts will interfere in your night time routine.
- Take a cleansing bath or shower to signify the working day is over and it’s rest time.
- Enjoy a calming herbal tea, there are lots of special nighttime blends on the market so pick your favourite
- Do some slow ‘nighttime’ yoga (restorative, yin or somatics) and meditation
- Write in a diary or doodle in a journal. It could be something as simple as expressing something that you are grateful for from your day.
- Listen to some relaxing music.
- Use calming essential oils. A few drops on your pillow or in a diffuser. You might try camomile, lavender, frankincense – see which you prefer.
As well as the above it is important to create a calm and serene bedroom so choose your colours wisely, a pale green is more calming than a bright red!
According to the Sleep Foundation your bedroom needs to be cool. They suggest around 15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius for adults, keeping it dark and having few electrical devices. An alarm clock versus a mobile phone is always best! With this almost cave like description you are setting the scene for a good night’s sleep.
As night time is about unwinding also avoid any stimulants; food, drink ,conversations or TV.
And practice the tips above alongside relaxation techniques like yoga nidra so your body can learn how to unwind. This also allows for nourishing periods of ‘active rest’ which help us to rest and regenerate. Though these practices are generally short generally up to half an hour.
It’s also important to know that we are all different when it comes to our sleep patterns.
You might find it helpful to do this free quiz from Michael Breus aka The Sleep Doctor to see whether you are a dolphin, lion, bear or wolf. You’ll discover insights into how much sleep you need, your optimal times for waking and going to bed and so much more.
I found it insightful! And it’s a great thing to do as a family.
Once you know this information you can plan your schedule to fit in with your natural rhythms. Watch his TED talk for more information on that one
Let me know how you get on and if you’d like to explore unwinding your mind and body why not try the Friday night Inner Calm session? This has gentle floor based somatic stretches followed by a yoga nidra. The perfect way to drift off into the weekend.
Don’t just take my word for it though. A recent attendee Hattie Rogers said, ‘Thank you for last night’s session. Lovely, restful and restorative as always’. No experience needed. Currently Fridays 6-7pm via Zoom. Book here to experience it for yourself.
Let me know your comments on this topic.