Does it take you ages you to drop off to sleep? Is your mind buzzing around about the thoughts of the day, or the to do list for the next day? Or do you wake up in the middle of the night either worrying or unable to get back to sleep? If this is you, keep reading!
Lack of sleep influences stress. Not only does our physical health require rest but our mental and emotional states depend on sleep.
Here’s what you can do to help you sleep like a baby:
- Ditch the technology.
Switch off your phone, TV, Ipad and computer at least 45 minutes before you go to sleep. Ideally do this 60 minutes before you sleep.
By switching off these devices you are allowing your body and mind to calm down.
Scientists have found that light from electronics has the potential to disrupt sleep, because it sends alerting signals to the brain.
In particular, blue light which is given off by electronics like computers and mobile phones, has been shown to delay the release of the hormone melatonin which helps you relax. In other words, electronics could keep you feeling charged past bedtime!
Protect your evening wind-down time by reading a book for instance.
I went to university with a girl who always switched off her phone at 10pm and would not look at it until the morning. The result…..
A very relaxed, uninterrupted sleep and a fresh faced beauty in the morning. I was super jealous (I know, very un-yogi of me) but she seemed so rejuvenated!
2. Practice breathing exercises
Using yoga breathing exercised you can actually re-pattern your habits to take less breaths per minute and ensure deep diaphragmatic breathing.
This creates a shift from breathing that stimulates fight or flight (the release of cortisol) to rest and restore (the release of serotonin to melatonin). By doing this you can support the body’s natural optimum environment through the relaxation response.
Focusing on the breath also brings our mind into the present moment so we can find more clarity in our current situation instead of mindless reactivity.
Breathing exercises also have an impact on stress levels, anxiety, fatigue and a lack of physical energy – these are all symptoms and consequences of improper rest.
Its a great tool to help you either fall asleep or fall back into sleep if you’re suffering with restlessness.
How can you actually incorporate these breathing exercises into your day? Find out in Part 2….