Can yoga help with sleep? You bet it can! So can a few other things.
Here’s my recipe for the best sleep possible.
1) No screens after 7pm
No computer & no phone. This is tough for me but so so so key. Our nervous systems need time to down-regulate before we hit the pillow. The lights that emit from phones and computers are stimulating – and most of the time so is the content of what we’re watching or reading.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read an email or something on Facebook at 9pm at night that got my gears going – there is nothing that can be done at that hour anyway, so save the emails and social media for the morning. What to do instead? My husband will tell you this is the best time to give your partner a massage, a bath, read a book, I like to cook and clean at this time – but keep it calm and relaxed.
2) Kill the lights
To further the down-regulation – dim all or most lights in our house long before you go to bed. Candles are even better!
3) Pre-Bedtime Yoga
Keep poses gentle with longer holds. Start with 5-6 long, slow breaths in each pose, work your way up to 10. Here’s a little sequence to try:
- seated forward fold, head supported by a block (to help relax your brain)
- seated forward fold with legs open in a straddle, head supported by a block
- gentle twist lying on the floor, both sides
- legs up the wall, with an eye pillow
- finally, lying face down with a regular pillow underneath your belly – very grounding, very calming, especially great for this season.
This is a great opportunity to practice meditation. While you’re in the poses, if you find yourself ruminating about something that went on in your day or anticipating what you have coming up the next day, mentally repeat to yourself, with a smile, “no thank you, not right now” and bring your attention back to your breathing.
4) As I crawl into bed these 4 things:
- Relax Essential Oils by yogoil! (sold in our studio!) If you don’t already use these oils, you don’t know what you’re missing. I dab a little on my neck and massage some on the bottoms of my feet.
- Make sure that my phone is on airplane mode – so there is no transmitting of anything going on.
- Black out blinds or curtains to make the room as dark as possible – that means no lights from a digital clock.
- Repeat the mantra “The sleep I’ll get tonight will be the perfect amount to make me feel rested and rejuvenated” and say it like you mean it!