The emotions and activities from our day can often keep us awake at night. A good night’s sleep is important to reset the body and mind and prepare for the next day.
We all know how dysfunctional we feel without quality rest. Consider creating a bedtime routine that incorporates the following:
Prepare the body for sleep
- avoid all stimulants at least one hour before bed
- avoid consuming a large meal, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate and high sugar snacks
- avoid TV, computers and smart phone devices as the blue light they emit stimulates the brain rather than allowing it to relax and prepare for sleep
Make your bedroom your sanctuary
- ensure your pillow and bed are comfortable, your bedroom is at the right temperature and not too warm
- you need good ventilation and most people find it easier to sleep in a darkened room, so draw the curtains or blinds; perhaps wear a sleeping mask
- remove the television
Relax the body through breath
Practice this simple breathing technique:
- as you relax and get comfortable in your bed, begin to deepen your breath, breathing in and out through your nose
- as your breath deepens, begin to inhale to the count of three and exhale to the count of six
Extending the exhale of your breath triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, the body’s automatic relaxation response, which encourages the body to relax more quickly.
- if you are distracted from your breath by your busy mind, simply acknowledge that this has happened and return to focus once again on your breath
- continue this cycle of breathing until you feel your mind and body relax enough to transport you into a deep and refreshing sleep
This breathing technique may also be useful if you wake up during the night and find it difficult to return to sleep.