Finding a balanced sleep pattern can be hard to do, but it can also be one of the most rewarding efforts for improving your daily energy. Each body has an imbedded internal sleep cycle and when it’s not finite it can lead to dwindling energy, lack of motivation, and stress to the body. Learn more on how to bring your circadian rhythm (sleep pattern) into balance.
Let’s face it, your sleep patterns can make or break your energy throughout the day. Sleep affects everything from your workout to your productivity at work, so when you don’t have enough of it, you can surely feel it. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “sleep is essential for a person’s health and well-being, yet millions of people do not get enough sleep and many suffer from lack of sleep.” Sleep is essential for the healing process, regeneration of cells in the body, and recovery from every daily stresses, toxins, and more.
In a study conducted by the NSF, it was revealed that almost 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders, 60 percent of adults report having sleep problems a few nights a week or more, and 40 percent of adults experience daytime sleepiness, severe enough to interfere with their daily activities at least a few days each month.
From the foods you consume before bed, to the amount of light in your room, many factors can impact your sleeplessness or restfulness.
If you feel like you are lagging all day, the good news is that the quality of your sleep can be improved with a few simple steps.
Here are 10 tips to help you get better sleep at night:
1. Create a routine
Create a pre-bed time routine that you commit to every night. Slow your brain down by reading, taking a hot bath or shower, or do your nightly hygiene routine, such as brushing your teeth. What ever you choose, do it at the same time and in the same order.
2. Don’t eat before bed
Eating or drinking right before bed can make it much harder to fall sleep because your body is involved in another process—digestion. Not only can this cause acid reflux, but it also impacts your sleep. Aim to finish your last meal of the day two to three hours before going to bed. What you drink is also important; drinking caffeine, alcohol or ice-cold water can steal sleep because it is hard for the body to process. If you absolutely have to eat or drink before bed, consider foods that naturally have melatonin in them such as turkey or tart cherry.
3. Consider doing a relaxing yoga flow or some breath work to slow your brain
Does your Savasana at the end of yoga class seem to be more beneficial to you than your 6-8 hours of sleep? This could be because of the closing poses that slow the brain and provide a cooling effect in the body. A few poses that you can incorporate into your bedtime routine are: Child’s Pose for grounding, Forward Folds for lower stress levels, Plow Pose for cooling, Viparita Karani to bring the blood back down to your heart, Spinal Twists to aid in digestion and toxin removal, and the Pranayama (breathing technique) of Surya Bhedana. Surya Bhedana (or left nostril breathing) is considered the most effective breathing for inducing sleep. Sit in Easy Seated Pose or Corpse Pose, cover the right nostril with your thumb and extend the fingers out. Then take five to ten deep breaths out of your left nostril.
4. Take a look at the amount of light in your room
Cover any sources of light in your room that are at or above eye level. Light can disrupt REM sleep.
5. How much caffeine do you intake throughout the day?
If you are having a hard time falling asleep, check how much caffeine you have consumed throughout the day. Look at not only coffee, but also the caffeine in supplements and medications–you may be surprised at what you find. Even the most popular headache medications have caffeine in them.
6. Check your bed
Are you comfortable in your bed? Make sure that the space from your waist to your hip crease is supported and the space from your shoulder to your upper neck is supported for side sleeping; it is the most natural alignment for the body. Your disks actually replenish with water overnight because of gravity’s pull, so help this process and support yourself with whatever props/ pillows you need.
7. Were you physically active throughout the day?
A workout a day can keep the sleep clinic away. Keeping your body physically active with a workout can help you sleep better at night, especially if you rotate types of workouts so that your body doesn’t get too use to a specific routine.
8. Limit your TV and Phone Time
Try to put down your phone and shut off the TV at least one or two hours before sleeping. Engaging in technology increases the electrical activity in the brain and provides direct light into the retina, which delays the release of melatonin in the body.
9. Give Essential Oils A Try
Still feel wired from the day? Give essential oils a try. The vibration of certain plant-based substances can have a cooling effect on the body, which the body associates with sleep. Try a few drops of lavender essential oils on your feet.
10. Wake Up At The Same Time Daily
Set your alarm for one time every day and don’t hit the snooze button. Eventually you wont need your alarm at all because your internal time clock will be set.
All in all, the better you sleep, the more balanced your body is. A more balanced body leads to a happier, more energetic day.
About the Author
Jenn Morgan also known as the Soul Filled Yogi, is a Fabletics Master, 500-Hour Registered Yoga Teacher, Founder of Rochester Yoga In The Park, Director of the Rochester Yoga Festival, blog writer, and a spirit junkie fascinated by energy work. She enjoys running, walking her two dogs, paddle boarding, practicing various types of yoga and curling up with a good book. For more on Jenn’s work and her free guide ‘Easy Ways to Break Through Mental Clutter’ visit www.soulfilledyogi.com