I am writing this for all who desire more relaxation and a better night's sleep. Here’s what I have learned. To get a deeper night sleep, make bedtime sacred and allow it to be a gradual process of unwinding of the day and relaxing. Here are some ideas I have for you to incorporate into a routine.
1) A warm bath with essentials oils + Epsom Salt. Epsom Salt helps to relax the muscle and also provides magnesium a vital nutrient absorbed through the skin. A nice way to begin to relax from the inside out. Lavendar essential oil is particularly beneficial for preparing the mind and body for sleep.
2) Castor Oil pack. That’s another article! I do 30-60 minutes before bed. This self care technique helps to relax the stomach and digestive organs.
3) Writing and reflecting. This one can be helpful or not in unwinding the body and mind, so be aware of how it affects you. Sometime it can be very relaxing to write, especially about pleasant and positive things, other times it brings us back to that moment, that thing, we found triggering and irritating.
4) Belly Breathing. Relaxing on the back with a bolster underneath the knees, and bringing your awareness to the breath for about 5-30 minutes. Check out my guided relaxation here:
5) Gratitude. Practice feeling a sense of gratitude. Make a list in your head or on paper for all that you are grateful for.
6) Practice Ho’oponopono. The how-to here. Compassion and forgiveness for yourself and others.
7) Coloring. This is one of my latest new hobbies. I bought a mindful coloring book from Angela Porter who designs them herself. It can be wonderfully relaxing.
8) Alternate Nostril Breathing. This is a basic yogic technique for balancing and clearing. Best done in a seated position for 3-15 minutes. Here is my guided explanation for you.
I also noticed some things seem to also effect quality of sleep. Here are other factors that I have noticed from my life:
What helps the body fall asleep at night:
-exercise in the morning, especially yoga + meditation
-eating nutritious food
-pituitary gland series (learn the series through a private yoga session)
-alternate nostril breathing
-relaxing music (check out Ajeet Kaur’s new album Darshan)
-regular relaxation throughout the week such as massage or craniosacral therapy
What does not help:
-caffeine and processed sugars, even in the morning tend to make me feel restless at night
-computer and tv within 2 hours of bed
-lights on in your bedroom (street lights, computer lights, etc)
These practices are really for anyone who wants to sleep better and feel well rested in the morning. A good night sleep helps us to rejuvenate so that we can feel energized and show up to do our work in the world. If you particularly have regular difficulty falling asleep, I recommend starting by removing 1 or 2 things from your diet/life and adding in 1 or 2 of the sleep rituals. These practices are a good place to start. For a customized plan, come in and see me for a craniosacral session or yoga private.