We all know we need a good night’s sleep to perform optimally at work, in sports and in our relationships. Preferably 8 hours a night. Why? Sleep is the body’s time to repair it’s internal organs and tissues. Make new skin cells and allow our brain time to process and make sense of the days events. You wouldn't dream of letting your baby or small child have less than 8-10 hours sleep a night. So why not nurture yourself and get to bed an hour earlier to let your body heal from your busy day. You need your rest too.
In our busy modern lives where deadlines loom and mobile phones are always on, sleep deprivation has become the norm. To almost epic proportions.
So how exactly do we achieve a good night’s rest?
I wrote this blog a year ago and have been trying to live by it since. I admit I am not perfect but I feel a lot better with regular Yoga practice, proper breathing and regular early nights. So I have re-edited it adding in some improved practices for improved sleep and cognitive function. And I am passing these tips on to you so your quality of life improves.
Here is my top ten tips to help you sleep better:
1. Wind down before bed. An hour before you intend to go to bed start winding down.
2. Switch off your mobile phone, computer, tablet, emails and Facebook page.
3. Have a bath.
4. Read a book unrelated to your work before going to bed. Preferably fluffy fiction which has no relation to your working life.
5. Meditate. Find a quiet place, sit down comfortably and meditate. Focus on your breath. Take equal in and out breaths. Try a light meditation - this is one of my favorites imagine breathing in beautiful white light. And exhaling darkness, tension and stress.
6. Do Yoga & Relaxation. Join a Hatha Yoga class with a teacher you like. Find a class that spends the first 5-10 minuets of class doing Pranayama- yoga breathing exercises. I love Pranayama and always teach it in my Yoga & Pilates classes all styles from Dynamic Hatha to Gentle Yoga at all levels. All my clients tell me they sleep well after their yoga or pilates class.
7. Learn to let go. Life’s too short to hold grudges.
8. Avoid caffeine and chocolate. Cutting down these stimulates will help regulate your sleep and help you drop off to a deeper, more relaxing slumber. Swap to decaf coffee after lunch or drink herbal teas, so your body has time to eliminate the caffeine before bed.
9. Try not to eat a heavy meal too close to bed time. Give your body a chance to digest before you hit the hay. That way your body can properly rest while asleep and not on digest your meal.
10. Have a nap. I you didn't manage to get to bed as early as you'd like and are feeling the effects today. Have a short power nap in an appropriate place, where you won't be disturbed. I find anything from 20-40 minutes really helps my energy and mood. But too long and you will end up feeling foggy. Many great thinkers including Einstein and Sir Winston Churchill had cat naps in the day after a late night.
Remember practice makes perfect! Follow the 10 simple steps outlined above and get into a healthy wind down routine before bedtime. And stick to it.
I hope these tips help you rest well, sleep deeply and perform better. Please remember to like and share with your friends.
And if you live in the Surrey or East Hampshire area come and join me for a relaxing Hatha Yoga or Pilates class soon. I look forward to meeting you on the mat.
Amanda Frost Yoga and Pilates Teacher Exercise, Yoga and Health Blogger
About the author of this blog: you can read my biography on the main page of my website