We are huge advocates of sleep and its importance for a healthy, happy life. In the run up to our Big Sleep Challenge, we asked Lucy McCarthy to explain why sleep’s so important and share some tips for a great night’s sleep.
Many of us want to sleep better. We often skimp and short charge ourselves by not getting enough sleep thinking it won’t have a big effect. However as science has now proved adequate sleep is vital for many of the body’s and brains vital functions.
So whether you have ongoing challenges with getting to sleep or staying asleep or simply getting enough sleep below is my top hit list for pre bed preparation to set you up for deep restful sleep.
Lucy’s Before Bed Steps to Assist Sweet Sound Sleep
1. Shut Down
Stop all work and screen based activities at least one hour before bed. Science has now proven the blue light emitted by our computers, phones and tablets stimulate our brains keeping up awake. Shutting off all screens an hour before bed allows the body to release its natural sleep inducing hormones.
Lowering the lighting around you so the soft lighting prepares the body for sleep is a great way to guide your body to start to slow down for sleep. Also giving the mind sufficient time to wind down after work is vital. Otherwise we go to bed wired and wonder why our brain is still in problem solving mode when we are trying to sleep.
Do a 10 minute stream of consciousness mind-dump journaling process. Set a timer for 10 minutes give yourself permission to write down and splurge whatever is at the forefront of your mind. It could be reflections on your day, musings on your mood, a to-do for the next day: anything really just a way to empty out mind busyness.
Take a bath with Epsom salts and added lavender essential oil. I’m a huge fan of baths. They help me transition from my day. Soak away tensions and soothe my muscles. Epsom salts are high in Magnesium which is great for us. The lavender oil triggers deep relaxation and prepares mind and body for sleep.
Drink a camomile tea. Soothing, sleep inducing deliciousness that will hydrate and relax you prebed.
On getting into bed do a short rotation of consciousness exercise. It’s super simple. Lie on your back in a comfortable way. Close your eyes and start to bring your awareness to the crown of your head, pause there and see what you feel, then continue to scan thru your body from top to toe til you reach the feet. It gives your mind a focus so it doesn’t get drawn back into the busyness of the day. Plus it’s deeply relaxing for the body.
6. Bonus Tip: SOS
If you are struggling to get to sleep or wake up in the middle of the night. You can do a great breath counting exercise to lull you back into deep sleep. It links breathing slowly and consciously whilst counting down from 50 to 0 on the exhale. The exercise is you inhale, exhale silently say 50 in your mind. Inhale, exhale say 48 in your head, inhale, exhale say 46 in your head. Repeat until you get to zero. Usually you fall asleep before that point.
Honour your mind and body. They need rest. They need sufficient hours of sleep to rejuvenate and regenerate on a cellular. Many of the body’s key functioning, especially for the organs, happens during night hours. When we don’t sleep well we reduce the body’s innate healing and restoring capabilities. I wish you deep, restful, replenishing sleep.
This post was written with love by our inspiring yoga and meditation teacher, Lucy McCarthy.