Get Better Night's Rest with these Sleep Hacks
Do you have a hard time falling asleep at night? I used to find myself tossing and turning in bed for hours before actually being able to crash out, and it was exhausting. I'd wake up the next day feeling groggy and grumpy and less productive no matter how many cups of coffee I downed.
Sleep is such a precious component to our overall health and wellness. We're happier, sharper, and stronger when we get adequate sleep every night.
I finally got tired of being so tired and knew something needed to change, so I started doing a few simple things differently at night, and it has truly made the world of a difference. Not only do I fall asleep faster and feel more rested during the day, but I wake up with a clearer, more peaceful mind.
If you suffer from lack of sleep or a busy, jumbled mind when you wake up in the morning, give yourself a much needed break and try some (or all!) of these little night time sleep hacks.
1. Restorative Yoga
Even just a few simple restorative yoga poses with conscious, full breathing can have a huge impact on your sleep and general well being. Before bed, or even in bed!, take at least 10 minutes for a couple easy, relaxing stretches to unwind from the day.
2. Yoga Nidra
Another option is to practice yoga nidra, or "yogic sleep," which you can do lying down in your bed at any time. Yoga nidra, simply put, is an easy meditation practice that leads to deep relaxation in the body and mental freedom. Just 30 minutes of yoga nidra is equivalent to 3 hours of deep REM sleep! You can find guided yoga nidra meditations on YouTube, listen to it on your phone while you lie in bed, and finally get some rest. We also offer a yoga nidra class at Pulse, so if you want to experience a full practice in person you can check out our schedule. It's fabulous.
3. Hot Epsom Salt Bath
God, I love baths. They're so healing. Fill your tub with steamy hot water and two cups of epsom salt. Add some lavender essential oil into the water, or even throw some rose petals in there for extra soothing sensations. Grab a book, some tea (chamomile or another sleepy time tea is ideal), and let yourself relax. I try to spend at least 60 minutes soaking in the tub to really get all the benefits.
4. Lavender Essential Oil
Mix lavender essential oil with a little bit of coconut oil and rub it into your earlobes or soles of the feet. Lavender is an insanely awesome oil for de-stressing and calming the nervous system. (You can also look into several proprietary blends from different essential oil companies that are specifically designed to help you sleep.)
Many of us are unknowingly deficient in magnesium, which can have an array of side effects in the body and mind, such as stress, tension, and anxiety. By taking a magnesium supplement before bed you can decrease your cortisol levels (which cause stress), and allow the muscles to relax and unwind. I recommend taking it in powder form, like Natural Calm or Stress X Magnesium powder. Just mix the magnesium with some warm water and drink up.
6. Few Lights, No Screens
Turn most of the lights in your house off and let the house become dark with the sky. This will help your mind and body understand that the day is ending and it's time to start winding down. With that, turn those screens off! Do your best to give yourself at least 1-2 hours before bed with no phone or television time, as the light and stimulation will disrupt the winding down process.
It's also important not to prolong bed time - those first signs of being tired should be addressed! When you start to feel tired, drop your work if you can and start your tea or bath or your restorative practice. Ride the wave of sleepiness when it arises instead of pushing through it because you think it's too early to go to bed. Treat your sleep as a process that needs unfolding. Eventually your mind and body will become used to the routine you've created and sleep will start to come easy!
I hope this is helpful. Do you do any of these things to enhance your sleep? Do you have another trick to add to the sleepy time bag? Leave a comment and let us know what works for you.
And now, turn your phone off and go to bed! <3
For love, with love.
All photos by Sean Shelton @capturedconnections & Emily O'Brien @emily.obrien