Sleep plays a huge role in our physical, mental and emotional health. Sleeping supports healthy brain function and allows our whole body to rest and heal. A good night sleep improves learning, memory and overall wellbeing; it also decreases high blood pressure and stress. On the other hand, lack of sleep alters some parts of the brain and can impair judgement, it lowers the sex drive, ages the skin, and increases the level of cortisol, thus impacting on how the immune system responds to threats.
So, if you are stressed, anxious, nervous, worried and can’t fall asleep easily, here are 13 tips to help you sleep.
1. No technology in the bedroom
Turn off your phone, your TV, the WiFi and reduce screen time before bed as it stimulates brain activity. Turn on the blue light filter if you are reading on your phone, Kindle, tablet or iPad an hour or so before going to bed.
2. Himalayan salt lamp
If you don’t have one already, get one ASAP, you will not regret it. Himalayan salt lamps clear and purify the air, shine a relaxing and soothing light, improve the mood, reduce insomnia and asthma, and increase serotonin levels. They create a beautiful and calming atmosphere. I have one in the bedrooms, the office, the living room and I bring one to all my yin yoga classes to support relaxation.
3. A warm drink
A warm drink can definitely help you get sleepy. Golden milk and herbal teas (caffeine free teas), particularly valerian, passiflore (passionflower) and chamomile teas are excellent to relax. You can read more about the benefits of Golden Milk and get the recipe here.
4. Essential oils
Essential oils are amazingly powerful and can be a great tool to help you sleep. I recommend using a few drops of Lavender oil on your pillow. Vetiver, Ylang Ylang and Roman Chamomile oils are also great to help the brain shut off for the night.
5. Do not eat too late
Allow at least 2 hours to digest before bed. It is actually recommended to wait between 2 and 3 hours. Some foods enhance sleep while others energise you. Waiting to digest before lying down will help your body avoid reflux and heartburn. Try to eat foods rich in tryptophan, such as dairy products, nuts, and seeds. Cherry juice, kiwis, bananas, jasmin rice, turkey and sweet potatoes trigger a sleep-inducing hormonal response, whereas coffee, sugar, soft drinks and spicy food will keep you up.
6. Forgiveness with Ho’oponopono
Clear any argument, resentment, anger or frustration you may be experiencing before you go to bed, so that you can sleep soundly and peacefully. You will not sleep well if your mind is angry and agitated. There are 4 powerful words that can help you release anger and frustration. See the post on Ho’oponopono to learn how to practise this powerful prayer.
Being thankful and grateful has a huge impact on our overall wellbeing. Keep a gratitude journal in which you write at least 3 things you are grateful for during the day. If you don’t have time to keep a gratitude journal, you can simply say out loud or in your head what you are thankful for. It can be big or small things, events or people in your day. It is a great occasion to reflect on the day and to appreciate the positive in your your life.
8. Epsom salt bath
What better way to end the day? A warm and soothing Epsom salt bath! You can add a few drops of your favourite essential oils too. If you don’t have a tub, go for a float; it’s so nurturing and relaxing. For an even more cocooning and unwinding atmosphere, light up a candle, play soft relaxing or meditative music and have a glass of wine while reading your favourite book!
Meditation is an excellent way of clearing your mind after a long day. It can help you witness your thoughts and emotions without letting them affect you. Simply sit in a quiet environment, close your eyes, lengthen the spine, inhale deeply and exhale longly. Listen to your breath. Or what about a mindful body scan while lying in bed, relaxing one body part at a time? Start at the top of your head and slowly make your way down to your toes. Your whole body will feel heavy, relaxed and you will probably fall asleep before completing your body scan.
10. Yoga poses for better sleep
- Legs up the wall (place a blanket underneath your hips and back for extra comfort)
- Child pose (you can add a bolster or blanket underneath your belly or forehead, in order to feel supported and to fully let go)
- Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Bring a pillow under your head and a blanket underneath the thighs for extra support)
Give yourself a mini treatment in bed. It’s ok if you fall asleep because the flow of energy will continue overnight and you will feel re-energised the next day. You can read more about what reiki is and its benefits in this post.
12. Leave your worries outside
Do you know about Guatemalan worry dolls? They are great for kids but can be helpful for us too. Guatemalan worry dolls are handcrafted tiny dolls. When worried, tell the dolls about it and place them under your pillow. During the night, the dolls take over your worries so that you can sleep peacefully. A similar exercise is to write your worries on a piece of paper and ask for guidance over night. Leave the piece of paper in a drawer, out of sight or burn it, and you will likely have an answer to your worries in the morning.
13. Delta/Beta waves music
We still process sounds when sleeping and some sounds can be very powerful in relaxing the brain. Music using beta and delta waves are best. You can listen to this YouTube video to induce drowsiness and relaxation, so that you easily drift off to sleep.
I hope these tips will help you relax and sleep in peace.
What works for you? What do you do when you can’t sleep? Leave a comment below to share your favourite tips on falling asleep.
THE MINDFUL WEEK JOURNAL
Do you want to reduce stress and anxiety, be more present, reconnect with yourself and become more mindful in your daily life?
Sign up below to receive my free eBook The Mindful Week Journal. You will find daily mindfulness activities you can easily incorporate in your routine. They will help you increase your self-awareness and create a deeper sense of inner peace.