Restful sleep is the foundation of good health. While we sleep our body relaxes and repairs. Sleep is the best form of meditation. However, because of the pressures and stress we’re placing on ourselves these days, sleep often escapes us. We should be aiming for 7-9 hours sleep each night. Here are my top tips for restful sleep.
Consistency – sleep and rise at the same time each day (if possible). This ensures your body recognises a pattern and knows what to do. It’s great if you can sleep when it’s dark and rise when it’s light. If consistency is impossible for you, simply follow the next 7 steps below.
Wind down – an hour before bedtime, turn off electronic devices (television, computer and phone), dim the lights (or turn the lights off an use a lamp or candles) and do something that relaxes you (hot bath, read, meditation, conversation, etc). This will help the body produce melatonin which is needed for sleep.
Routine – develop a sleep time routine that you do right before bed time. A simple 5 minute routine is great and should include 20 deep diaphragm breaths (to relax the nervous system), meditation (to calm the mind) and journalling (to remove worries).
Avoid sugar – avoid sugar in desserts and snacks at night time. Eating sugar at night will cause your blood sugar levels to spike and then drop during the middle of the night causing you to wake up.
Stabilise blood sugar – we need to maintain steady blood sugar levels throughout the night to ensure sound sleep. Before you go to sleep eat a snack that contains a combination of healthy fats and a small amount of protein to ensure your blood sugar levels remain stable. Good snacks include celery topped with nut butter, nuts or mashed avocado with cottage cheese.
Essential Oils – lavender is well known for its calming effects. Add a few drops to a hot bath or drop some onto a tissue and place it near your bed (on your bedside table).
Herbal tea – chamomile tea and valerian root tea are known to relax the nervous system. Enjoy a hot cup of tea before bedtime.
Magnesium – eat magnesium rich foods at dinner. Magnesium improves muscle relaxation to assist with sleep. Magnesium rich foods include pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, cashews, lentils, oats, spinach and bananas.
Do you have any tips for restful sleep to add to the list?
Image: Ming Ming Tea