Follow These Pre-bedtime Rituals For A Deep And Sound SleepLuke Coutinho
A deep and fulfilled sleep is one of the most important aspects of holistic well-being. Having a good sleep is not just about how many hours you sleep. It is also about how well you sleep. Remember, quality over quantity. One could sleep for nine to ten hours and still wake up feeling unrested and drowsy, or they could sleep for only five to six hours and wake up feeling rested and ready to get on with their day.
Quality sleep is important because it helps in managing your blood pressure, heart rate, regulating body temperature, balancing hormones, and even carrying out detoxification at cellular levels. Achieving quality sleep is intrinsically linked to the other three pillars of a healthy lifestyle as well. These include Balanced Nutrition, Adequate Exercise, and Emotional Detox. Disturbance in any one of these can easily disrupt the other three as well. For instance, you can have the best diet or exercise plan in the world. But if you aren’t giving your body time to rest, then all those foods, superfoods, and exercises are useless.
Medicines and drugs have become an inevitable part of our lifestyle today. We are more dependent on the cure rather than prevention and precautions. We ought to remember that often the root cause of our health issues is our lifestyle. And, that’s the solution too.
If you have been struggling with a messy sleeping schedule, here are some simple lifestyle changes you can follow to get into the habit of sleeping on time.
- Have early dinners, usually before or close to sunset. As the sun sets, our digestive capacity slows down too. Eating early improves your sleep schedule. It also helps your body carry out the process of digestion with ease. This is how your circadian rhythm works. It also explains why one may wake up feeling heavy, sluggish, and lethargic after a late-night heavy meal. This is because your body didn’t get a chance to digest and break it down effectively.
- If you can’t make it early to your dinners, eat light dinners at least an hour or two before bedtime.
- Have a fixed bedtime routine to ensure sound sleep. This helps set your biological clock as per the routine.
- Avoid consuming stimulants like tea, coffee, alcohol, spicy foods, tobacco, smoking, social media, news, and disturbing conversations around bedtime.
- Solve crossword puzzles, play sudoku or simply have pleasant conversations with your kids or family members.
- Be consistent with your gadgets and digital detox. The emission of blue light or screen light, in general, delays the onset of sleep. So, limiting your screen time to at least an hour or two before bed is necessary.
- Maintain darker surroundings. Switching off all lights half an hour before bedtime signals the body that it is time for you to fall asleep. Dark rooms also help secrete the sleep hormone, melatonin, otherwise restricted due to artificial lighting.
- Sprinkle or dab essential oils like lavender, frankincense, or vetiver on your pillow. It is known to promote sleep. You can also use a sleep mist containing these essential oils.
- Try breathing exercise Close your mouth and right nostril completely. Only use your left nostril to inhale and exhale for a couple of rounds as you lie down to sleep. This calms the body and mind internally and helps you fall asleep.
- Practice the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Here, you inhale, hold, exhale, and repeat for a couple of rounds. Inhale for four seconds, hold for seven seconds and exhale for eight seconds.
- Read before bedtime. This helps reduce stress, clears the mind, and prepares the body to sleep.
- Reflect on your day for a deeper sleep. Close your eyes. Inhale long and slow. Then exhale longer than your inhale. Replay your day, how it went, the moments that made you smile. Reflect on what made you feel good about yourself. Acknowledge three things or people you are grateful for. Then go to sleep.
- Meditate and set intentions. Visualize how you want to spend the next day. Try to maintain a journal where you write it all before you sleep. Do these at least 10 to 15 minutes before bedtime. This stops the chatter in your mind, reduces anxiety, and helps you to sleep with peace.
- Take a warm shower before bedtime. It provides muscle relaxation and helps you sleep better. You can even add essential oils or Epsom salt in the water to further relax your nerves and muscles.
- Making love. This releases oxytocin, the feel-good hormone, and prolactin, a hormone produced by the pituitary gland. Both of these relax the body and allow you to sleep easily.
- Try yogic practices like Yoga Nidra and Shavasana. These are quite helpful in sleeping when done during bedtime.
These steps are some of the best ways to switch on the Parasympathetic Nervous System, which means switching on the rest and digest mode. In the absence of blue light, darker surroundings support our circadian rhythm and allow more melatonin secretion.
Melatonin, the sleep hormone, is not just responsible for sleep but immunity building as well. It is also known as the anti-cancer hormone. Hence, a decrease in melatonin can increase the chances of cancer. When we sleep, melatonin is free to roam around in our bodies. It constantly looks out for cells that are multiplying abnormally in the body and fights them like a soldier.
Don’t get us wrong. The information above is not meant to scare you. Its purpose is to educate and motivate you about how your body works at night. It is to make you aware so that you can align your body with nature.
Having said that, achieving these steps won’t happen overnight. Therefore, aim to adopt one ritual at a time. Go for the habit stacking method. Challenge yourself to eat your last meal early or at least one to two hours before bedtime. Stick to it until your body adapts to it gradually.
Then, stack the next habit of keeping your gadgets and devices away from your eyesight. Again, the goal is to limit exposure to blue light. If you don’t see your gadgets, you are most unlikely to use them. Out of sight is out of mind. Instead, spend that time practicing the relaxation activities mentioned above.
When these changes don’t feel like a change anymore, stack them with the final habit of sleeping in a completely dark room. Once you have a night routine, stick to it for five out of seven days a week.
With some changes, you can easily adapt these tips to your lifestyle. If you are a night shift worker, practice having a lighter dinner. This helps you not feel restless at work. When you return home during bright hours, make sure you have thick curtains that don’t allow light to penetrate your room. You can also invest in good-quality eye masks. You’d be glad to know that we are working on a more detailed blog for your sleeping schedule.
Peaceful, timely, and quality sleep is a powerful lifestyle drug. The healing it brings to your body is irreplaceable to any outer medication.
A good night’s sleep is a must to recharge the mind and body. We hope our suggestions will help you abide by a healthy sleeping schedule with simple and effective lifestyle changes. If you are on any kind of sleep medication, please speak to your medical expert before attempting these.
Until then, sleep well and sleep deep.
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