To help you fall asleep and to support the regeneration processes that occurs during your sleep, you want to experiment with practice habits that allow your body, mind, and heart to relax, be embodied, and feel secured. Here are some exercises I have collected over the years that have helped me and my clients get better sleep.
Skip or reduce conditions that increase your stress response in the evening, such as:
Stimulating noise exposure.
Blue and green light 2-4 hours before sleep time. You can wear glasses with an amber/orange tint; use night shift on your apple products or f.lux on non apple computers and smartphones; and use amber lighting in your house at night.
Turn off EMF sources; you can do this by shutting down your circuit breakers or decrease it by unplugging all of your electronics and turning off your wifi.
Difficult conversations that increase your stress levels.
If possible, experiment with these recommendations:
Eat a high carbohydrate and starchy dinner 2-4 hours before you sleep. Take a supplement with B6 at this time.
Chew your meal - chewing is associated with increasing the relaxation of the nervous system.
Floss your day out by journaling or expressing your daily experiences to somebody. I sometimes write or use a project management software to write out what I did and experienced.
Go to sleep before 10 PM. You may experience a 2nd wind, if you try to go to sleep after this time, making it harder to go asleep.
An Hour Before Bedtime, I recommend the following rituals:
- Practice a mindful style of meditation, prayer, movement, touch therapy, massage, or connection. Meaning, it could be listening to soothing music, counting your breath or beads, practicing restorative yoga or yoga nidra, reading a book to your child, or hugging your partner.
- Read a non-stimulating hardcopy book.
- You may want to try a botanical sleep aid an hour before you sleep (ex. Valerian).
- Take an Epsom salt bath with your whole body or just soaking your feet. If you have low blood pressure or heart disease, please make sure not to stay too long in warm water.
As always, double check with your health practitioner to make sure these exercises are appropriate for you. And feel free to experiment what works for you. And change up your habits, if they seem to no longer serve their purpose. It may take a couple of months of practice to reap the full benefits of these types of rituals. Like conditioning a muscle, relaxation takes consistency, practice, and of course sleep to experience improvement.
If you have more questions, I offer privates in San Francisco and over skype or the phone. Contact me here.