Take steps towards better sleep
Updated: May 23
Have you been finding it hard to sleep well, especially during these challenging times? Many of you, who have enjoyed the weekly meditations I have been offering, have reported a marked improvement in the quality of sleep. So, today I would like to share some simple ways to improve the quality of your sleep.
" Sleep is critical to physical health and effective functioning of the immune system. It’s also a key promoter of emotional wellness and mental health, helping to beat back stress, depression, and anxiety." SleepFoundation.org
Create a sanctuary Your bedroom is a place for intimacy, relaxation and sleep. Not work and stress. Create a space where you relax and disconnect from stress. Surround yourself with things you cherish. Some ideas:
Diffuser with a relaxing essential oil such as lavender.
A Himalayan salt lamp
Soothing music or white noise
Keep clutter out. Do not take work nor check emails in the bedroom.
Do not watch television or use phone in the bedroom.
Photo by Jopeel Quimpo on Unsplash
Have a bedtime ritual
that sends a message to your mind and body that it is time to sleep.
This is how it looks for me: A warm shower, brushing teeth, dressing in clean breathable night clothes, closing the bedroom door, turning on a diffuser, turning off my phone, dimming the light, writing a journal for a few minutes – gratitude for the day and intention for the next day, a few minutes of meditation and slow breathing.
Photo by Emily Bauman on Unsplash
Crystals ideal for bedroom
Amethyst: healing; reduces stress and anxiousness
Moonstone: reduces emotional stress Rose Quartz: self love and for enhancing the heart energy Blue Lace Agate: for calming Smoky Quartz, Tourmaline for grounding Selenite: for clearing the energy and improving sleep Tip: hold one of the crystals in your hand while you meditate. repeat for a week before you go to a different one. See how you feel in the presence of the crystal, trust your intuition. Once you know which ones you resonate with, you can keep the ones you like in a small dish on your nightstand. If you are a Reiki practitioner, clear and energize the crystals and set the intention for them.
photo credit: Sarah Brown - unsplash
Slow Mindful Breathing/Meditation
I have found mindful and intentional breathing to be one of the simplest and most effective strategies for calming down.
When you are stressed or anxious your breath automatically becomes shallow as your body perceives danger and begins to prepare to take appropriate action. So, when you slow down your breath you are sending a clear message to your mind and body that it is safe to relax. The body reacts by slowing down the heart rate and blood pressure. the tension begins to dissolve. In such a relaxed state, at bedtime, you naturally drift off into a restful sleep.
Make slow deep breathing a regular practice throughout the day. You may take 5 slow deep breaths every time you wash your hands; before every meal and drink; every time you look at a mirror, or before every meeting and at bedtime.
Relaxation Technique: Count to Five
Sit comfortably, back relaxed yet straight, shoulders back and down, chin parallel to the ground. Do not cross your arms, legs, and ankles. At bed time, practice while lying on your back,
Close your eyes
Relax your jaw, facial muscles, arms, hands, legs and feet.
Take a slow breath in and mentally say ONE, and slowly breath out through the mouth or nose (experiment with both and see what works best for you)
The take another slow breath in and mentally say TWO, and slowly breath out
Repeat till you get to the number five.
Open your eyes.
See if you can smile as you do this exercise. If you wish, you can practice this with you eyes open, yet breath mindfully and intentionally. At bedtime, or when you have more time available, you may repeat this cycle for longer. Each time you get to the number five, start at the number one again. photo credit- david-clode unsplash