Simple Bedtime Routine for Better Sleep
In my years of working with clients and students probably the number one desire I hear is the one for better sleep. Whether it is trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or simply planning for a decent bedtime the challenge with getting adequate rest is still one that plagues way too many people in 2019.
Which to me, is crazy.
Sleep only comes second in importance for good health behind good digestion. Sleep is when the body regenerates, decompresses and de-stresses. Sleep is also the time your body heavily detoxes the previous day from food, emotions, and experiences. It is your bodies natural ability to hit reset and have a fresh start. But you don’t have to take it from me, and you probably haven’t heard this all here first- there are thousands of studies and articles on the topic.
Ayurveda provides for us a solid blueprint of how to get a better nights rest. I have seen this blueprint work wonders on those I work with and when I go through my own bouts with challenged sleep I come back to these same practices each time to get back on schedule for some sweet Z’s.
Are you ready for better sleep and the feeling of being well rested in the morning? Here are a few steps from the vast wisdom of Ayurveda that can support transforming your energy . . .
Regulate your Sleep Schedule. Sounds simple enough right? It should be, but many struggle with creating a regular bedtime and waking time. A regulated sleep schedule is training the body to fall asleep and wake up at the same time which in turn regulates the states of sleep you experience each night. In Ayurveda, we recommend that you are in bed by 10:00pm and rise by 6:00am. If you begin to slowly bring your bedtime towards 10:00pm and begin to roll back your wake up time to 6:00am or earlier you will begin to experience more quality of sleep by reaching the deeper states of sleep that are often missed.
Have a bedtime routine. Ideally I would have everyone begin their bedtime routine 2 hours before their head hits the pillow but I know that isn’t always feasible. But if you can begin a daily wind down routine an hour to 45 min before bed you will be setting yourself up for better quality sleep. This routine should be a set of tasks you do that signal to your body that you are ending your day and preparing to rest. Putting on comfortable pajamas, taking off glasses or contacts, washing your face, drinking a warm nighttime tea, oiling your hands, feet, back of neck to sooth the nervous system, turning off blue light technology, and making the house more quiet and dimly lit will all signal your mind that you are slowing down.
Eat an earlier dinner. What many don’t know is that your body is heavily detoxing during the night. While you sleep your liver and kidneys are scrubbing out the days build up and moving it toward the colon for elimination in the morning. If you eat a heavy dinner close to bed time you are clogging your system and your body has to work harder- this means lighter sleep, the potential of waking between 2am-4am increases (when the liver is working its hardest), and waking up without feeling rested. If you have these challenges with sleep observe your dinner time and how heavy that meal is. Work towards eating your last meal of the day no later than 3 hours before bedtime and avoid snacking.
Calm the nervous system. Stress is a leading cause for why an individual is unable to fall asleep or stay asleep through all of the sleep stages. If you find that stress is your keystone challenge for sleeping well then making a soothing practice part of your bedtime routine is essential. These practices are meditation (including guided ones, or visualizations), calming yoga postures such as legs-up-the-wall, child’s pose, corpse pose, or pranayama (breathwork) like left nostril breathing (done by gently closing the right nostril with the right thumb and deeply breathing through the left nostril only). These all move the body past the fight or flight level of the sympathetic nervous system and move you into the para-sympathetic nervous system where deep renewal and repair happens.
Make your bedroom a haven for rejuvenation. I am a huge believer in bedrooms being a place of retreat. A good nights sleep should heal the body, renew the senses, and balance the mind/body connection. But if your bedroom is cluttered, full of technology (t.v.’s, computers, workout equipment) or doesn’t bring a sense of joy and ease then you need to take the time to clarify and clear your space. When bedrooms become a catch-all they have a bit of an identity crisis and our minds respond to that confusion even if subconsciously. A light tidying of your bedroom can be a part of your wind down routine that signals all is in order and sleep is welcome.
To add to these simple practices, my personal message is that you have to want to make sleep a priority. There is of course the ‘Tired Badge of Honor’ that still resonates with many modern peoples. This is the idea that being tired means you show up, do the hard work, and are validated in your society and circles. This is a mindset that has to be reprogrammed.
I have also witnessed in others who have struggled with better sleep who realize they hold a fear around what life might be like if they are well rested. This may sound backward but the fear is that if they feel rested, life will demand more of them and their plates may fill up more as their energy increases. This projection of the future can feel overwhelming in the present. Or they have depended on exhaustion as a viable excuse to get out of what they don’t want to face in life instead of making better boundaries. To ease your mind if this is resonating, know that in getting better sleep these things are just not true. When you are well rested you are better equipped to make decisions around what you take on and feel more empowered to make boundaries because your over all vitality improves. Life feels way less daunting when you are rested. The worry and anxiety of these two scenarios, in my opinion, is a great example of the low vibration influence exhaustion has on an individuals potentiality and ability.
Simply put, when you sleep better you live better. And longer for that matter.
So how will you prioritize better sleep? If you adopt one of these simple practices which one will you start with? And if you need guidance and support don’t hesitate to reach out and begin designing the life you desire through an Ayurvedic Intake & Consult. You are 100% worth it!