Sleep is EVERYTHING! You can have the healthiest of diets, get your sweat on, meditate, drink green drinks, and generally live a stress-free life but if you don’t get enough sleep it doesn’t mean a thing. (Okay, okay…so that might be a slight exaggeration but lack of sleep does cancel out a lot of the positive choices you make.) I’ve struggled with quality sleep my entire life and am wiling to try just about any natural suggestion to get more/better sleep and these are four techniques that I’ve been using lately with success.
Magnesium and Melatonin
Magnesium and melatonin are your best friends when it comes to getting more sleep naturally. Many people (myself included) are deficient in magnesium which can be detrimental to your overall wellness and impact your sleep quality. Melatonin is a sleep regulating hormone. I take a magnesium supplement, Natural Calm, nightly. It not only helps my body and mind calm down and prepare for restful sleep but it also supports the digestive system and keeps things moving. I drink cherry juice to naturally increase my melatonin before bed.
Stir Natural Calm and water and allow to fizz. Add cherry juice and drink 30 minutes before bed.
It’s no secret that I’m a meditation junkie. I know that meditation has the power to transform your life and it has dramatically improved my sleep. Bedtime sends my mind into overdrive and I rely on guided meditations and breathing exercises to help turn down the volume of my mind.
Gabrielle Bernstein’s free sleep meditation. This is the guided meditation that started it all for me. It’s the first guided meditation that I truly connected to and I still use it on a regular basis before bed.
If I’m feeling exceptionally wired or stressed at night I will settle in with Terri Cole’s Manifest to Sleep meditation. This is sleep meditation GOLD! I’m typically asleep by the end of the 10 minutes.
I’ve been incorporating Kundalini meditations that support sleep into my routine.
Shabd Kriya for Deep Sleep and Radiance (as taught by Yogi Bhajan)
Posture: Sit in any position with your spine straight and your eyes closed and focused on your nose. (The goal is to be comfortable.)
Mudra (hand position): Place your hands in your lap with your palms up and the right hand over the left. Your thumbs are together and pointing forward (Buddha mudra).
Breath and mantra: Inhale for 4 equal breaths, mentally reciting the mantra Sa-Ta-Na-Ma on each inhale. Hold your breath, reciting the mantra (Sa-Ta-Na-Ma) 4 times for a total of 16 beats. You can work your way up to holding your breath for 16 beats. Exhale in 2 equal strokes reciting mentally Wahe Guru. Continue for 3, 11, 15, 22, 31 or 62 minutes.
Left Nostril Breathing
Posture: Sit in easy pose with your spine straight and your eyes closed.
Mudra: Block your right nostril with your right thumb and the other fingers pointing toward the sky. Your left hand is in your lap in Gyan Mudra (your thumb and pointer finger are touching).
Breath and mantra: Begin to breathe long and deep only through your left nostril. Mentally recite Sat on the inhales and Nam on the exhales. Continue for three minutes.
Lay on spikes (seriously)
I’ve been loving my Spook accupressure mat lately. The mat is made up of 6210 accupressure stimulation points. Yes, 6210 spikes! It seems scary and painful but it is pure bliss. The mat is great for relaxation, stimulation, energy, and sleep. I lay on the mat for 30-45 minutes at bedtime and am eased into the most restful sleep. Most of the time Andrew finds me asleep on the mat. It’s hard to imagine being that relaxed while you lay on 6210 plastic spikes but you can feel tension releasing from your body and calm washing over you. (Bonus: the mat has been a lifesaver when I’ve had a migraine or tension headache.)
Set the mood
You want your bedroom to be cool and dark for ideal sleep. Turn down the temperature before getting ready for bed. We usually set it on 67 or 68 degrees. And you want your room to be totally dark. Any light (even the tiniest amount) can confuse your body and mess with your sleep patterns. They sell blackout stickers that will cover all of those annoying lights on anything you have in the bedroom. I use a sleep mask at night because there always seems to be random light shining in through the blinds. Be sure that your sleep mask has room for your eyes to blink comfortably. Your sleep will be disrupted if the mask is flush against your eyelids because your eyes won’t have space to flutter.
I hope you try one (or all) of these tips and have the best sleep of your life! Don’t forget to share your sleep tips in the comments below so that we can learn from each other.
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