Rest is essential to healing. When the body goes through the sleep cycle, we process all of the information that we’ve been “downloading” that day, and that’s why elimination — going to the potty — is one of the first things we do when we wake.
Without enough sleep, This leads to irritability, leaves the body vulnerable to sickness, and makes it more difficult to recover from injury.
According to the Center For Disease Control, however, 1 in 3 adults aren’t getting the requisite 7 hours.
To remedy this, try these simple ways of getting the most out of your shuteye:
Open the Window.
Get a dose of fresh air while you slumber. This will help to calm anxiety, including those problems that have yet to come to the surface of our consciousness. You may even notice your dreams become more vivid.
Sleepy time herbs like chamomile are used for insomnia and to calm the effects of common ailments that disturb a restful night, like inflammation, menstrual cramps, muscle spasms and ulcers. Go for a yummy blend like VIDA Tea’s Teatox.
Turn Off the Lights and the TV.
Our nervous system is always on, even while we sleep. It’s best to limit the amount of information intake during our “off” hours. Turn everything off. Use a sleep timer on the tele, if you have troubles falling asleep without it, and put your phone on silent alerts (use your “Favorites” setting, if you’re worried about missing an emergency call from a significant other or your family). Plan a Digital Detox Day, where you step away from all screens to unwind from the accompanying stimulation. Take a nap instead.
Clear the Air.
Purify your bedroom of allergens and other “noise” that bothers respiration. A humidifier, Himalayan Salt Lamps ,and bringing in some lush indoor plants are a great way to restore the air’s balance and remove harmful toxins that we didn’t even know were suffocating our sleep.
Use Essential Oils.
Scents like lavender help to calm the mind. Put a few drops around your neck so that you may breath it in as you rest.
Though it seems simple, the “final resting pose” is the most difficult to master. The stillness required to keep the spine in pure alignment, especially in today’s world of constant stimulation, is a task that many of us are too agitated to handle. A true savasana practitioner knows, however, that even if we have an itch during the pose, there is no need to scratch it. The feeling will pass.
Take a Shower.
Although it will momentarily wake you up, the soothing sensation of water will cleanse you of your daily external grime, allowing your skin to breathe, and preparing the body to do the internal work. Remove that make up, take out your contacts, and give yourself time to be you.
Clean the Bedding.
Likewise, clean sheets remove a layer of work that your body would otherwise have to go through to get comfortable. Bonus: Consider washing your sheets with lavender-scented detergent.
Take Something Off Your To-Do List.
There is at least one item that can wait until tomorrow, if you find yourself staying up night after night to complete work. Work will always be there, but your health won’t be if you continue to ignore it. If the pressure is coming from bills or your boss, talk to your collectors about a more realistic payment plan, or to your employer about a more realistic workload. Remember, stress compounds and an overworked employee is actually a less productive one.
Hold Your Breath.
B.K.S. Iyengar recommends this practice to quell insomnia. Rest on your back, and with eyelids shut look towards your pineal gland, which regulates circadian rhythms (our sleep cycle) and relieves the strain in the backs of the eyes that comes with staring at screens all day. As you look towards this gland — a.k.a. your third eye, dream vision or that all seeing eye on the back of money — take a slow deep breath in and hold for a count of 8 sheep, then slowly exhale. This will instantly calm the body, and shift your life towards greater abundance.
DISTRICTiYOGA is an E-RYT 500 YACEP located in Washington, D.C. She often uses “namaste” as the first word uttered to students at the beginning of class, as well as the last. She began mindful yogic studies some 20 years ago in elementary school and began teaching formally in 2008.