Making sleep a priority is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. By making sure you get enough good quality sleep every night, you not only set yourself up for a great next day, but a long and healthy life too.
Whether you’re an aspiring yogi, a beginner yogi, an intermediate yogi, or even an advanced yogi, you can take advantage of the following tips to improve your sleep naturally.
1. Refrain from Stimulating Devices and Activities
The earlier in the evening that you can turn off the TV, put your smartphone away, stop working, or finish any vigorous exercise, the better! Plan to do this an hour before turning in at the very least.
2. Snack on Sleep-Friendly Foods
If you’re hungry before bed, light snack can actually help you sleep better. Go for complex carbohydrates combined with lean protein that ideally contains the amino acids tryptophan (such as chicken/turkey breast, tuna, cheese, nuts, seeds, and beans). Tryptophan is known to boost serotonin levels, which helps promote sleep.
3. Darken Your Environment
You don’t have to sit around in a pitch dark room, but less light will certainly help your body adjust and get the signal to prepare for sleep. Instead of simply dimming the lights, try lighting some candles for enhanced relaxation.
4. Listen to Soothing Music or Sounds
Classical, ambient, and smooth jazz are perfect music genres for winding down. Alternatively, you could try listening to some sound effects like ocean waves, rain, thunderstorms, birds, or frogs to help you get in touch with nature.
5. Mindfully Prep for the Night and Next Day
Without any stimulating devices or activities to indulge in before bed, you can take the extra time you have to carry out your evening routine and plan for tomorrow. Take a relaxing bath, moisturize your entire body, brush your teeth extra well, pick out what you want to wear, make your lunch, and do whatever else you need to do while practicing mindfulness.
6. Do a Bit of Journaling
The evening is the perfect time to do a bit of a mind dump through writing. Grab your journal and and a pen to write what simply comes to mind. You may wish to reflect on your day, write about how you feel, or plan for what you want to do tomorrow.
7. Lower the Thermostat (Or Crack a Window)
Cooler body temperatures help promote sleep, so set your thermostat to adjust the temperature to somewhere between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the hours you plan to sleep. During slightly warmer weather in the spring, summer, and autumn months, you can even leave the window open.
8. Settle Your Mind With Aromatherapy
Essential oils have natural healing properties that can relax the mind and help you prepare for sleep. Whether you choose to gently inhale the aromas or put a few drops on your pillow is completely up to you. Here are seven essential oils known to have calm and soothing effect on the mind.
9. Get in Touch With Your Breath and Body
Last but not least, don’t forget about the practice of yoga itself to help you sleep. Poses like legs up the wall, supine spinal twist, reclining goddess pose, child’s pose, and happy baby are just a few to consider trying—many of which you can do directly in bed. If meditation is a better alternative for you in the evening hours, try these three deep breathing techniques to calm your mind and body in preparation for sleep.