What’s Your Next Step to Improve Your Sleep?Dec 01, 2023
Alright, time to put the last few weeks into practice – if you haven’t already!
You might want to take another look at the Sleep Quiz to decide where you want to place your attention first. (Here’s the link.)
Here are the 5 steps once more:
1. Follow your Circadian Rhythm and Wind Down in the evening
- Align your habits with the rhythms of nature
- Turn off all screens, computers, smart phones, and TVs at 8pm! or at least an hour before bed
- Instead, choose evening activities that are calming, allowing you to sense when your body feels fatigued, and takes your mind away from exciting or disturbing thoughts.
- This could be anything from reading an enjoyable novel, practising gentle and restorative yoga, listening to a guided meditation, or taking a hot bath or shower.
2. Manage Your Stress
- Before bed, a short meditation, whether it’s during a restorative yoga pose like "legs up the wall," or perhaps a gratitude offering, can be very calming.
- But it turns out that meditation is also helpful as we’re trying to fall asleep both at the beginning of the night and also anytime we’re awake and know that we need a few more hours.
- One type of meditation that I find most effective, especially in the middle of the night, is focusing on my breath.
Using awareness of the breath to bring your focus within, let go of distractions, and indeed, to let go of anything that is not Present Moment awareness.
- And so this becomes a Breath Meditation.
- One of the simplest to begin with, is to simply inhale, hold your breath, and then exhale, allowing the exhale to be longer than the inhale.
3. Lights Out Early!
- Pay attention when your body is tired, and do your best to have “Lights Out” by 10pm.
- Why is that? Pitta is a time period where your digestive fire, your Agni, is the strongest.
- We think of digestion as what happens every time we eat. It turns out there is another kind of digestion—the digestion of experiences. Because our Agni is strong once again between 10pm and 2am.
- This is the time when our brain in sleep mode has the chance to detoxify itself of any waste products that have been generated by the metabolic processes happening in the brain while we are awake.
4. Wake Up and Move Your Body
- According to Ayurveda, the ideal waking time is around 6 am or approximately the time of the sunrise.
- Getting up early ensures that you will benefit from the qualities of lightness and activity that are present in the environment in the early morning, at the end of Vata time.
- And get some early morning sunshine! Getting outside, and allowing the eyes to be exposed to natural outdoor light, will influence our circadian rhythm and help regulate sleep patterns and hormone regulation.
- And now it’s time to enjoy some body movement to get your energy flowing.
- Regular exercise is essential for physical health and psychological well-being, and it also helps us sleep! An important part of a healthy daily routine is mindful movement, which is exercise where we are present and aware of the sensations and movements of our bodies.
5. Eat an Earlier, Lighter Dinner
- And the fifth step is all about food!
- By now you’ve heard me talk extensively about the health and healing power when we Just Eat Real Food, and do our best to avoid processed food and any “food products” that are usually full of additives such as sugar, chemicals and others.
- But what is just as important as what we eat is when, how and why we eat.
- Eat your largest meal at noon
- Eat Mindfully – slowly, chewing well, and without distractions
- Then Eat an Earlier, Lighter Dinner – when it comes to dinner time–around 6 pm, at the transition time between Vata and Kapha–it can be a lighter meal such as a stew, a curry, soup or perhaps salad in the warmer weather.
Where should you begin?
It doesn’t matter, as long as you start somewhere.
And remember the advice of James Clear, author of Atomic Habits: He advises us to start small! Start by picking a habit that doesn’t need a lot of motivation. He states that “Rather than trying to do something amazing from the beginning, start small and gradually improve. Along the way, your willpower and motivation will increase, which will make it easier to stick to your habit for good.”
And my favourite James Clear words of advice: never miss twice. Build the positive habit that you want through repetition, not the one you don’t want by skipping the behaviour more often than not.
For example: Let’s say you want to develop a regular Meditation habit - something many people have told me they have tried, and can’t get it to stick. What if it turns out you are trying “too hard”? You are trying to sit for 20 minutes the first time out, and find that your mind keeps wandering, giving you the impression that you have failed? That you will never be able to meditate. Sound familiar?
What if I told you that simply by focusing on taking one breath, you have begun meditating?
In other words, start small!
Make it simple! Make it doable!
Something that you know you can do on a daily basis. Don’t ask so much of yourself to start. Then gradually over time, you will expand to 5 breaths, 10 breaths, 10 minutes and more!
And look at you now, you are a regular meditator!
Your Home Practice this week!
- Take one step, one day, and one habit at a time
- Using what you’ve learned over the last few weeks, list the activities you already incorporate regularly into your daily routine.
- Then select 1 or 2 new ones that you can incorporate into your schedule each day. Start small and make them doable!
- Remember that a regular practice will increase the benefits
- Celebrate what you are able to do with compassion and without judgement!
So What's Next? Here’s a Sneak Peak of the new
15 days, Five habits, 1 goal
· Education, Coaching
· Accountability, Empowerment
· Five Habits that make a difference
· Coaching and accountability to keep you on track
· Change is possible!
Great Sleep is only 2 weeks away
· Together, we can do this!
For more info on this and other natural health topics:
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