After only sleeping 4 hours last night, I woke up this morning feeling grotty, stiff and tense. I usually sleep like a baby the second my head touches the pillow. Yesterday was exactly like that, until one of my daughters woke me up after having a nightmare. And it took a good deal of soothing to calm her down enough for her – and me – to go back to sleep.
So today, when my alarm rang, I woke up with a start, feeling tired, tense, a bit anxious and pretty down. (It was raining!)
I know that some of my clients find it hard to sleep well at night and always comment that the best night sleep they get all week is on the day they’ve had their yoga class.
The only time in my life when I didn’t sleep well was when my anxiety was at its worth.
I remember lying in bed, with my body so tense it barely dented the mattress! My head was swimming with negative thoughts and what if scenarios about work (did I send the wrong quantity of product? What will I do if I have? I’ll have to check that as soon as I get in the office tomorrow) or family (another child was sick in Lara’s class today, what if she catches it? I don’t want to have to clean up sick of her bed. What did she eat for dinner? What if that didn’t agree with her?)
You get the idea!
That’s when I had had enough of the anxiety, and I decided to ask for help by going to my GP.
And she sent me to a yoga class!
The rest is history as they say.
Since those dark and worried nights, I have had very few times when I couldn’t sleep. And, on the rare times it happens, I do my own relaxation and that always works!
So, if you find it hard to sleep because your mind is too busy, because you are worried or because you can’t switch off, read on.
5 things you can do to sleep like a baby
Turn off your mobile phones/tablets/tv at least 30 minutes before bed
Ideally, you’d want to be off your phone etc a good hour before going to bed, but who does that!
30 minutes is enough. And if that still feels too much, how about not making checking your phone the very last thing you do before closing your eyes. Read for a bit (even 5 minutes) instead. That already makes a huge difference.
Get outside during the day
Being outside, especially in the morning and especially if it is sunny, will help regulate your hormones so that the melatonin (responsible for making us feel sleepy) get released at the right time to ease you into sleep.
Avoid caffeine after 4.00pm
It might sound boring, but your late afternoon coffee or your strong cup of tea after dinner might be what is keeping you awake.
Look for decaffeinated options. I am a huge fan of redbush tea with plenty of milk in the evening.
Do some yoga
You knew that was going to be in there somewhere!
And for good reason.
Yoga helps you release the tension you have accumulated in your body and your mind over the previous day(s). It is that very tension that keeps you awake at night and stops your body from moving into rest and restore mode.
If you are tense, the adrenaline will keep you awake as you remain in fight-flight-freeze mode. Not exactly conducive to a restful night.
A yoga class will help release the stress from your body and soothe your mind.
Click on this link to access a mini “Sleep well” yoga sequence.
Practice the abdominal breathing
If you are lying in bed, wide awake, try and practice the abdominal breath.
Simply place your hands on your lower abdomen and feel it rise and fall as you breathe.
The abdominal breath is one of the most relaxing breathing techniques and will help you relax and let go, which is exactly what you need to enter the land of snores.
To release the stress that is keeping you awake at night so that you can sleep better and wake up refreshed and with more energy the following day, you can join my weekly online wellbeing yoga class.