When we go to bed at night and turn off the light, our body relaxes. It starts to detox and repair where needed. If you have a hard time falling a sleep and often spend hours tossing and turning, or wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall a sleep again, your body can’t recover fully. This will make it is hard to wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day the morning.
How to make sure your hours under the covers leave you feeling rested and happy, is what Goedele Leyssen specialises in!
Below she will share 10 easy tips to get the restful sleep you need. You can also join her 15 December in the Vondelchurch in Amsterdam for her ‘Sweet Dreams’ workshop. A day filled with yoga, deep relaxation, lifestyle and nutrition tips and a sound bath with an Earth Gong. You will leave rested, inspired, and with lots of tools and practices to get the sleep you need.
1. Create an evening routine
Wouldn’t it be great if you could simply turn yourself off at night, like switching off the light. Unfortunately it is often not that easy! Most people need some time to make the transition from day to night. An evening routine aimed at slowing down helps. Some options are to spend 10-20 minutes cleaning up and getting everything ready for the next day, spend 20 minutes taking care of yourself, and 20 minutes reading or writing. Breathing exercises and turning off all bright lights and screens are great ways to allow the brain to get ready for the night too.
2. Cool down
Holding your feet under cold, running water cools down the overactive nervous system. Dry and warm them again by rubbing them with a rough towel and treat yourself to a foot massage. You can use a neutral oil or an Ayurvedic oil blend, especially a Vata balancing blend will help you to go to sleep nice and easy. Massage the base of each toe with gentle, circular movements.
3. Breathing exercises
Practicing some breathing exercises before going to bed works just as well as a sleeping pill. Sit up nice and straight, you can sit on the couch or on a chair, as long as you can sit up nice and straight. Close your right nostril with your thumb, inhale through your left nostril. Close your left nostril with your index finger or ring-finger and exhale through your left nostril. Repeat this 26 times.
4. Put it on paper
Do you have too much on your mind? Write all your worries down before you go to sleep and literally get them out of your head and on to the paper and then put the paper away. Then take a moment to remember 5 things that happened during the day that you are grateful for. Positive thoughts stimulate the release of the ‘feel good’ hormones dopamine and serotonin.
5. Counting down helps
Sometimes it is hard to slow down the mind and stop the constant stream of thoughts. It helps when you give your mind something else to do, like counting down. Turn onto your right side and count down starting at twenty-eight on the inhale and twenty-eight on the exhale twenty-seven on the inhale and twenty-seven on the exhale, and so on. If you lose count, you just start over again. When you reach zero, you start at twenty-eight again.
A study from Stanford University showed that half of the people who move 30 to 40 minutes a day falls a sleep quicker at night and their sleep is overall of better quality compared to people who sit still all day. If your sleep could be better, make sure you get active 30 to 40 minutes a day.
7. Take care of your gut
Between 9 pm and 10 pm our body starts to release the sleep hormone melatonin. In order to do so, it needs the neurotransmitter and hormone serotonin. In order to easily create serotonin, your digestive system needs to be working optimally. Chronic lack of sleep can mean that something is not going very well in your bowels. Taking probiotics and making sure you get plenty of leafy greens and in general fruits and vegetables, combined with less processed foods can help.
8. Stack up on Tryptophan
The essential amino-acid tryptophan helps our body to create serotonin, which we need in order to create the sleep hormone melatonin. You naturally find tryptophan in foods like butter squash, seaweed, chickpeas, cucumber, walnuts, almonds, cauliflower and mushrooms.
9. Love your liver
All the organs in our body have a certain period during the 24-hour cycle of every day, where they are most active. For our liver this is between 1 am and 3 am. Do you often wake up around that time? This can be a sign that your liver is having to work too hard. Try not eating for at least 2 hours before you go to bed and avoid alcohol for a while. Make it a habit to start the morning with a glass of lukewarm water with some lemon juice.
If you don’t fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, try to not put yourself under pressure and focus on the frustration of not being able to fall asleep. Try to be ok with relaxing and resting in bed, even though you are not sleeping, and trust that the sleep will come.
For more information about the ‘Sweet Dreams’ Yoga & Sound Bath Workshop 15 December in Amsterdam with Goedele Leyssen, please follow this link.