After an exhausting day it can be difficult to quiet the mind for bed. After all, there's so much left to do. The day probably ran short and your To Do list is still as long as ever.
Often we fall asleep thinking about what's we need to tackle the next day which, for many of us, causes anxiety and leads to restless sleep.
Feeling tired doesn't lead to much success throughout the day, nor is it conducive to a positive mood. In fact, a study by the American Academy of Sleep Science shows that optimizing sleep may be one way to maximize the effectiveness of treatments for depression such as psychotherapy. Dr. Rapoport, who is an associate professor at NYU Langone Medical Center, says getting a good night's sleep improves memory and the ability to learn. Research also shows that people sleep less than 6 hours a night have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins. Inflammation linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and premature aging.
Lack of sleep also makes us pretty irritable and cranky, so you can easily see how poor sleep affects daily life as well.
One technique that might help to quiet the mind before bed, is journaling.
Think of it as getting all your thoughts and worries out of your mind and onto a safe place - your journal - from where they cannot wonder off or escape. This helps you put these worries aside, for the night at least, to ensure you get the rest you need to conquer the morning and following day.
Another technique we encourage adding to your nightly routine is stretching or gentle yoga.
Gentle yoga or stretching before bed can help to reduce anxiety and stress by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. This is what sends the “rest and digest” signal to the body. Stretching tense muscles and focusing on deep breathing will easy your body and mind for a more restful night's sleep.
If yoga is too intense, simple stretches will work too. You know your body and what it's capable of. Do only what you're comfortable with.
Having an early dinner and shutting down or putting away electronic devices is also a great way to get a more restful night of sleep.
According to the National Institutes of Health, late-night meals can cause indigestion that interferes with sleep. The process of digestion puts the body on a 'high alert' state. Taking your dinner too close to bedtime prevents the body from powering down and this interferes with the circadian rhythm.
Electronic devises, as fun as they can be, are also a no no for a good night's rest.
Many studies show that the screens from our phones and tablets emit enough light to alert the brain and promote wakefulness. This brightness confuses the brain into an alert state which delays the release of melatonin and in turn disrupts our ability to fall asleep and sleep well.
Instead of replying to emails or checking social media before bed, designate another time in your day for this and instead read a book or magazine before hitting the pillow.
Do you have any good bedtime routines?
Sending love and light your way...
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