HOW TO FALL ASLEEP AND STAY ASLEEP
Sleeping is one of the easiest things to do, so why can it be so difficult to fall asleep and then stay asleep?
Personally, I have fought with insomnia in different periods of my life. The problem was always clearly related to stress and having too many worries, but the underlying reasons and possible solutions differ from person to person.
So, for all of you who are dealing with insomnia and other sleep issues, we partnered up with 67 health professionals and asked them:
What are your 3 Favorite Tips and Tricks for a Good Night’s Sleep?
OR MORE SPECIFIC, TO FALL ASLEEP AND STAY ASLEEP?
The contributors to this roundup approached the problem from many different perspectives: nutrition, sleeping environment (the mattress, the pillow, the room temperature), sleep schedule, use of technology and others.
It’s possible that you tried some of these tips and maybe they didn’t work for you. That’s why we recommend to read the entire post and take notes so you can improve ALL the aspects that affect your sleep. By fixing all of them (or at least the majority), there’s a much bigger chance to finally enjoy a good sleep again.
ALESSA CARIDI – JOBUFIT
1. Walk it out We spend SO much of our work days sitting only to come home, cook dinner, eat dinner sitting down, and then catch up on our favorite TV series sitting down. Get where I am going with this? This seated statue feeling doesn’t help me go to sleep. In fact, it does the opposite, I’m not tired at all when it comes to my bedtime.
So, I plan some light movement before I head to bed. Not a traditional workout, but some light housekeeping. I tidy of the living room, maybe fold a basket of laundry (standing up), and I clean the kitchen / load the dishwasher. This movement, combined with the time of the evening, allow my body to feel tired and really look forward to climbing into bed.
2. Write it out Once my body is tired, I move off to the task of my mind. Being a #mompreneur I am constantly going in multiple directions, so the feeling of unease from incomplete tasks is my normal. This feeling doesn’t help my mind go quiet.
So I have taken to writing everything out- like on good old fashion paper. That way I can relax knowing nothing will be forgotten in the morning. Little bonus here: crossing them off as I complete them the next day also feels great!
3. Lavender I keep a little satchel of lavender tied to my side of the headboard. Taking a good whiff of lavender is actually the last thing I do before I close my eyes. (And I do it again in the morning before my feet hit the ground.)
Lavender is so helpful, it can relieve headaches, calm uneasy stomachs, and relax the body and mind. And relaxing is the name of the game when it comes to my bedtime routine.
CINDY PERLIN – ALTERNATIVE PAIN TREATMENT DIRECTORY
The following three tips will help with both pain and sleep.
1. Do a relaxation technique prior to going to bed or when you first get into bed. Stress causes your muscles to tense up and causes changes in blood flow that increase pain. A relaxation technique takes your mind off your worries and either puts it in neutral or focuses inward on the body rather than on external distractions.
One relaxation technique that I particularly like is the body scan:
Start by bringing your attention to the top of your head and noticing any tension there. Relax the muscles in your scalp by gently suggesting that the muscles relax.
Do the same working your way down your body, next relaxing the forehead, the area around your eyes, jaw, throat and back of your neck, shoulders, upper arms, forearms, hands, chest, abdomen, the muscles along your spine, buttocks, thighs, knees, calves and feet.
Spend as much time as you need to focusing on each area until it feels relaxed. You might find that you’re asleep before you even get to your feet.
2. If worries or pain are keeping you awake, focusing on them with an energy psychology technique can be very helpful. By focusing on something distressing while doing an energy hold, you can calm the energy related to the distress and feel better about what’s been bothering you.
A very simple technique is the Tapas Acupressure Technique (TAT):
First, assume the TAT pose as follows: Place the ring finger (4th finger) and thumb lightly at the top of the bridge of your nose, in a very light ‘pincer’ position.
Place the middle finger of the same hand between the eyebrows (the ‘third eye’ position).
Place the palm of your other hand behind your head, gently cradling the lower part of your skull.
Next, while still holding the TAT pose, focus on the pain or the problem until you start to feel calmer about it.
Then focus on the opposite positive.
An example would be if you are worried about money. First focus on the worry about money, then focus on a positive thought such as “I always have everything I need” while also imagining what that would be like.
Another example would be worrying about the pain keeping you awake. First focus on the pain until you feel calmer and the pain is less, then think of an affirmation such as “my body feels comfortable now” and imagine yourself sleeping peacefully.
3. Do some gentle range of movement exercises and stretches before you get into bed. One of the contributors to difficulty falling asleep and waking in the middle of the night is trigger point pain. A trigger point is a hyperirritable spot, a nodule in a taut band of skeletal muscle, that causes pain, often in an area distant from the spot.
Emotional stress, overexertion and inactivity all activate trigger points and the pain can be severe. If you’ve been immobile for too long, either before you go to bed, or during sleep, the inactivity can cause trigger point activation and pain.
Move your head and neck through a full range of slow motions, rotate your arms backwards and forwards, make bicycling movements with your legs while lying down, rotate your feet and ankles and move them back and forth, twist your upper body from one side to the other and so forth, making sure to do the movements slowly and gently.
These and similar movements will reduce the chance that trigger point pain will keep you from falling asleep or staying asleep.
CAROLINE TOPPERMAN – STYLE ON THE SIDE
1. Take a bath. If you are stressed out and your mind is racing a million miles a minute, then you can probably say goodbye to a good night’s sleep. In that case try taking a nice warm (not too hot as that can raise your body temperature and make it harder to sleep) soak in the evening.
Dim the lights in the bathroom, light a candle and add some Epsom salts which are great for sore muscles or a bath bomb and let yourself relax. Then, apply a dry oil and slide right under the covers. Just make sure that you don’t look at your phone.
2. Stretch. I sometimes find it hard to fall asleep when my muscles are tight. I’m sore and I wind up tossing and turning as I try to find a comfortable position. If this is you, then take 10-15 minutes and do some gentle stretches before turning in.
Try a supine twist (back release), legs up the wall (this is extremely relaxing) and happy baby (opens and stretches your hips) then end the whole session by lying on the floor and focusing on allowing your body to relax.
Supine Twist. Lying on your back, arms out to the side, bend your knees and let them fall over to the right. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Legs Up The Wall. Lying on your back stretch your legs up against the wall and lie in that position for 15-20 seconds.
Happy Baby. Lying on your back, hook your finger around your big toe and let your knees fall to either side of your hips. Try rocking from side to side for an added stretch.
3. Set The Mood. It can be hard to fall asleep when you go straight to bed from the day’s hustle. Try giving yourself a routine. Turn the tv off at a set time, put your phone on sleep mode and pick up a good book or meditate.
Make yourself a warm cup of herbal (non-caffeinated) tea and sip it slowly as you prepare yourself for bed. By letting your body slowly unwind you are training yourself to go and more importantly, stay asleep.
ELISE MARIE COLLINS
For many years I suffered from debilitating and discouraging insomnia. I feel your pain if you endure sleepless nights or frequently experience trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Follow my three tips to sleep like a baby. Embrace sleep hygiene like an athlete in training for sleep.
Athletes notice how poor sleep affects performance because they keep score. Think like an athlete and treat your sleep as though you were being paid for each day of sleep performance.
1. Good sleep starts at sunrise Get out early to get light on your eyes. The sun resets your biological clock so that you feel sleepy at night and alert in the morning. Daylight wakes you up your physiology by halting melatonin production.
Recent studies on circadian rhythm demonstrate that the more natural light you get during the day, the better you fall asleep and stay asleep.CLICK TO TWEET
2. Eat your way to better sleep You may think I am talking about what to eat, but the truth is that the when we eat makes all the difference. Try to eat your biggest meal of the day at lunch, somewhere between 11-2.
Many cultures already have a tradition of eating a big meal in the middle of the day when the sun is high in the sky and bile production peaks. Consume a lighter meal of soup, salad or vegetables for dinner.
You will sleep more soundly when you have supper 2-3 hours before bed, so plan accordingly. Believe it or not, the latest research on our biological clocks indicates that your sleep cycles sync with meals, so the more regular, the better.
3. Plan a topnotch nighttime routine A stressful, busy day that ends in collapsing in bed after barely brushing your teeth sends the wrong signals to your nervous system.
You wonder why you can’t fall asleep or wake up in the middle of the night. An inspiring bedtime routine allows you to slowly unwind mental and emotional tension so that you don’t take it with you to your dream state.
The hour before you hit the sack should be a sensual extravaganza. Invest in what makes you feel great. Dab sleep-inducing essential oils, like lavender, ylang-ylang, chamomile and cedarwood on your neck, wrists and or pillow.
Take a hot bubble bath. Give yourself a foot massage or ask your BF or GF for a back rub. Use an app like Calm to meditate or do a restorative yoga pose. Think of 3-5 of your absolute fav relaxing activities, the ones that you pine for, but never indulge in. This is not a chore.
Take an hour before bed to indulge for next seven nights and notice the results. Contact me if your sleep does not improve. Do it for a month and you will be addicted to the pampering and most importantly, the resulting blissful sleep.
LOREN FISHMAN – SCIATICA.ORG
These are equally effective for going to sleep and getting back to sleep:
1. Get the clock out of sight. The commonest form of insomnia is the worry: “It’s so late. If I don’t get to sleep right now I’ll be a wreck tomorrow,” which makes the worrier so anxious that she/he looks at the clock, worries even more, is less able to relax, and lo, it’s even later than it was before. This, naturally, brings about another time check. Intervene on this vicious cycle by taking the clock out of the recurrent equation.
2. All creatures and plants sleep. Recognize that sleep is not just cessation of movement, but an essential, sensitive and deeply coordinated response to the day’s events. Then accord these critical central nervous system activities the respect and preparation they deserve: much more than the calm-time preceding a dive off the high board.
I can recommend a terrific book “Why we sleep” by the sleep researcher Matthew Walker (available here on Amazon). It is both a fascinating read and a real wake-up call about sleep, if that’s not too paradoxical.
3. A five-minute combination of yoga you can do in bed: the breathing exercise Viloma I and II makes a lethal combination that puts 90% of practitioners to sleep within 2-3 weeks of using it, often on the first night. Here’s how to use it:
Viloma I (cooling breath) Inhale deeply, hold the breath at its’ peak. Slowly release the breath 1/3… pause… slowly release the breath another 1/3… pause… slowly release the last 1/3 and empty the breathe all the way out… slowly inhale… repeat this sequence.
Viloma II (heating breath) Inhale deeply, release the breath all the way out and hold for a moment at the bottom of the breath. Slowly inhale 1/3… pause… slowly inhale another 1/3… pause… slowly in the last 1/3… pause at the peak, and then release the breath all the way out… repeat the sequence.
After practicing each breath take a moment and notice what sensations you’re experiencing… just note them, and notice how the experience changes each time you practice these breathing techniques. Most importantly, remember to keep the body calm, the brain quite and the breath flowing. Your breath is always with you, so call upon it to nourish, calm, heal, and energize the body whenever you need it.
(exercise details added by All The Stuff site editor, taken from YouYoga )
KYLENE TERHUNE – THE TINY FIT DIVA
1. Sync up with the earth’s circadian rhythm by getting natural sunlight exposure during the day and blocking the blue light from technology at night. Simply wearing some blue light blocking glasses 2 hours prior to bed allows your body to increase melatonin production, making you sleepy and ready for bed.
Lack of natural sunlight and overexposure to blue light in the evenings has thrown off our body’s natural cycle. This simple trick will help you get back on track fast!
If you want to try this, you can find several blue light blocking glasses right here on Amazon.
2. Make your room cool. Our bodies are meant to follow the earth’s temperature patterns and so they expect cooler air in the evening. When you cool your house between 63-68 degrees F, it signals to your body that it’s nighttime. You don’t have to be cold, but cooler air around you will help you get better and more restful sleep.
3. Invest in a weighted blanket. Find yourself tossing and turning? A weighted blanket is like a comfortable warm cocoon. This extra weight helps you to stay calm, relax and move less throughout the night. This helps your body get deeper sleep so you can wake up refreshed and ready to go!
Incorporate all 3 techniques to reset your system and get high-quality sleep for life!
DR. KATE KLEIN
1. Have good sleep hygiene Stick to a routine of going to sleep and waking at the same time every day(yes, even on the weekends), make sure your room is clean, dark, and quiet (use earplugs if necessary), and avoid stimulants (I.e. coffee and nicotine) 4-6 hours before bed.
2. Give a hypnotic a try. There are numerous hypnotic herbs available at your local health food store such as valerian or passionflower. Hypnotic herbs work by causing sedation and relaxation of the nervous system allowing you to sleep more deeply. Always consult a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new herbal product or supplement.
3. Address the underlying cause of your sleep issue. If you struggle with falling asleep, staying asleep, or both you may have an underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed. Stress, anxiety, depression, thyroid, and hormonal imbalances can all affect sleep.
DR. EUGENE CHARLES – CHARLES SEMINARS
Here are my three physiological tips to help my patients fall asleep and stay asleep
1. Get 10 minutes of sunshine to directly bathe your face for ten minutes every morning. Your pineal gland takes natural light and helps to create melatonin, the sleep hormone. Letting sunlight on your face calibrates your internal clock—also known as your circadian rhythm— giving your metabolism a boost during the day and leading to a more restive state at night
2. Exercise I have said for years that. “Movement is Medicine.” Moving throughout the day pumps your lymphatics which are the sewer system of your body. This system becomes stagnant when you are sleeping and can cause you to wake up or be restless as your body subconsciously tries to keep the sludge moving.
You counteract and prevent this restlessness by moving generously throughout the day.
3. Keep a notebook by your bed This trick from Chinese Medicine is incredibly helpful for clearing your mind and helping you to both fall and stay asleep. You will often find that the answer to your challenge will be waiting for you when you arise in the morning—refreshed and clear-headed.
VERONICA PARKER – MEDITATION COACH
These are my 3 favorite tips and tricks to fall asleep and stay asleep:
1. Taking a Hot Bubble Bath One of my favorite things to do before bed is to take a bath. In particular, I love taking a hot bubble bath with Epsom Salts. As we move through the craziness of our day, we have a tendency to pile up stuff into our body and mind. It’s as though we walk around like a piece of lint that just came off the dryer picking up on everybody else’s stuff.
So, when we are finally getting ready to go to bed, it’s nice to be able to wash it all off. Here come Epsom Salts! These salts not only help you release any tightness, soreness or inflammation from your body but also the vibes you’ve picked up from others.
In addition, they help you let go of any radiation you’ve absorbed from your environment. What’s the end result, you might ask? You get to feel super relaxed and light. But don’t just take my word for it! Try it out! Just fill up your tub with hot water. Add a cup of Epsom Salts and let them dissolve.
Don’t have Epsom Salts yet? You can find them here.
You can also include your favorite bubble mix and/or a few drops of essential oils. My favs are lavender, sandalwood and rose. Are you willing to give it a try?
2. Connecting with Gratitude I love connecting with gratitude right before going to bed. Of course, you can also do it while taking a hot bubble bath or while drinking your favorite cup of herbal tea to help you relax. Gratitude is the vibration that allows us to open up the heart and let go of the chatter of the mind.
When you connect with gratitude, you become more aware of other things in your life that are going right…Instead of focusing on what is wrong or not working. It’s super easy to do.
Try this now: Ask yourself, What am I grateful for right now? Take 10 seconds to come up with an answer and either keep it in your head, write it down or say it out loud. Then ask the same question again two more times.
WARNING: Gratitude is addicting! The more you play with gratitude, the more grateful you become for all the tiny things that are working in your life. Are you game?
3. Breathing and letting go of the past One of the easiest and most powerful tools to use to help us relax is breathing. Your breath can literally inspire you to change your state of mind and experience more ease in life.
This special way of breathing is super easy to do and can be done while you are laying down instead of trying to count sheep to help you sleep.
Gently close your eyes. Close your right nostril with your right thumb. Now inhale and exhale through the left nostril. Continue for a couple of minutes.
This technique is called left nostril breathing. It’s simple and can empower you to let go of your thoughts, stress or heavy emotions keeping you up at night. How does it get better than that?
KAREN SHOPOFF ROOFF – RUNNING ON BALANCE
1. Do you enjoy a glass of wine (or two) before bed because it helps you relax at the end of a hard day?
The problem is that alcohol can cause a steep blood sugar crash a few hours after consumption, which results in a burst of cortisol as your body works to stabilize your blood sugar. Cortisol is a stress hormone, so it creates that feeling of being wide awake in the middle of the night.
To prevent this night waking, eating a small protein snack with your wine will keep your blood sugar more stable.
2. A simple bedtime routine creates a transition from the busyness of daytime to the restful night. Moving through a routine helps you slow down both in body and mind. A simple routine can begin with turning down the lights, cueing your body’s innate understanding that darkness is for rest and sleep.
Whether you choose to include yoga or stretching or reading before bed is up to you. Just keep it consistent, and your body and mind will respond. You will be rewarded with being able to fall asleep more easily.
3. Setting a regular sleep and wake schedule sets your body up for sleep success. By going to bed at the same time every night and waking at the same time—within a half-hour– creates predictability for the body. This honors the natural circadian rhythm that is hard-wired in all humans.
While it can be tempting to stay out late or sleep in on the weekends, this disruption of the sleep/wake schedule affects you for more than just one night. When we go to sleep and wake in alignment with a regular rhythm, we attune to the body’s natural settings.
HANNAH FAULKNER – HALF MOON YOGA AND ART
With constant stimulation from a colorful, upbeat, fast-paced society, electronic devices, social media, addictive television shows, sugary caffeinated beverages, and overwhelming pressures from work, we often have a hard time shutting off this sympathetic nervous system and getting a solid night of sleep.
1. The most accessible tool that we have to calm our system is through deep breathing. Specifically, by gradually increasing the length of our exhales, we cool our system and induce deep relaxation of the parasympathetic nervous system. Through pursed lips, we gradually increase our exhale until it is twice the length of our inhalation. With each inhale add an extra count to the exhale.
For example, if you inhale for three counts, exhale for four. Finally inhale for three exhale for six. Take at least five full breaths in this progression, then breath naturally for a few. Repeat this set until you feel calm or fall asleep.
2. My favorite yoga pose for relaxation is Legs-Up-The-Wall, also known as Viparita Karani in Sanskrit. It is an inversion that increases circulation flow (lowering blood pressure), grounds the head, and quiets the brain to relieve headaches, stress, and insomnia.
Simply lift your legs up the wall (preferably one that is connected to your bed), leaving zero to twelve inches of space between your glutes and the wall.
It works faster if you place a pillow under your lower back. Stay here for five to twenty minutes. I usually fall asleep within ten minutes and simply roll back into a comfortable sleeping position on my bed.
Need more guidance? Here’s a good video:
3. Finally, it is important to be mindful of what we put into our bodies throughout the day and especially at bedtime. Eat dinner at least three hours before going to bed. I notice that when I try to go to bed within an hour of eating, my full belly stirs up nightmares as I toss and turn.
Also, sugar, coffee, or even chocolate late in the day can prevent sleep. Finally, soothing herbal teas like chamomile, lavender, and mint help relax the body and nervous system.
ROBERT HERBST – W8LIFTERUSA.COM
1. The inability to fall asleep is often in one’s head and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.People tell themselves they have trouble falling asleep and then they start dreading going to bed and when they get there, expect not to fall asleep.
It’s like when say they can’t sleep on airplanes and then immediately turn on a movie when they get to their seat. Through years of necessity, I have told myself that I can sleep anywhere-planes, trains, and automobiles-and I take advantage of the quiet time.
I have gotten off a long flight from New York to Australia fresh and ready to go. So when one gets into bed, they should just know that they are going to fall asleep and relax.
2. To help the relaxation I mentioned above, one should clear their head and stop being anxious or worried about things. They should stop thinking of the problems of the day.
To help in this, they can borrow from Zen meditation practice and take five slow breaths in and out, breathing with their belly and concentrating just on the breathing.
They should then close their eyes and let themselves go to sleep. They should do the same thing every night. Not only will the breathing relax them, but they will get used to the habit and it will reinforce their expectation that they will fall asleep.
3. People should also ignore the so-called experts and do what makes them comfortable and works for them. For example, the common thinking is that one should not eat or exercise less than three hours before bedtime.
Due to my schedule, however, I do everything wrong. I train at night, finishing after 9:00, walk the dog, take a shower, eat dinner during the 10:00 news, and go to sleep after the “Tonight Show” monologue (an exciting life).
I have been doing this for some 30 years, and instead of getting hung up about it, do what I need to do to fit my lifestyle. I have no problems falling asleep and am usually out literally right after my head hits the pillow. Perhaps being exhausted after a busy day helps.
Your body will adapt and learn to sleep.
RHODA CLIMENHAGA – YO1
1. Work at Sunrise, Rest at Sunset As the sun rises, the Qi and blood in our bodies move from the inner organs to the exterior channels to facilitate activity. As the sun goes down, specifically between 11 p.m. – 3 a.m., the Qi and blood return to the organs. If you are not resting during this time, these organs will not be able to do their job and you will, at the very least, feel sluggish the next day.
2. Keep the Blood Nourished The liver and kidney need plenty of blood to work effectively. If there is not enough, it’s like an engine running without enough oil; it’s more likely to heat up, get clogged, and be noisy. It’s easy to imagine how this could interrupt sleep. Thus, keeping the blood nourished will aid in peaceful sleep. Eat plenty of healthy, blood nourishing foods such as greens, beans, and meat in appropriate quantities.
3. Slow down! One of the most important problems people with sleep issues have in common is being too active It’s difficult in the current culture, which rewards activity. This corresponds to Yang, and not rest, which corresponds to Yin.
Too much Yang activity burns up the Yin so it is very important to manage your time and not do too much in one day. Continuing Yang activity up to bedtime makes it very difficult to just suddenly turn things over to the Yin side. Even if you fall asleep easily, this may be simply due to exhaustion.
LINDSEY PEARSON – DO YOU MIND(FULLY)
1. Essential oil/diffuser I apply 2-3 drops of essential oils like lavender, cedarwood, Roman chamomile or sandalwood to my feet before Sleep. Or, for those who don’t dig lavender, Petitgrain essential oil – which comes from the Orange tree – has many of the same calming compounds as lavender, so it creates the relaxing effects without the smell of flowers.
I also put a few drops of something calming (like the above oils )along with eucalyptus or a mint based oil in my diffuser next to my bed to keep my nasal passages open while I sleep (especially during cold/flu season).
2. Meditation Though I typically invite my clients to stay awake during meditation, there are many meditations meant for sleep. I love using Insight Timer App to customize the length of time and type of meditation I am looking for.
Yoga Nidra is the art of conscious relaxation, bringing awareness to the body and gently inviting it to release and relax. Many guided yoga Nidras are available on Insight.
3. Yoga After a long day, I like adding a bit of gentle mindful movements like legs up the wall, happy baby, or twists to support digestion, detoxification and to ready my body for bed. Many of these postures can be done on the couch or in bed. If doing twists, just make sure you’re being gentle with your lower back and keeping your abs engaged.
PAMELA CRANE – CRANE YOGA THERAPY
Here are some tips that you can use to get the best night’s sleep using yogic techniques:
1. Put your legs up! Placing your legs on a chair for 5-20 minutes at night can release a lot of tension and tightness in your hips. Many people hold the stresses of the day in their hips, so this is a good exercise to do for release.
2. Add in some breathing! With your legs on the chair, take ten deep breaths, letting your belly rise and fall with the movement of your diaphragm. As you breathe in, think of something that is going right or good in your life. As you exhale out, release old thoughts or ideas that really aren’t working for you anymore.
3. Do a body scan! Take your attention to every part of your body from the crown of your head to your toes and consciously release any tension you may be feeling in that body part. Crown, forehead, temples, eyes, jaw, cheeks, chin and throat.
Chest, shoulders, upper arms, lower arms, wrists, fingers. Abdomen, pelvis, hips, thighs, knees, calves, ankles and toes. Enjoy this relaxed state; and when you are ready, gently make your way to bed.
DOMINIQUE HODGIN – DR. SEARS WELLNESS INSTITUTE
1. Read for at least 5-10 minutes before bed Reading has been proven to lower cortisol levels. It helps to calm your mind and body at bedtime. There is something about relaxing and enjoying written words, especially ones of encouragement or humor, which sets the stage for sleep.
Just make sure what you are reading is lulling and not over-stimulating, like a murder mystery or work emails. It is also preferable to keep your reading off a back-lit screen — or at least use a blue light blocking app or glasses.
2. Don’t exercise 2-3 hours before bed Exercise increases overall body temperature, which can take about 6 hours to decrease. A lower core temperature is necessary for better sleep. Exercise also raises the levels of cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone”, making your neural environment less conducive for sleep. It can also result in increased hunger during your slumber by emptying your energy reserves.
3. Get your Omega 3s Getting adequate amounts of the fatty acid Omega-3 DHA leads to increased numbers of serotonin receptors in your brain. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that helps slows down nerve traffic, making it much easier to sleep.
Omega 3’s are also inflammation-balancing, meaning that they help balance out your immune system and can even help reduce inflammation of those suffering from autoimmune diseases like arthritis.
And, if you get your Omega-3s from something like salmon, you get the added benefit of the amino acid tryptophan– which is what your body can use to make serotonin.
MICHAEL MAGNUSON – GOOD BED
Few things are more frustrating and potentially devastating to your health and wellbeing than poor sleep. Here are my top 3 tips on getting to sleep and staying there once you’ve nodded off.
1. Alleviate pain and discomfort by finding a mattress that matches your personal needs Having the wrong mattress can lead to back pain, soreness, overheating, motion disturbance, and many other problems that will prevent you from getting restful sleep at night. Chances are if you are waking up with any of these symptoms, your mattress is partly (or even entirely) to blame.
In my experience testing hundreds of mattresses for GoodBed.com, mattresses are highly personal – so the key is to find the one that best fits your body, sleep habits, priorities, and budget.
2. Don’t neglect the right pillow Most people spend a lot of time choosing a mattress, then think nothing of the pillow they’re using. Along with your mattress, your pillow also contributes to spinal alignment. You want a pillow that essentially “fills the space” between your mattress and your head, while keeping your spine in a straight line.
That means that back, side, and stomach sleepers have different pillow needs. In general, side sleepers need a taller mattress since they have the most space to fill. Stomach sleepers need a relatively flat pillow, and back sleepers need something in between.
Sleep in all positions? Look for a mattress you can scrunch up into different shapes. Keep in mind that the pillow you choose also needs to take into account the cushioning depth of your bed. Those who prefer deeply cushioned mattresses will need a shorter pillow, while those that like a firm mattress will need a taller pillow.
3. Keep it cool Studies show that we sleep better when we’re cool. Sleep specialists recommend keeping your nighttime thermostat between 62 and 68 degrees F.
And if you tend to be a “hot sleeper” no matter what the ambient temperature, look for a mattress that has cooling features, such as gel-infused foam, phase-change coatings on top of the mattress, or construction that features pocketed steel coils for better airflow and dissipation of heat.
If you sleep hot, you might want to avoid mattresses with a lot of highly conforming memory foam and instead choose mattresses that allow for more airflow such as innerspring models.
ELLEN PALMER WELLNESS
We are a mind, body, and spirit requiring the necessary balance for optimal health and happiness. Our lifestyle choices either support or destroy that balance which effects our systems (hormones, nervous system, digestive system) which affect the quality of our sleep. Tips for better sleep:
1. Drink half your body weight in ounces every day to give your cells and systems what they need to thrive for optimal hormone balance. Dehydration triggers Cortisol, the stress hormone.
2. Find time to do what you love every day. The sense of satisfaction and joy shift your body into the parasympathetic nervous system where you have a sense that all is well, making it easier to fall to sleep.
3. Cut back on all technology (small and big screens) an hour at least before bed ~ their short wavelength blue light reduces the bodies production of melatonin (hormone) and confuses the bodies natural circadian rhythm which makes it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
4. Exercise early in the day so that your body works to recover and repair while you are active and busy throughout the day. Your mind and your body will be ready for sleep.
5. Success journal at the end of the day to relax your mind that you’ve done a great job (no to-do lists!!!!)
JILL KIRBY – THE VOICE OF CHRONIC PAIN
1. Unplug. About an hour before your bedtime, unplug yourself from all electronics. This means smartphones, tablets, computers, and even televisions. Electronics emit a blue wavelength that acts as a physiologic and emotional stimulant. Thus, making it harder to settle you and your brain down. This also suppresses your body’s release of sleep-inducing melatonin.
Melatonin is what helps control your sleep-wake cycle. Not getting enough deep sleep (REM sleep) each night can lead to being less alert during the day, and over time, this can lead to a significant sleep deficit.
2. White Noise. What is white noise? While you sleep, your brain continues to hear noises that may be going on around you. Sometimes this is good – like when your baby is crying. But sometimes, it can keep people awake – like when someone slams a car door outside your window.
White noise helps you sleep because it reduces the background noise (like the slamming car door). You can buy a machine that produces white noises such as the ocean waves, the wind blowing, or other natural sounds. This one on Amazon gets good reviews.
Or simply running a fan in your bedroom can act as white noise and promote a restful night’s sleep.
3. Warm up your feet. There’s an old adage that wearing socks to bed will help you sleep. Turns out there’s science to support this! People who wore socks to bed fell asleep 7 minutes sooner and slept for 32 minutes longer than people who weren’t wearing socks.
Wearing socks and warming up your feet causes your blood vessels to dilate which tells your brain that it’s time sleep. If you don’t like wearing socks to bed, try placing a light blanket at the foot of your bed to help your feet warm up and promote better sleep.
MARIA EMMERICH – MARIA MIND BODY HEALTH
1. Wear blue light blocking glasses in the evening. Blue light stimulates a receptor in the eye that communicates to our brains SCN and tells it to NOT release melatonin, our brains natural drowsiness hormone.
Blocking that blue light from interior lights, TV and device screens, etc 3-4 hours before bed can help release the natural melatonin to help you fall asleep.
2. If you are a woman and you can fall asleep ok, but then wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep, that is a big sign of low progesterone. Adding progest cream and evening primrose oil can help get their levels in balance.
3. If you are being awakened during the night, changing your bedroom atmosphere can be a big help in a deeper sleep.
Turning temperature down in bedroom at night, installing blackout blinds to block out light and adding a natural sound machine can all help with getting deeper sleep.
We even have a chili pad which cools our bed during the night! Being too hot or too cold is a top cause of not getting the best sleep.
MATTHEW ROSS – THE SLUMBER YARD
1. Switch Mattresses It’s very important that your mattress matches your sleep habits. For example, if you sleep primarily on your side, it’s better to have a softer mattress than a firm one. Often times, consumers make their mattress decision based on price rather than their primary sleeping position.
If you don’t get the right mattress, it is difficult to get a restful night of sleep. Chances are you’ll wake up with aches and pains throughout the night if you choose the wrong bed.
2. Pay Attention To Your Sleep Environment The environment in which you sleep is more important than most people realize. In today’s society, everybody is so busy that it can be difficult to keep your bedroom in order.
However, a dirty or unorganized bedroom, believe it or not, can have detrimental effects on how quickly you fall asleep. Instead, it’s better to make your bedroom a sleep oasis of sorts.
You can do this by consistently keeping your bedroom clean and tidy and charging your cell phones and tablets in a separate room. Electronics and dirty rooms can make you feel quite anxious as you try to fall asleep.
3. Invest In Your Sleep Lastly, you’ll want to keep your room at a comfortable temperature and make sure there is very little light. That means you might need to invest in blackout window shades and possibly a smart thermostat.
You’ll also want to keep your bedroom as quiet as possible. That means you might want to invest in a white noise machine if you live in a noisy neighborhood or you have a dog like tends to bark a lot. White noise machines will help drown out the outside noise.
MARTIN REED – INSOMNIA COACH
1. Always get out of bed at the same time every day. Getting out of bed by the same time every day strengthens the sleep/wake cycle and ensures that adequate sleep pressure builds during the day. Over time, this will make it easier to fall asleep at night and improve sleep quality.
2. Restrict caffeine intake. Generally speaking, it’s best to avoid caffeine entirely in the six-hour period before bed. It’s also worth bearing in mind that caffeine appears in more than just coffee! You can often find caffeine in treats such as chocolate and caffeine is also found in many sodas.
3. Watch what you eat. Certain types of food might make sleep more difficult (usually due to their potential to cause indigestion and heartburn). It’s probably best to avoid high protein foods and foods that are high in fat, foods that contain beans, and spicy foods two hours or so before bed. Eating too close to bedtime can also be a signal for wakefulness — another reason why avoiding heavy meals in the two hour period before bed is probably a good idea.
4. Reduce alcohol consumption in the evenings. Limiting alcohol consumption to one or two glasses of wine or beer with dinner, three to four hours before bedtime will help minimize any sleep disruption.
BILL FISH – TUCK
1. Take the time and effort to turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary. Many of us are using our bedrooms as a storage room or even a to-do list for the following day.
Clutter causes the mind to race, so the first step would be to clean up everything off the floor and dressers before getting into bed. Even if that means putting a big pile of clothes into a closet and closing the doors, it will help your mind to relax.
2. Charge all of your devices in another room. We don’t need to be tempted to check our Twitter feed at 2 am if we have to use the restroom.
3. Keep your room cool and as dark and quiet as possible. Our bodies and mind have been trained for thousands of years to rest at dark, so make a concerted effort to keep the room as dark as possible. Using blackout shades is a great solution. Investing in a white noise machine is an excellent solution for blocking out ambient sounds.
A white noise machine will help muffle different type of sounds, like dogs barking, and allow you to stay asleep and give your mind and body sufficient rest to attack the next day.
RICK SWARTZBURG – MEMORY FOAM MATTRESS
Research has shown that entering into a warmer environment when you first get into bed will help you get to sleep quicker, but as your body enters the different sleep stages, its temperature will rise and the heat generated, needs to have a breathable outlet or it will the body heat will continue to rise and the very important deeper stages of sleep may be stymied. Out of 12,000 people surveyed 48% of them said they can get too hot when they sleep.
Unfortunately, the trendy gel treatments that are applied to the surface materials making them very cool when first getting into bed, but then that same conductive gel property acclimates to the body’s temperature and the gel properties reverse, becoming warmer as the night goes on. To ensure that happens, here are my suggestions:
1. Make sure you get a breathable mattress We have a system using connected surface holes and channeling underneath the surface which allow the Snuggle-Pedic mattresses to have over 100 times more breathability than mattresses that only have ventilated tops or channeled lower layers but do not connect the two together. This means that you do not have to get into a cold mattress, but you also do not have to let your body heat escape out of control while you are sleeping.
2. Use breathable sheets Today, more and more bed sheets are advertising that they are made from fabric that breathes, such as Egyptian cotton, but they are ultimately microfiber blends that do not breathe well, ensuring that the body heat will not escape as the night goes on. I recommend using breathable cotton sheets or jersey knitted sheets that have a much more breathable matrix much like a cotton t-shirt, even though some may not like the stretch component.
3. Use a heating pad only to warm the initial surface when you enter your bed, but turn it off once you get inside.
My best tips for good night sleep are :
1. Have a hot shower an hour before bed. When we raise our body temperature artificially and then let it cool down afterward our body begins to prepare us for sleeping and begins to produce melatonin which is a sleep neurotransmitter. It assists with initiating sleep and after a hot shower, our muscles are relaxed so we get a great night sleep.
2. Staying away from all artificial lights which produce blue light such as ceiling lights, television, laptops phones, etc. When the blue light penetrates our brain through our eyes it stops the production of melatonin, therefore, we can’t fall asleep and it may take an hour or longer for us to follow sleep initially.
Instead, turn all the lights off and have just a warm night light on turn all your devices screen brightness down to a minimum and reduce exposure to them. In the same manner, reduce the volume of sound in the house before bed because the bright lights and loud noises can delay.
Our sleep onset and rev up our nervous system and eventually put us into fight or flight response which is totally opposite to relaxation which we require for a good night sleep.
3. Take magnesium. Supplement during the day. Magnesium is a muscle relaxant and also helps us to produce melatonin to get to sleep. Many people who are magnesium deficient also have poor sleep so magnesium can assist with good sleep and relaxation. Magnesium is responsible for many functions in the body and one of them of course sleep and It also improves mood and our immune system.
1. Use blue light blocking glasses. Our phone and tablet screens emit blue light which can wreak havoc on our circadian rhythms. Blue light blocking glasses are a great way to reduce our exposure to blue light, yet still watch TV and look at our screens. There are many companies that make them, but I recommend True Dark Glasses. I use them every day.
2. Try meditation. Numerous studies have proven the effects of meditation on sleep. Not only can meditation help ground you throughout the day, but it can also help give you more restful sleep. Just a few minutes of meditation per day can yield tremendous benefits. There are numerous apps and gadgets that now employ biofeedback as a way to monitor your meditation and make it easier to shut out the day’s noise and messiness.
3. Use light blocking shades. Having a very dark room is more conducive to getting a great night’s sleep than a lighter room. By investing in inexpensive light-blocking shades you can help your brain and circadian rhythms to give you a great night’s sleep. Try it and you will never go back to a bright room at night!
DR. CHRISTOPHER STEPIEN – BAREFOOT REHABILITATION CLINIC
1. Sleep rituals Life, especially for third world citizens, goes VERY FAST. Even if we don’t feel stressed, our bodies are stressed. A sleep ritual can transition us from fight-or-flight to rest-and-digest to sleep.
Turning off the TV, computer, and I-phone 1-2 hours before bed, dimming the lights, putting on comfy clothes, and maybe lighting a candle can help the body get prepared to recover from the day.
2. Pitch black The bedroom needs to be pitch black to fully release melatonin, the antioxidant most known for healing during sleep. Even the slightest light will impair a fully recovering sleep.
3. Two hours of sleep before midnight is equal to one hour of sleep after While we think that we can overcome any health issue with technology, our bodies are still being run by circadian rhythms run by the giant dirt rock we are standing on. The closer you can go to bed to sunset, the better your energy will be during the day.
ANYA STASSIY – KHROM DERMATOLOGY
As a busy mom of 3 kids, I learned that schedule works best not just for the kids, but for the adults as well. If you don’t like the word schedule let’s call it a routine then.
1. The most important thing for me to be able to fall asleep is to have an hour to 30 minutes of just quite, relaxing time before bed. The kids need to be in bed, the kitchen is cleaned and all the important emails are answered.
I may just watch a show that doesn’t require intense thinking, chat with my husband, or read a book. It helps my mind settle and I don’t have battling thoughts that keep me up once I am in bed.
2. To stay asleep, I need complete darkness. Blackout curtains work great and I do not like any nightlights or even the light from electronic alarm clock would wake me up.
You don't want to send the signal to the brain that it is time to get up by having any sort of elumination if you are not a great sleeper.CLICK TO TWEET
3. Quiet space is a must. It is hard to eliminate the noise especially if you live in a city or the apartment building. We live by a road that leads to a nearby hospital so we frequently have ambulances that go back and forth with sirens.
To solve the issue of the outside noise we purchased a white noise machine. It sounds like a low humming vacuum and cancels the noise that would keep me up or startle me out of my sleep.
DR. KELENNE TUITT
1. When attempting to get sleep the first thing you want to think about is your environment. Your bedroom is designed for two things: sleep and sex.
For sleep ensure that your bed is comfortable, has light cool sheets to allow your body to breathe and comfortable pillows. The temperature of your room should be cool as your body temperature decreases when you sleep.
Lastly, remove all distracting elements such as the television, clocks with bright lights, and put your phone on silence to decrease unnecessary awakenings at night. Paying attention to your environment can help you have a restful night.
2. Exercising in the morning gives you energy for your daily activities. However, when you exercise at night it increases endorphins which can trigger insomnia.
Do you know what else can trigger insomnia? Eating or drinking late at night. If you like to drink caffeinated beverages, it’s recommended that you stop drinking any coffee or soda at least 2-3 hours before bed.
Caffeine is a natural diuretic which will trigger you to use the bathroom at night and it’s also a stimulant that gives you extra energy. Laying down right after eating late may trigger acid reflux which can be uncomfortable resulting in sleepless nights.
Our body has a way of manifesting physical symptoms for how we feel emotionally. If you suffer from anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, restless leg syndrome and a variety of other conditions, this may be the underlying cause of your insomnia. If you notice that you “just can’t turn off your mind” at night, it’s time to find a way to relax.
3. Utilizing relaxation techniques such as meditation, Tai Chi, Yoga, or Acupuncture can help you shift your mindset from overdrive to mellow. Sometimes incorporating a bedtime routine with calming herbs such as valerian root, chamomile, passion flow, ginseng or hop can provide benefit.
DR. ROB RAPONI – MSK NATUROPATHIC
1. The Bedroom is for Sleep and Sex only! This first tip is very important! Reserving the bedroom for these 2 activities is crucial for good sleep. Following this simple rule gets your brain ready to do what it has to at night without interruption.
If you use your bedroom to watch TV, catch up on work, argue with your partner or even read, it will be trained to expect stress or activity, not restful sleep, when you enter your bedroom. Train your brain to expect sleep and you will find you begin to sleep a lot better!
2. Sleep hygiene Keep the bedroom tidy and make sure there are no electronics in the bedroom.
TVs, iPads, phones or even alarm clocks that are brighter than they need to be should not be near you when you sleep. The light emitted from these devices start to interrupt your regular sleep patterns, which means even if you sleep, your brain will not get into deeper and more restorative sleep states which we so crucially need!
3. Melatonin While prescription sleeping pills can cause a host of problems, melatonin can be a very useful, effective and safe tool when used properly.
Melatonin is the hormone that we naturally secrete before bed to help us fall asleep. When taken as a supplement we can effectively reset our sleep pattern and have much more restorative sleep.
For melatonin to work properly it must be taken at the same time each night and the dose must be adjusted according to the individual.
Different people may need vastly different doses to have the same effect so this is something I recommend fine-tuning under professional supervision.
DR. JENNIFER BURNS – BURNS INTEGRATIVE WELLNESS CENTER
1. There is a product called Best Rest from Pure Encapsulation that I recommend to my patients to help with sleep.
2. Alpha stim machines such as this one are now hitting the market. That can help people with sleep.
3. I recommend downtime for at least 30 minutes where you aren’t thinking about work, schedules, and etc. You are doing something fun for you like coloring, going for a walk, listening to your favorite music, and etc.
Sometimes I recommend SPECT Brain scans to find out what is over firing in someone’s brain to see if that is the reason they can’t sleep
DR. JOSHUA HANSON – HANSON COMPLETE WELLNESS
According to the CDC 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. Sleep is important for healing and repair, blood sugar regulation, memory formation and a whole host of other physiological processes. So you seriously need to fight to get the best quality sleep you possible can if you want to optimize your health.
Here’s three simple sleep hacks to help you improve your sleep.
1. No caffeine after 12 pm. 60% of us don’t metabolize caffeine that well, so it hangs around too long and can keep us awake or affect the quality of our sleep. The half-life of caffeine is about 6 hours. So if you drink 2 cups of coffee that means you had about 200 mg of caffeine.
After 6 hours, 100 mg of caffeine will still be floating around. 6 hours later you’ll still have 50 mg of caffeine floating around. And the next morning when you wake up, you’ll have about 25 mg of caffeine floating around still.
So if you don’t want to be hopped up on caffeine then stop drinking it after 12 pm.
2. Set a bedtime. Seriously, a bedtime. Figure out what time you need to get to bed to get 8 hours of sleep. Ideally your bedtime is between 9-10 pm which will help you avoid a late night cortisol spike so you don’t get a second wind.
3. Take 200 mg of magnesium glycinate. Magnesium helps relax smooth muscle and the nervous system. It’s not a sleeping pill but it will help to relax your body and give you deeper sleep.
I know these hacks seem really simple but they can revolutionize your sleep. Stick with these hacks and make them into habits. You’re not going to go from a bad sleeper to the Michael Jordan of sleep overnight, so stick with it!
DR. CAROLYN DEAN
1. Sleep in complete darkness. Sleeping in a less than complete darkness – light in the room can affect your melatonin (sleep hormone) production.
2. Do not have electronic devices next to your bed. Having electronic devices next to your bed, cell phone, computer, etc., the electromagnetic fields that these emit will hurt falling asleep and staying asleep.
3. Take an absorbable form of magnesium such as magnesium citrate powder mixed with water and consumed before bedtime. Magnesium facilitates sleep-regulating melatonin (sleep hormone) production. Studies have shown that magnesium helps you get a deep and restful sleep.
ERIN STAIR – BLOOMING WELLNESS
1. Cut out coffee earlier in the day We work long hours and love our coffee, but caffeine has a very long half life, meaning it can keep you awake long after you think the effect has worn off.
2. Treat your bedroom like a cave Make sure there’s no light, drop the temperature and lose all gadgets. Those three things will help you naturally sleep better.
3. Put on headphones and listen to binaural frequencies using delta waves (1-4 HZ) AND color while you listen. We create Fall Asleep ZENTones that include these frequencies. Each program is about 40 minutes long , and I encourage folks to listen while coloring. Adult coloring books work, but if you want something even easier, get a mini white board, draw shapes on it and color them in with dry-erase markers while you listen to the binaural tracts.
After listening, try going to bed. This one works if you are in bed and wake up. The worst thing you can do if you can’t sleep is to stay in bed tossing and turning.
Get out of bed and listen to binaural tracts while coloring or, if you want, while washing the dishes. When you start to feel tired again, put the gadgets away and crawl back into bed to sleep.
1. Slow it down There are many ways to “slow it down” before going to bed. Create a night-time ritual that helps you transition from the activity and stress of your day into a slower pace for sleep. You might:
allocate a quiet place in your home to focus on your breath for 3-5 minutes,
enjoy 5 minutes of mindful stretching and movement,
find a quiet place to journal upon what you are grateful for from the day,
read an inspirational book.
Your bedtime ritual does not have to be long. Even a five to ten minute practice can help you to signal to your body, mind and spirit that you are preparing for rest.
2. Guard your quiet By now, almost everyone has heard that screen time can impede your ability to get to sleep easily. And yet it is so tempting to just check the phone for one more text or respond to that late night email! Make it a priority to guard your quiet.
If you have a hard time getting off of technology, then set yourself up for success by pre-programming your phone to go into “do not disturb” mode for certain hours. Put your phone “to bed” in a designated area. Turn the computer completely off rather than just into sleep mode.
3. Get Old School. Since screen time can undermine sleeping, get old school! Reinvest in pre-technology evening activities (reading, knitting, listening to music, puzzles) that don’t require you to watch a tv or computer screen.
Enlist the support of family and roommates to support each other in having evening quiet hours. Not only will old school entertainment help your mind and body to prepare for an evening of good sleep, it may also provide opportunities to connect with loved ones in new ways.
SHANA MEYERSON – YOGATHLETICA.COM
1. No electronics in my bedroom My phone, laptop, tablet, etc, never enter my room. And I don’t have a TV. There have been numerous studies on how the use of electronics gets in the way of a good night’s sleep. Keeping them out of the room not only takes away the stimulation of using them…but also the temptation.
2. I love to take an Epsom Salt and baking soda bath I make the bath nice and hot to burn off the day and get everything relaxed for the evening. Baths are calming for both mind and body. I also like to add a combination of vanilla and mint to the water to soothe my senses.
3. If bathtime is not a possibility (I always make sure to get a full eight hours of sleep each night), then—no matter what—I always read before lying down for sleep.
I read actual physical books (again…no electronics) and prefer fiction. Something to totally separate my day from my night. Fiction books take my mind off of everything to prepare my brain for full relaxation. Even if I only have ten minutes to read before turning off the light, a few pages can make the difference between a racing mind and a quiet one.
Schedule your sleep just as you would any other appointment or commitment in your day. When you plan a full night’s sleep (eight hours, ideally), it is much easier to make sure you get it. Treat your sleep as an important component of your day. Because it is. When you make sleep a priority, sleep takes care of you.
KEDAR NATH – THE YOGI PRESS
1. Sticking to a sleeping routine Doing the same thing at the same time every day is the key. Keeping regular timings for all activities will help the body understand when it is time to sleep and when it is time to rise, automatically readjusting our natural body clock.
2. Eating light meals Yes, our food affects our sleep quality. It is important to eat lightly in the evenings, our evening meals should be low in protein. This allows for quicker digestion, allowing the body to rest properly during the night.
The yogic rule when eating is to fill half the stomach up with food, fill one quarter with water and leave the last quarter empty.CLICK TO TWEET
3. Practicing Yoga Nidra This meditative technique teaches us how to put our body to sleep whilst our mind remains completely aware. The relaxation induced is so high, it combats all forms of insomnia.
LAYA RAZNICK – HOLISTIC HEALTH COACH
1. My first tip is my own guided meditation called Sweet Sleep. It is an opt-in gift along with 7 other guided meditations that you can find on my site mentioned above.
When the mind has something to occupy it’s busy nature as the body relaxes it is able to enter the sleep cycle more effectively. This guided meditation signals the parasympathetic nervous system to lower the blood pressure, slow down the breath rate, encouraging relaxation and sleep.
My voice is very relaxing and hypnotic and my clients have great success with Sweet Sleep meditation. It can be used each night or combined with the other meditations on the gift page.
2. Sing before you sleep: 3-11 minutes of meditation and singing (chant) before bed can do wonders. Set your timer. Sit in a comfortable position either on a chair or the floor, spine straight, chin tucked slightly. Relax your shoulders. Close your eyes and take 3 deep breaths.
Begin to sing or chant. You can choose any relaxing and hypnotic tune. It can be a chant or prayer if you like. There are beautiful chants in the Kundalini Yoga tradition that are specifically designed for the purpose of inducing peaceful sleep.
3. A nightly foot massage ritual: Do a nightly self-care ritual before bed. Wash your feet with warm water. Then rub your feet with lotion or a light body oil. Add lavender or another essential oil that agrees with you.
Rhythmic movements, as well as finger pressure for places of high tension, are very relaxing. Foot massage reflexes to the entire body and can discharge pent up energy from the day. Even better if someone else will massage your feet for you!
Be sure to wear socks and keep your feet warm while you sleep if your room is cold.
CONNI PONTURO – ABSOLUTE PILATES UPSTAIRS
1. Create a sleep environment in your bedroom. Try to limit screen time before bed. Stop 1 hour before going to bed and create a sleep ritual. Phone, computer, and TV off. You are creating a new sleep routine for yourself. Take off makeup, put on pajamas, wash your face and brush teeth, prepare for the next day or pull out a book that interests you and settle in to a new sleep space. Allowing the day to drift off.
2. Epsom salt baths Put 3-4 large cups of Epsom salts in a tub and fill. Create a relaxing environment with music, candles, soft lighting, and relaxing tea. Make sure you have a neck pillow or a rolled-up towel behind your neck for support. Settle in, because you are creating relaxation for yourself. Take this time to feel easy and good about the day that you just had and allow pleasing thoughts to drift in and out of your mind.
3. Focused breathing In your new sleep space after you are settled in, practicing focused breathing can help the body drift off into deep relaxation.
Inhale in for 2 counts, hold the breath for 2 counts and slowly as if blowing out through a straw for 2 counts. Try this for 8-10 rounds. Just notice how the body feels, the sensations you feel and allow all of it to be ok. If that feels good you can practice the same breathing again, because you are training your body to move into relaxation and eventually fall asleep. If you wake up during the night, settle back into a comfortable position and practice your focused breathing again.
DEMPSEY MARKS – PREGAME FIT
I confess to being an insomniac, so I have tried many strategies to help get a good night’s sleep.
1. Add Magnesium to your diet. I use “Calm” before I go to bed and I love it. Magnesium is an essential mineral to our diets and our bodies do not produce it naturally. That means we have to get it from outside sources. Foods like dark leafy greens, nuts and broccoli are among the top magnesium rich foods.
So here is what you need to know about Magnesium. It protects metabolic health, improves moods, balances stress and promotes better sleep! It also is key element for heart and bone health. This vital mineral helps to enable our enzyme function.
For instance, it helps calcium and potassium to muscles to support muscles and heart. It can help regulate blood pressure, cholesterol production and glucose levels as well as maintain our body’s fluid balance. But the key aid for me is it helps to control your body’s stress-response system and hormones related to stress.
This mighty mineral improves my sleep quality and my ability to fall asleep. It also serves as a stress reducer and mood stabilizer, which is especially important before bed. Magnesium takes the edge off my anxiety. I take approximately one teaspoon of the Calm powder supplement in warm water an hour before bedtime for best results. It has worked so well for me.
2. Exercise! And guess what? Magnesium is important for your muscle help as you now know, so it should help your body perform better and give you more energy. Those of us with insomnia need regular exercise. Exercise is known to improve sleep quality and duration. Obviously, the more intense workouts like running or HIIT are best but any exercise is good.
For instance walking (even in the winter) gets you moving and gives you a good dose of fresh air! Do not exercise before you go to bed, as you will elevate your heart rate and that will keep you awake. I recommend completing workouts two to three hours before you hit the pillow.
3. Put down your phones an hour before bedtime. The light exposure to our phones and computers keep us awake. You want to tap in to your circadian rhythms by dimming your light exposure as you prepare for slumber.
I also recommend keeping your cell phone, laptop, television etc away from your bed and even outside your bedroom. Our brains are stimulated by the lighting from electronics (you can set your phones to twilight for less light in the evenings).
Lastly, turn off the television an hour before bed. Watching shows is one way I unwind and it is a nighttime habit but it will inhibit your sleep if you don’t shut down one hour before bedtime.
CAROL MICHAELS – CAROL MICHAELS FITNESS
1. Create Relaxing Bedtime Routines It is helpful to have a routine that helps everyone unwind before they crawl into bed. Make sure the room is set to a comfortable temperature. Try dimming the lights around your home as evening approaches.
Our bodies are wired to stick to a circadian rhythm, and bright lights at night can disrupt this process. If anxiety seems to be an issue, try starting a journal in order to empty thoughts onto paper before bedtime.
Try to honor your natural circadian rhythm by going to sleep at the same time every night. Relaxation techniques can be very helpful in reducing insomnia. You might need to do this under the supervision of our physician or therapist. Stress disrupts our sleep so try to read or listen to something to promote relaxation before bedtime.
2. No cell phone or computer use before bedtime The blue light emitted from phones, tablets, and laptops sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to wake up, which is definitely not what you need when you are preparing for bed. Keep screens from keeping you awake. Shut them off well before bedtime.
You can also keep these electronics out of bedroom altogether. If you do need to look at your screen, try using a night setting or dimming it so it’s less harsh on your eyes.
3. The pillow and mattress must be comfortable Sleeping on an old, worn-out mattress can definitely cause you to lose sleep. Lack of sleep alone can impact your mental health and overall wellness, but a bad mattress can cause chronic pain-and pain cause you to lose even more sleep. To break this vicious cycle, try figuring out whether your mattress should be replaced.
Generally, a mattress that is more than 10 years old can be cause for concern, as are any large rips, damaged springs, or just an overall lack of support. If you do buy a new mattress, make sure you do plenty of research.
USAMA AZAM – HEALTH TIPS HUBS
1. Blink your eyes quickly for 3-5 minutes when you are in bed. This will help you sleep quickly and effectively. There is no scientific proof of this but it has shown some great results.
2. Do not drink water an hour before going to sleep. This will make you stay asleep as you don’t have the urge to go to the bathroom.