Everybody has been told that you need at least 8 hours of sleep, and this is TRUE for most of us to achieve optimal health. Why is eight hours important? Because it is between the seventh and eighth hour of sleep when you get almost an hour of REM sleep, the time when the mind repairs itself, grows new connections, and puts it all together. If you are sleeping only six hours, you’re missing that last, important opportunity to repair and to prepare for the coming day.
Don’t think it is possible?? Well, you must ask yourself if you health FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE is worth it. If the answer is yes, use these techniques to give you the best sleep of your life!
- Make your bedroom your sanctuary – use your bedroom only for sleep and lovemaking. Avoid bill paying, eating, or reading in bed. Remove your telephone and/or TV from your bedroom.
- Take two 10-15 minute quiet retreat periods every day, such as going for a walk meditating or closing your eyes for ten minutes. Go into the restroom, close the door, and rest or meditate there if you cannot find another private place. If you are at home, no TV, peaceful music only.
- Practice deep breathing or alternate nostril breathing at least twice daily – 12 minutes morning and night is good.
- Alternate nostril breathing:
- Talk a deep, slow breath in; before you exhale, press your right nostril closed (against the wall of your nose) with your right thumb and exhale through your left nostril. Keeping your right nostril closed, inhale through your lefts nostril and exhale again. Repeat one more cycle. After your third inhalation through your left nostril release your right nostril and close your left nostril with the ring finger of your right hand and exhale through your right nostril. Inhale and exhale through your right nostril for 3 cycles and before you exhale on the third cycle, release your left nostril and exhale through both nostrils. Do three inhalation/exhalation cycles, and begin the whole process over again by closing your right nostril with your right thumb and exhaling through your left nostril. Start each set with an exhalation and repeat each set until you complete the 12 minutes. Take long, slow relaxing breaths and focus only on your breathing.
- Practice positive thinking and singing/thinking about positive or funny things/songs – use this whenever you catch yourself thinking negatively.
- Have some fun everyday!
- Engage in moderate exercise that you enjoy and that clears your mind – listen to your body and go with it!
- Eat dinner at least two hours before bedtime.
- Go to bed as long before midnight as possible.
- Avoid alcohol before bedtime.
- Have a cup of Sleepytime tea (available at most grocery & health food stores), which contains the soothing, calming, relaxing herbs chamomile, spearmint and lemongrass along with tilita flowers, blackberry leaf, hawthorn berries and rosebud.
- Go to bed when you are initially tired and feel sleepy.
- Listen to relaxing music.
- Take a bath with one or two cups Epsom salts, which is hydrated magnesium sulfate – available in any drugstore. This will allow your body to calm as the magnesium is absorbed through your skin. Warming your core body temperature will make you drowsy.
- Keep your bedroom temperature at 68 degrees which corresponds with your lowest body temperature during sleep.
- Darken your bedroom as much as possible or wear eye shades – available at any drugstore.
- If your mattress is lumpy or uncomfortable, invest in a new mattress.
- To get back to sleep try the corpse pose and combined breathing to get back to sleep:
- Lie on your back, with a pillow or folded blanket beneath your knees if you feel any lower back pain.
- Clasp the back of your head with your hands and pull gently, moving your chin slightly toward your chest, to align your head and neck; then gently rest your head on your pillow.
- Extend your legs hip distance apart and allow them to fall open naturally.
- Extend your arms at your sides and allow your hands to relax.
- Draw your shoulder blades down and away from your neck so that your chest is passively open.
- Close your eyes.
- Breath as deeply and evenly as you can. Holding your breath or breathing shallowly is an alarm to your body that you are in danger, signaling your body’s sympathetic fight-or-flight response. So breathe deeply and allow your body to flow into the relaxing parasympathetic mode.
- Repeat a positive thought like a prayer. Say to yourself, “Everything is going to be hunky-dorky” or some similar mantra.
Use whatever combination of the above techniques you like to work on the physical and mental components of getting you rested and healing at the same time. Proper sleep is just as important to optimal health as eating good food and exercise. Sleep good, be good, feel good!