Sleep stress – clear your mind so the body can recharge.
Goodbye November, Hello December… can you believe it’s almost 2022? While the past couple of years have simultaneously flown by but also dragged, December always seems to be manic – regardless of what’s happening in the world.
If you’re struggling to see everyone, be a great Mum, prepare for the festive season, stay on top of work, your own health and needs, your sleep may be paying the price.
Stress, anxiety or even just a busy mind are all factors that are a detriment to your daily rest. If you’re finding it hard to drift off to the land of nod, or you can’t get back to sleep in the middle of the night – usually a sign your mind is overloaded, these top tips can help you chill and ease your body back into a state of relaxation.
But, before my top yoga tips for sleep, how is your sleeping environment? Do you have water to hand, is the room well ventilated? Creating a comforting space in which to lay your head is vitally important.
Step one: Uttanasana – Forward Fold.
Relax into this, let gravity take you and release any tension in the head and neck. Hold this for 10-15 good, deep breaths, once you’re done, slowly roll upwards out of the pose with ease.
Forward fold is wonderful for stretching hamstrings and the back, it helps with anxiety and tension and most importantly for sleep – quietens the mind.
Step two: Balasana – Child’s Pose
Either on your bed or a nice warm place on the floor, Balasana is about creating respite and taking care of yourself. In yoga it reminds us that non-doing is as important as doing – everything in balance. It is wonderful for stretching the hips (great if you sit at a desk all day!), as well as gently stretching the back of your torso – all perfect for reducing stress and fatigue.
While it is no substitute for sleep it can get you back to a place of restfulness. Take 10-15 big, deep breaths and sink into the pose.
Step three: Viparita Karani – Legs up the wall
Either on your bed, with a pillow under your head, or on the floor. Lie on your back with your legs up the wall at 90 degrees. This pose is great for a gentle back and leg stretch as well as for your heart and nervous system. Allowing blood to flow away from the legs and back around the body, its wonderful for stress and anxiety, or if you just have restless legs from being on your feet all day.
Take 10-15 long, deep breaths and feel your busy mind melt away into the floor.
Once you’ve tried these yoga techniques, climb back into bed and give your knees a little hug into your chest and slowly return to your sleeping position.
If you’re still struggling, soundscapes, white noise or sleepscapes can help. there’s plenty in apps such as Calm, Headspace or even playlists on Spotify/Apple Music.
Create your calm
If you need a little more help, I find creating a soothing bedtime routine helps bring your mind to rest do your body can join it.
If you have time, a warm bath with Epsom salts for the body and lavender oil the calm the mind always help, specially on the chilly winter evenings. Light some candles, and relax, even if its just 20 minutes – give yourself some time so you can tackle tomorrow…
Out breaths can also be a powerful tool in quietening the mind – plus they’re quite cathartic! Breath in deeply through the nose all the way into your belly and out through the mouth, exhaling the air and your stress and worry with it. 10-15 times should do the trick.
Last but not least, my final self-care remedy for sleep and relaxation is reflexology. Regular treatments can have such a positive effect on our wellbeing. However, I realise it’s not always time or purse appropriate to have such treatments. If you have a generous partner, ask them to massage your feet with essential oils – lavender is a good starting point. If not, take sometime to treat your feet, maybe while you’re watching TV or just before you go to sleep.
Let me know how you get on with these stress-busting sleep tips, or maybe you would like to share a trick that works for you? I’d love to know!
Don’t forget you can still take advantage of my 7 for the price of 6 Winter Wellness Coaching Offer
What a wonderful sharing of helpful suggestions and how timely.
All very best wishes for the holiday season. I feel much clamer just reading your wise words.