5 Natural Ways to Get a Better Night’s Sleep
Sleep is essential to our lives, and the quality of sleep we get can determine how happy and well-rested we feel when it’s time for that morning wake up call. We all know what happens if you don’t get enough sleep–you’re groggy, cranky, unfocused–and these effects will only compound as the day goes on.
Here are five natural holistic ways that will not only ensure you’re getting your eight hours of shuteye, but also help you wake up feeling rejuvenated in the morning: mindful meditation; intentional breathing exercises; a circadian rhythm routine; journaling your racing thoughts; letting your brain power down by reading something nonthreatening before bed like poetry or literature rather than blogs or online news feeds.
1. Mindfulness meditation is one of the best ways to practice mindful living. It can be difficult to focus on your breath for long periods, but it’s worth practicing so that you can reap the benefits of mindful breathing in other aspects of your life. Take some time every day (or night) and set an intention or say a mantra while focusing solely on mindful breathing – try repeating “I am” as you inhale and then “filled with peace,” which will help bring about a sense of calmness.
2. Breathing deeply into your stomach rather than up into your chest has been shown to improve sleep quality by increasing oxygen levels, muscle relaxation, blood circulation, and brain activity associated with restful REM sleep cycles. Practice deep breathing exercises while focusing on your breath going up into your nose and down to expand throughout your chest cavity: Inhale through the nose and exhale fully from mouth forming an “O” shape opening outwards with tongue along teeth. This exercise is known as Pranayama yoga which has been found to reduce stress levels.
3. Be intentional about what time of day it is. Your circadian rhythm regulates when you sleep best based on light exposure during daytime hours and darkness at night; make sure that the sun goes down before turning in for the evening (or vice versa). Avoid taking naps throughout the day to give yourself the allotted eight hours for sleeping. It also helps to have set bedtimes so the body learns when is an appropriate time to go to bed each day.
4. Listen carefully and notice how often your thoughts are racing before going to sleep; if they tend be fast-paced, try writing them down in a journal so that there’s not as much clutter occupying the space of worry in your head overnight.
5. Limiting screen time before going to bed will stop any potential disruptions throughout the evening if you are having trouble getting back on track with sleep pattern. Allow your brain power to shut down and get ready for sleep by shutting off electronics an hour before bed. Opt to read a book or a piece of poetry to set the tone for sweet dreams.