Sometimes, when I'm lucky, I can fall asleep, stay asleep for 8 hours, and wake up fresh as a daisy ready to take on the world. That kind of night however is very rare, especially in times of high anxiety or adrenal fatigue. In yoga, we believe that all healing begins in rest. So, sleep is very important in restoring our body's return to homeostasis.
Here are a few tips for preparing yourself for sleep ---
RITUAL: Prepare yourself for sleep. Whether this is applying a beauty mask, a nightly tea, meditation, reading...this kind of habit will signal your brain that you are preparing yourself for sleep.
TURN OFF ELECTRONICS: I am very guilty of scrolling through instagram while laying in bed. I'm making every effort this year to turn off all electronics 30 minutes before bed as the blue light stimulates the brain to stay awake.
TEMPERATURE and LIGHT: Scientists say keeping your bedroom between 68-70 degrees is optimal for sleep. Also, keep it dark and cover any lights from electronics.
BEDROOM: Keep your bedroom a place for, you know, bedroom things. Studies show doing work in bed will signal your brain to stay alert while you are there! So that means, don't answer emails, calls, and keep conversation about work out of the bedroom!
Here are some of my favorite holistic sleep aids;
BANANA: I will occasionally have mid-sleep wake-ups. The simplicity of eating half of a banana will fill my belly and relax me right back into a peaceful and calm sleep. It has a generous amounts of magnesium, potassium, and tryptophan content. This is a relaxing blend with the tryptophan converting into serotonin and melatonin.
MAGNESIUM OIL: I'll spray a few generous spritzes of this all over my body which can relax my brain, muscles and nervous system to have a calm and fair shot at a deep-night’s-sleep. Many of us are quite deficient in magnesium, so it's a wonderful double whammy. Take note, there may be an annoying stinging sensation at first, but will go away!
ASHWAGANDHA: This adaptogen has had the most profound effect on my mind. I call it my herbal Xanax! This robust root is a staple in Ayurvedic medicine and is considered one of the ultimate adaptogens. It supports resilience and balance through life’s little ups and downs. It quells anxious thoughts and allows my mind to become calm. These anxiolytic effects are achieved by activating intense signaling via GABA receptors.
GABA: 2 x 500mg of these babies and you'll feel like you've done an hour of meditation. Drift off to sleep (without all the dreadful side effects of allopathic drugs).
SLEEP TONIC: Some nights, the perfect storm will erupt and I will toss and turn for many hours alone with my thoughts. I will go full force with a gently warmed tonic that consists of raw milk, oats, ashwagandha and stevia (blended for 30 seconds), with the support of two GABAs. Or, I'll make an acupuncture appointment ASAP!!!