Excellent health involves many variables and factors like proper nutrition, regular exercise, spending quality time with loved ones and/or engaging in some type of fun recreation activity. However, one of the most important factors in having vibrant health is rest and deep relaxation. Our modern, industrial lives are busier than ever with many of us skipping out on getting enough quality sleep.
Sometimes anxiety and stress prevent us from experiencing the restorative aspects that sleep provides. As a result of a lack of sleep, many of us substitute sleep for caffeine and sugar, which can lead to burn out, illness and depression. Deep, adequate and sound sleep is one of the pillars of excellent health and wellbeing and it should not be ignored or denied!
Below are some tips for experiencing a more restorative sleep:
1. Add magnesium into your life. Taking a magnesium supplement, drinking magnesium tea, soaking in an Epsom salt bath or spraying magnesium oil on the body after a shower can facilitate a deep, reenergizing sleep (I personally have had the best results with the spray). Since many of us are deficient in vital minerals like magnesium, adding this powerhouse of a nutrient can take your sleep experience to a whole new level. Magnesium is known to recharge our bodies on a cellular level, providing a healing and holistic energy boost.
2. Try calming herbal teas and/or tinctures. Drinking a cup of tea or some warm water with a few drops of an herbal tincture can help improve your sleep experience. There are a lot of herbs that promote sleep and deep relaxation. Herbs like valerian root and kava kava are often mentioned, but I find those remedies too strong and overpowering. I prefer the subtle effects of herbs like chamomile, passionflower, skullcap and ashwaghanda. Experiment and see what works for you!
3. Meditate or do light yoga stretches before bed. Meditation and yoga can really help lead to more restorative and deep sleep. Downward facing dog, child’s pose, gentle forward bends, and gentle shoulder, neck and arm stretches can help relieve tension from the body. Relaxing the brain and releasing tension in the body for five to ten minutes before bed can help ease anxiety and stress from the day. Affirmations can be helpful as well. Saying a few affirmations like: “I am peaceful. I am beautiful. I am loving. I am amazing,” can help take the edge off of a negative day and reset your consciousness in a positive direction for sleep time.
4. Listen to calming nature sounds. Ocean, wave, waterfall, falling rain and forest sounds are soothing to fall asleep to. Experiment with different nature sounds to help create the feeling of peace and relaxation in your sleeping space.
Having a bedtime ritual that involves one or more of the above strategies could really help improve your sleep life. Many studies have shown the negative consequences of skipping out on sleep, like increased daytime accidents, lower job performance, lower cognitive function, obesity, irritability, depression and even more severe types of mental illnesses. Of course, sometimes it is just impossible to get the kind of sleep we need—new parents such as myself understand this immensely. However, if possible don’t make a habit out of skipping out on sleep.