More than one third of U.S. adults sleep fewer than seven hours a day, according to the American Sleep Association. From infancy on, we all chase that wonderful elusive feeling we get from being well rested. But the obstacles to a good night's sleep pile higher as we get older: homework, family, stress, technology, commuting and so on. When we aren't sleeping, we worry about it and get anxious; which makes it harder to sleep.
But, while sleep is unconscious, mindful practice can get us there quickly and reliably. Building calming rituals around the hour before you go to bed can help your mind and body transition to a better night's rest. Here are things to try:
1. Set a consistent bedtime to train yourself to the habit of getting ready for bed.
2. Dim the lights as the time approaches. This raises your melatonin levels and your body's chemical signal that it's bedtime.
3. Stretch for several minutes before bed to release tension.
4. Avoid technology just before bed. The artificial light wreaks havoc with your circadian rhythms, telling your body it's daytime.
5. Decrease food and alcohol (high sugar) intake an hour or two prior to bedtime.
6. Insulate yourself from distractions with a white noise fan or eye pillow to power down.
7. Meditate. It's one of the best ways to help sleep. A study by Harvard's Benson Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine showed that meditation triggers the body's relaxation response. App's as Calm offer bedtime meditations that help replace that merry-go-round of worry with carefree attention, breathing and body awarenessso you can get the recharge you need.
Join me on Mondays for meditation on Facebook Live - @ouidafitnessexpert
For more information on my services or questions please visit www.bodybyouida.com