Sophie Mehrlich, an ayurvedic massage practitioner in our Exeter centre offers some simple tips to help you develop a better sleep routine…
A busy lifestyle, responsibilities galore, not enough hours in the day - and don’t even talk to me about stress….it’s no wonder we can all struggle to get good quality sleep.
Sometimes when you’re going through it, it can feel like pure luck as to whether you sleep well or not. But, actually, there are a lot of things that can stack the odds in your favour, and help your body get that wonderful, restful, rejuvenating sleep that we all feel so good on.
Here are some areas to think about in your life.
Environment: Surroundings certainly affect our bodies. We all know the difference in how we respond to a chaotic space in comparison to a tidy room. Having a calm restful bedroom will aid your ability to switch off at the end of the day. Keep a clear distinction between bedrooms for rest and self-care and other spaces in your home for work, or family. Keep those things such as TV, phones, and tablets, which can have quite an impact on your ability to switch off, out of the bedroom.
Routine: When children are born you become aware of the power of routine. Little moments we use night after night…. a bath, teeth, bedtime story, all become triggers or cues to our children’s bodies that sleep is approaching. As we get older, we forget how well this works. Creating a routine doesn’t need to be time-consuming either. Think of two or three things that you can do every night that signal it is bedtime. I love to use lavender or geranium essential oils in a bath, brush my teeth (of course!), and do a few minutes of meditation. Try to keep your bedtime the same each night too, which can also be a helpful trigger for your body clock.
Preparation: Stress affects how we fall asleep, and can also prevent us from staying asleep, it’s especially hard to shake in the still of the night. If you’re going through a stressful time, writing in a journal for ten minutes at each end of the day can help offload, allowing you some headspace to relax, and slowing your brain down for the sleep period ahead. I also love using Abhyanga, an Ayurvedic oil massage that’s wonderful at relieving stress as well as having many health benefits. And keep an eye on what – and when - you eat in the evening, allowing your body three hours before bed for digestion frees your body to focus on ‘house cleaning’ while you sleep. Being mindful of your liquid intake can really help too; as can keeping coffee to before midday and switching to calming herbal tea later in the day.
Circadian Rhythms: Connection to the sun is an important part of nature. As the sun starts to set, blue light is reduced, triggering our brain to start production of melatonin, a chemical needed to enable us to feel sleepy and get a good night’s kip. These days, however, the technology at our fingertips radiates blue light from the screens telling our brains to “shut off the melatonin, we’ve hours left in the day yet!!” Putting some boundaries around screen time goes a long way to helping your body get ready for sleep. Natural daylight exposure early in the day is also great for regulating melatonin secretion. Why not experiment for a week and see what a difference it would make in your life or your children’s?