5 tips for a better night’s sleep.
1. Regularity of sleep
Living within the Circadian cycle creates a habit that your body and mind will love. Ayurveda recommends regular sleep patterns where you go to bed and get up from bed at the same time every day. You rise with the sun and rest as the sun sets. Whilst, with our modern lifestyle habits it’s not always possible to do this, try implementing regularity into your sleep habits at least five days a week.
2. Establish a bedtime routine.
When children go to bed, they may take a warm bath and we read them a story. We actively encourage children to wind down and prepare their body and mind for sleep. It makes sense that same preparation for bedtime is relevant for adults.
Light exposure plays a big part in this routine, particularly the exposure to blue light. If you think about it, we expose ourselves to light from the moment we get up until we sleep even when it’s dark outside. Your television, computer and mobile phone is built to replicate the natural light you are exposed to during the day. This tricks your nervous system to remain alert when in fact it should be preparing for sleep.
Transitioning to bedtime will help your body’s production of melatonin, the natural chemical we need for sleep. In the evening reduce your exposure too light by turning on side lamps, and lower the light on your screens. At least an hour before sleep, switch off from all technology.
3. Time you eat your evening meal.
In Ayurveda the digestive system is the second of the three pillars for optimum health. It believes improper digestion eventually results in disease. To live in accordance with the principals of Ayurveda, the main meal is eaten at lunchtime when the digestive system is at its optimum. The evening meal is lighter and eaten at least two hours before bed. This helps to reduce the work required by the digestive system, giving it enough time to rest before sleep.
Eat too late into the evening and you risk changing a healthy meal into junk food because your body is not expecting it. It has already moved into sleeping mode. Eat too late you have a great chance to wake up feeling tired, low of energy and have more hunger the following day.
An evening massage for the feet with warm oil is wonderfully pacifying for the Vata dosha. I can speak from personal experience how relaxing it is to spend a little time before bed to massage the soles of the feet. Ayurveda also recommend doing this to the scalp.
I’d also highly recommend a warm bath with epson salts before bed. It is incredibly relaxing and soothing for your nervous system.