What to Do If You Can’t Fall Asleep
Built up stress and tension have a way of coming out in full force at bedtime. Tossing and turning can lead to checking the clock, which only tells you how much sleep you’re NOT getting. Don’t panic just yet. Changing your daily routine to include yoga and meditation can reduce stress and tension to help you get the shut-eye you need.
Relax Your Way to Sleep
Meditation slows the heartbeat and calms the mind leading to a better night’s sleep. Effective meditation can be done in as little as 10 minutes. Remember, making time for meditation is really making time for yourself. Here are a few techniques worth trying:
- Deep Breathing: Breathing from your diaphragm, or abdomen, releases endorphins, increases blood flow, and relieves tension. Find a quiet place where you can sit comfortably, close your eyes, relax the body, and focus solely on the movement of the diaphragm as it slowly moves in and out. Repeat by taking 10 deep breaths in a row.
- Guided Imagery: The brain has serious power over the body. Guided imagery uses this power by bringing the brain to a relaxed state. Start by closing your eyes and imagining a peaceful, calming scene. Close off your other senses to only this image. This exercise can slow your heart rate.
- Count It Down: Using a countdown works well when coupled with deep breathing. When you’re ready to go to sleep, lie down in bed, and stare at the ceiling. Then, pick a number and start counting down to zero. Take your time and visualize each digit slowly moving you to a relaxed state.
Pose-itively Change Your Routine
Yoga poses have been proven to help reduce stress in clinical trials because it’s good for both the mind and body. Making an extra 10-15 minutes in your daily routine could be enough to calm your thoughts and relax your muscles at bedtime. A few poses to try:
- Child Pose: This classic resting pose brings focus to the mind and lets the tension flow out of the body. Sit on your feet and rest your chest against your knees. With arms stretched along the ground in front of you with palms down, rest your forehead on the floor. Hold this pose while taking five deep breaths and release.
- Supine Spinal Twist: Poses like supine spinal twist stretch the tension out of back muscles. Perform this pose by lying on your back with arms out on either side of the body. Bring the knees to your chest and slowly twist them to one side. Turn your head in the opposite direction and hold for five deep breaths.
- Standing Forward Bend: With feet flat on the ground and about six inches apart, fold at the hip joints, not the waist, as far as down to the ground as possible. If you can, bring your fingertips to the floor. Relax your neck and head, letting them hang down. Hold the pose for one minute. Place hands on your hips, press the tailbone towards the floor, and bring the torso back to standing position.