Do you crave better sleep?
Then here are three essential practices you can do straight away to get better, more nourishing sleep.
These make a powerful positive combination to give you the sweet slumber you deserve!
Before artificial lighting, humans had only the campfire, the moon and the surrounding darkness at night time.
Throughout the generations, the diminishing light of the evening has been a signal that switches on the sleep process. This is our connection to Nature – simple and so powerful!
Low light triggers the pineal gland in the brain to release melatonin throughout the night, in complex pulsing patterns. These pulsations create changes in your physiology that heal and replenish your brain and body.
What’s essential to realise, is that if you’re exposed to light during the night, the pineal gland switches off and won’t make melatonin until the following night.
We are completely geared to rest and replenish at night. Melatonin is just one example of the incredible relationship that your body has with Nature’s rhythms.
For great sleep, keep lights as low as possible during the evening at home. Switch off all screens by 9pm at the latest, allowing your eyes and mind to adjust to soft lighting for a full hour before bed.
You can read by lamplight – the light bouncing off a page doesn’t seem to impair sleep in the same way that a radiating screen does.
And if you get up during the night, try not to switch on any overhead lights. This allows you to receive the benefits of melatonin all the way through to the morning.
If you find it hard to settle into sleep, using warmth to signal your body is a simple and effective trick. It’s also pretty relaxing, so you’ve got nothing to lose!
Before you go to bed, run a warm-to-hot bath or shower. You may like to add a few drops of a soothing essential oil like lavender. If you get tight or aching muscles, you can add Epsom salts to the bath.
You can use a visualisation that the water is washing away the stress and worries of the day, and filling you with peace.
When your body feels warm and relaxed, get into your bed clothes and hop into bed straight away. When your temperature begins to cool a little, this is a natural signal for your body to fall into the sleep state. The first stages of sleep are associated with falling body temperature, so by warming your body before bed this is a natural way to trigger this connection within you.
Keeping the lights low, washing the day away and getting warm and cozy… You’re already well on the way to a satisfying sleep.
If you find, however, that the wheels of your mind are still spinning when you lay down in bed, then a practice to help slow and calm the mind will help you to detach from the day and succumb to sweet sleep.
There are many practices that you can do, and you may already have a favourite.
If you’re new to breathing or meditation practice, then try something simple like
You can visit an App Store and listen to sample tracks. Listen until you find a voice that feels soothing and calm to you. (The one that your friend swears by may not really “click” for you.)
Then download this onto your device and you’re on your way!
Using ear-buds can help to block out other sounds which helps you get more out of the practice.
Meditation doesn’t need to be complicated or difficult. By listening to a guided track, you can receive the benefits of meditation without having to overthink it.
You need to aim to be in bed by no later than 10pm. Your body has a cleaning and restoring program that happens like clockwork throughout the night, with functions happening in sequence, one after the other. By being ready to fall asleep by 10pm, this gives everything a chance to start and progress with the full amount of time… meaning you can receive that morning refreshment you deserve.
Sleep problems? Chinese medicine has many solutions for difficult sleep. We differentiate our treatment according to the type of sleep issue, and each type has its own remedy. For example:
If you have these, or any other sleep issues, please get in touch to find out how we can help.