Luckily, my love affair with yoga has introduced me to the sweet surrender of Savasana (the delicious “Corpse Pose” that is given as a gift to you at the end of a vigorous class) thereby transcending my occasional insomnia, allowing me to finally find some peace around bedtime. However, as the days have drawn longer and my restlessness around bedtime increases, I find myself asking, “Why can’t sleep be more like Savasana?”
Here are five simple ways to harness the benefits of Savasana and improve your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep through the dog days of summer:
1) Plan your meals – What we put into our bodies during the hours leading up bed dramatically affect our bodies’ ability to fall into meaningful sleep. Make lunch your biggest meal of the day, followed by a light dinner at least three hours before bed. This allows time for proper digestion to set it. Also, alcohol and caffeinated drinks like tea, coffee and sodas are stimulating to the body and mind, so stop drinking those at least 2 hours before bedtime. Remember, it takes about two weeks for these new habits to positively affect your sleep, so if you are not noticing results at first, be patient and stick with it!
2) Unplug – For better sleep, make an effort to unplug from all technology for at least an hour before your desired bedtime. In this overly-stimulated and technology-driven society, our senses are on full alert all day long, being constantly bombarded by phones, computers, news feeds, notifications, etc. No wonder the prevalence of insomnia has rise so highly in the past decade! Allow yourself a reprieve from the incessant stimulation by “unplugging” at night – that means turning off the TV, laptop, cell phone, and any other unnecessary devices – and allowing yourself to enjoy some uninterrupted peace and quiet.
3) Ambiance – Envision your bedroom as your sanctuary. Remove any unnecessary clutter that is distracting and invite in tranquility. Ask yourself: What does your ideal sleep haven look like? Visualize it, then create it. Relax and soften your senses of sight, sound and smell – dim the lighting, light some candles and play classical, jazz or opera music, any style without lyrics will do. Also, explore the wonderful world of aromatherapy. The following aromas are proven to ease sleeplessness and invite in the zzz’s : chamomile, frankincense, jasmine, lavender, marjoram, rose, sandalwood and ylang ylang.
4) Yoga for Better Sleep – “Legs-up-the-Wall” pose is arguably the most restorative yoga
posture around. Lying still in this pose for 15 minutes before bed is believed to have the same benefits as four hours of deep REM sleep. Another powerful insomnia-eradicating tool is listening to a guided meditation in bed. The “Yoga Nidra” guided meditations are famous for their ability to put you in a relaxed state of unconsciousness lingering somewhere between being awake and being asleep, allowing you to gently float into a sweet surrender. Here is a good one I found on Youtube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=yr3N-FtQzTk