All of us know how important sleep is. Not only for immune function, digestion and cell maintenance, getting restful sleep is essential in nervous system health. A good night of sleep goes beyond getting your eight hours. When you have a full routine that helps your body shift into relaxation mode after a long day, then you can fully reap the benefits of your REM cycle. Try a few of these ideas before you head off to dreamland tonight and quickly reach a state of rest.
Drink Something Warm
Having a nightly ritual with calming tea or golden milk is one of the best ways to shift your system into relaxation mode. Bringing a soothing sense of peace to your body, your mind will slowly follow its lead. Try Traditional Medicinal’s Stress Ease tea with skullcap to help you wind down at night. Skullcap helps to soothe fried nerves and bring you into a greater state of relaxation. If you don’t like the taste of cinnamon, try a golden milk blend with turmeric and blend with warm nut milk. Sip slowly and enjoy.
Take a Bath or Shower
Parents know how quickly bath time leads to the kids quickly falling asleep. This is the same for adults! The body can more easily rest when its temperature is cooler. When you heat the body before bed, once you get out of your shower or bath, the body begins to cool down, calming your entire system. If you take a bath, put Epsom salt in the water to increase your magnesium intake. Known as the calming mineral, magnesium will have you peacefully sleeping in no time. If you can’t shower or take a bath, do a warm foot soak with Epsom salts.
Perhaps one of the most underrated bedtime rituals, stretching brings your mind into the present moment. By focusing on the sensations within your body, the mind stops wandering while the stretches break up tension you’ve been holding throughout the day. Do a forward fold, butterfly stretch, hurdler stretches and candlestick pose. Candlestick pose is as simple as putting your legs up the wall. Just bring your seat towards the wall and place your legs straight up. Breathe deeply as you drain the lymph from the legs, bringing fresh blood to your organs and calming your nervous system.
The 4-7-8 Breath
When asked why 21st-century people are so anxious, Dr. Andrew Weil replied, “Because no one has taught them how to breathe.” The 4-7-8 breath works as a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system – do it at night to bring your body into a state of rest. Start by placing your tongue behind your top row of teeth, towards the roof of your mouth, and keep it there while you do the breath sequence. With your tongue in its place, start by inhaling through your nose for a count of four. Hold for a count of seven. Then, exhale through your mouth for a count of eight. Your breath out should make a shoosh sound as it leaves your mouth. Try four rounds, then continue as needed as your body starts to relax further.
Paige Pichler is a writer, speaker, Project HEAL National Ambassador and yoga instructor. She writes about wellness, higher consciousness and health trends for a better life.