Struggling to Sleep?
Sleep is undeniably refreshing. It ranks way up there as an essential piece of our must-do self-care!
When we lay awake unable to relax and drift off into that restorative state, our overall functioning takes a dip with mental, emotional, and physical after-effects…even after just one interrupted or shortened night.
Coping with the world suddenly feels difficult. It feels as if stress invades every inch of our being. We do not want anyone to feel that way! We want you to feel well.
So, what can you do when you are feeling anxious and awake in the middle of the night?
5 Things That Can Help You Sleep
Your bedroom is a place for sleep. That may sound like a given fact, but to make it the perfect space for slumber, you may need to make some mental and environmental adjustments.
1. Know When to Get Up
Your bed is for sleeping, and obviously when you are having trouble making that happen, it can feel more like a place for your mind to wander (i.e., trying to solve all the problems of the world…ugh!). Give yourself no more than 20 minutes, then get out of bed. Push any efforts to fall asleep out of your mind as you do so.
It is a mentality! Johns Hopkins sleep expert Luis F. Buenaver, Ph.D., C.B.S.M. teaches, “(Lying in bed awake) will lead your brain and body to associate your bed with wakefulness instead of with sleep. It can be difficult leaving a warm, comfortable bed after waking up in the middle of the night. But think of this step as an investment in better sleep—if not tonight then tomorrow night and in the future.”
Return to bed only after you feel serene and ready to drift off.
2. Meditation and Mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness are holistic practices that can reduce anxiety and promote a sense of calm. You can practice meditation and mindfulness while you are in bed but remember the 20-minute rule (know when to get up).
Meditation does not need to be complicated. Here are the basic steps:
– Sit in a comfortable upright position, either in a chair or on the floor. Take a couple of deep breaths and close your eyes.
– Relax every tense muscle you may have, starting from the top of your head. Mentally work your way down your body…every single area…just let it go!
– Pay attention to your breathing. Slow your breathing down and ensure you are breathing deeply.
– As you focus on your breathing, allow your mind to wander. Observe your thoughts, the sounds that surround you, and let all of this come and go.
– Give yourself at least a few minutes (or as long as you want) to drift back and forth between your mind, relaxing, and breathing. Then bring your attention back to your body and open your eyes.
You do not have to meditate to practice mindfulness!
Mindfulness is a mental practice that creates a stress-free space for us to think, breathe consciously, and live our lives in the moment. Mindfulness is a form of meditation, even when you are not purposely in the act of meditation, as you focus on just being aware of what you are sensing and feeling in the present.
Plug in a diffuser and release calming essential oil vapor into your room. You may also create a room spray or a roll-on synergy with your favorite essential oils.
Some of the top essential oils that may help to calm and relax you are lavender, chamomile, bergamot, clary sage, and ylang-ylang.
Do you suffer from a stuffy head or allergies that interrupt your sleep? Consider essential oils that promote better breathing, such as peppermint, eucalyptus, or rosemary.
Speaking of breathing… a cooler temperature in your bedroom may help with your breathing, as well as induce sleep (as our core temperature drops, drowsiness sets in). Consider sleeping in a room that’s kept between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit
4. Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises can be done in bed or while sitting in a chair. (Actually, you can do this at any time to find balance and peace.)
Here are the basic steps for a deep breathing exercise:
– Place one of your hands on your belly.
– Take a deep slow breath through your nose and push your belly out as you do so (feel your belly rise with your hand). Your chest should remain as still as possible.
– Breathe out through your mouth. Feel your belly go in as you release air.
– Take your time while doing this exercise and repeat the process at least 3 to 5 times (or more if you want to continue).
Combine this breathing exercise with mindfulness or meditation. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise. Did your anxious thoughts float away?
5. Avoid Screens (Listen Instead)
We all want to stay connected, but it can be detrimental to our sleep and mental health!
Exposure to blue light screens can inhibit sleep because it suppresses our natural release of melatonin, a sleep-enhancing hormone. Blue light sources include computer monitors, smartphones, tablet screens, as well as fluorescent and LED lighting. Turn blue light devices and lighting off at least an hour before bedtime.
Close your eyes and let your ears take over. Listen to an audible book or sleep-inducing music. Shut out the world…no worries allowed as you listen.
Sleepfoundation.org reports, “Using music can also decrease the time it takes to fall asleep…Music enhances sleep because of its effects on the regulation of hormones, including the stress hormone cortisol.
Being stressed and having elevated levels of cortisol can increase alertness and lead to poor sleep. Listening to music decreases levels of cortisol, which may explain why it helps put people at ease and release stress.”
Massage Can Help You Sleep
Cannot sleep? We hope that isn’t the case for you, but try our tips for better sleep, and tomorrow, get a massage!
To put it simply, massages can help improve your physical health, making the chemicals inside your body stable, which then keeps you alive, healthy, and dopamine (happy hormone) rich!
Nothing induces sleep better than a healthy relaxed mental state!
We are all about R & R, relief and relaxation from people who care! Sage Blossom Massage is your piece of peace in Austin, TX.
Stay a step ahead and prevent sleep difficulties! Check out our monthly massage membership or call today to get started.