Renew, Regenerate, Repair Get Ready to Sleep
Our bodies do some of their best work while we sleep. The thinking mind quiets and the autonomic systems are able to reenergize, renew, rejuvenate, regulate and repair. In order to function at the highest level, our bodies need “downtime”. Just about everyone at some time or another can have trouble sleeping, but for those who chronically have difficulty sleeping, it can lead to greater health issues. Here are some natural and easy ways to help induce a good nights sleep.
Change lighting in your home or the rooms that you frequent in the evening from bright daylight strength to a twilight setting. Our bodies use light to help regulate waking and sleeping patterns. These lighting changes at the end of the day signal the body that you are winding down over the next couple of hours and will be moving toward bed soon.
Turn off overhead lights and use a lamp or two. Turning off higher wattage lights has the added bonus of saving a few pennies on your energy bill. There are several manufacturers of “twilight lamps”. This is a lamp that puts out light in the range that your body associates with twilight outdoors and can have a tremendous effect on regulating your bodys internal clock for sleeping and waking. An hour in a room with dimmed lighting or a twilight lamp helps to ease your mind and body toward sleep.
Gentle exercise at least an hour after dinner and an hour before bed assists in processing the days food intake and any mental issues. Try light stretches or gentle yoga poses. While you are stretching your body also stretch your face and mouth by exaggerating a few “fake” yawns. Your body receives this signal as a real indication of preparation for sleep.
Eye exercises done while sitting or lying down during your stretching can also assist. Begin by holding your head still and looking up as far as you are able. Slowly move your eyes in a clockwise circle three times. Then repeat slowly moving your eyes in a counter-clockwise circle.
When you are finished, close your eyes and rest for a few breaths. Allow about 30 minutes after your stretching and eye exercises for your body to settle before you begin heading toward bed.
Once you are in bed, focus on breathing softly and also deeply into your belly. While on your back with eyes closed, continue your deep breathing and begin to relax your body. Start with your attention at your toes and ask them to relax. Move slowly up your body asking each part to relax as you continue your soft, deep breathing.
This relaxing bedtime routine will be well worth the effort as your body is prompted to slow down in preparation for sleep. A positive outlook and attitude after a good nights rest can go a long way to creating health. Sweet dreams.