I adore my kids - they are my everything but…they have seriously ruined my good night’s sleep. Between the early years of nursing during the evening, their early rising & frequent night-time visits to my room - my days of 8 (or even 7 :) hours of uninterrupted sleep are long gone. It’s honestly a real struggle for me. And, when I don’t get good sleep - I am tired, cranky, impatient and definitely not able to show up in my best ways. And I know that am not alone with my sleep issues. Kids or no kids, more than 25% of us are having trouble getting good rest for a huge range of reasons from stress, anxiety, depression to technology affecting our circadian rhythms with all the extra doses of blue light, changing hormones, special conditions and even the blurry lines between work/home life balance.
The number of us getting poor sleep has increased over the past years. The National Institutes of Health predicts that America’s sleep debt is on the rise and that by the middle of the 21st century more than 100 million Americans will have difficulty falling asleep.
Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people's performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression.2 Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.3
Sleep is important for overall health, and inadequate sleep is associated with numerous health problems. Research shows that not getting enough sleep, or getting poor-quality sleep, increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.2,4,5,6
The good news is that there’s a lot of promising support if you need help getting a more restful nights sleep — including yoga. I’ve tried many of them on myself and my kids and have had great some great outcomes and I’m here to share my favorites.
My absolute best sleep tip is to practice Yoga Nidra. I’ll typically practice for 20 minutes in bed at night to help me get to sleep but have also found that doing it anytime in the day (including when I wake!!) will contribute to a sounder sleep. I love Rod Stryker’s guided meditations and there are also tons of practices you can find on youtube - including ones for kids.
Other things I swear by…..
I adjust my screens to a pm setting at sunset and use flux to help me cut down on blue light.
I try (try!!) to stop using any screen an hour before bed -even though I love watching Don Lemon ;).
I always use a weighted eye pillow - I have perfected keeping the lavender infused pressure on my eyes, even when I sleep on my side. I hear folks love using weighted blankets too!
Right now in the colder season, I keep my covers super warm but always leave the window open a bit - including when it’s really chilly outside.
You’ll always find me diffusing essential oils - I have a favorite blend I call “liquid sleep” near my bedside. I massage it on my feet too! I can make you a sample if you’d like!
I don’t pull the shades…I like waking up with the sun and read somewhere it is good for balance in your circadian rhythm. So is going to bed at sunset, but I haven’t gotten there yet ;).
My husband loves using a white noise app…the soft sounds of water or crickets are his faves. I really dislike the crickets….so he has to make it super low when it’s cricket night ;). My son loves listening to crystal bowls and a crackling fire - some white noise apps let you choose 2 at once!!
There are so many great yoga sequences out there help you relax before sleep. Many of our evening classes are designed to encourage a good night’s rest- including yoga nidra, lunar flow, deep stretch and yin! I’ll often do a short practice before bed to unwind, usually with the lights out or the soft glow of a candle to add to the chill factor mood.
My son loves doing an A-Z gratitude practice before bed. It’s super simple and let’s the mind release some anxiety and stress. You start with A…and think of an A word that you are grateful for, like sweet honeycrisp apples. Then B (usually this one goes to his friend Bodhi) and so on. X can be a challenge but he usually doses off before we get there and lately he has been doing it on his own!
Finally I try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time…this is aspirational for the bedtime but I get up at 6am no matter what!
I hope some of these are helpful to you! Let me know if you have any favorites - like warm drink concoctions, journaling prompts, a warm shower….. I’d love to hear from you!
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