There is no excuse, anymore, for us to not be sleeping.
Just as we need to exercise, we also need to surrender into rest.
Everyone on the planet needs 6-8 hours of sleep on a regular basis. Every cell in the body needs stimulation, and every cell in the body needs nourishment.
It is also impossible to accomplish your goals if you are chronically sleep-deprived. Plus, your mind/body uses sleep as the washing machine for the subconscious mind. If we aren’t able to slip into deep dream sleep every night, our toxic, unprocessed emotions and experiences don’t get drained away.
Ayurveda offers an ideal way for transitioning from the activity of the day into the sacred chamber of sleep.
Following these routines will allow the space for sleep to come effortlessly, and will help you stay asleep through the night:
1. Set the mood: Depending on the season (in the winter it may be earlier), start turning off overhead lights after dinner. Avoid fluorescent lights always, but especially at night. Low lighting helps tell your body it is time to go to sleep. Lots of light confuses your circadian rhythms and messes with the natural hormones that pull you into the “sleepy feeling.”
2. No more screen-time: Set an intention to turn off all screens (computers, cell phones, TVs) by 8 or 9 pm. Science confirms that screens and lighting are also messing with our circadian rhythms.
3. Be in bed by 10 pm: Have you ever noticed that you get a second wind around 10:30 p.m? That’s because the metabolic energy your body normally uses for detoxing you while you sleep gets diverted to mental energy, and we get activated. Our body detoxifies and rejuvenates from 10 pm – 2 am. When we stay up late, we truly do miss out on beauty sleep. If you currently go to bed at midnight, use the fifteen-minute rule. Each night, trying going to bed a mere 15 minutes earlier. Within a few weeks, you will soundly sleep at 10 p.m.
4. Take a warm bath: Taking a scented warm bath can help reset the nervous system towards sleep. Use oils such as frakenscense, myrrh, lavender, honeysuckle, jatamamsi, sandalwood, chamomile, neroli or pure rose for deep slumber. For extra relaxation, add epsom salts (about 2 cups) to a tub of water. It’s great for the skin, detoxing to the tissues and relaxing to the muscles.
5. Light a candle, read a sweet book that makes your heart melt. Say some prayers, and turn in.
6. Unravel the day: There is a powerful meditative practice for unraveling the day. It actually builds your power of assimilation and boosts memory. Once in bed and laying down, mentally go backwards through your day in increments of 30 minutes. Try to simply register what was happening to you during the day without judgement. Notice your feelings, relax and let all events go. End with the point where you woke up in the morning. Gently drift into sleep.