Once the day is over it’s time to rest, reset, and integrate. However, it’s all too easy to lie in bed, reliving the day’s events, conversations, and activities, plagued by thoughts of what if, or if only. And, even when you do fall asleep right away, you might wake up several times throughout the night and then struggle to get back to sleep.
Here are five simple tips that can help you fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
1. Explore a Gratitude Practice
Whether through journaling or simply a quiet meditation, gratitude is proving to be one of the best-kept secrets for letting go of what might have been and accepting what is. Gratitude is a practice of telling the truth about what happened throughout the day, enabling you to see yourself clearly and accept yourself completely. Then you can drift to a peaceful night’s sleep.
2. Keep Evening Meal Small Simple
Often in Western culture, the largest meal is taken in the evening, giving our bodies the job of digestion late into the night when the digestive fire is dying out. Instead, try to eat your largest meal in the afternoon (when the digestive fire is the strongest), and have a smaller, lighter, simpler meal in the evening. Also, try not to eat within a few hours of bedtime.
3. Single Nostril Breathing
Our bodies naturally cycle between an active left nostril (parasympathetic nervous system) and right nostril (sympathetic nervous system). If you’re trying to sleep while your right nostril is active, it’s going to be hard to settle. You can wait for the cycle to naturally turn over, or you can give it a helping hand—literally. Gently block your right nostril with your thumb and forefinger and breathe in and out exclusively from the left nostril. This will activate the right hemisphere of your brain, and cue your body into the rest cycle.
4. Forward Folds and Twists
Yoga postures impact the nervous system as well as the muscles and tissues of our bodies. While backbends and standing postures invigorate, forward folds and twists soothe and calm the body. Practice some simple postures in the evening like a forward fold over straight legs or butterfly posture (a forward fold with the heels of the feet touching). Reclining twists are also restorative and restful.
5. Engage in Evening Rituals
Tell the body and mind that you’re winding down by repeating an evening ritual each night. In this ritual, you could include the ideas here—gratitude journaling, left nostril breathing, forward folds and twists—or some of your own favorites. Consider including the evening meditation included with this article. The more you repeat this ritual before bedtime, the more likely the body and mind will be ready to sleep when you are.
Listen to Keri’s P.M. Meditation audio
Download Evening Meditation MP3 audio file
Without a good night’s sleep, it’s hard to feel motivated and inspired each day. This means instead of starting the day on fresh energy, we tap our reserves, taxing our immune system and draining our energy levels. With just these few tips, however, you can start switching from a restless night to a rejuvenating one.