Sleep is a vital part of obtaining good wellbeing. We spend a third of our lives asleep. Despite what many of us believe, it is impossible to be in good health and not have enough quality sleep. Lack of sleep has been said to impact our health as much as, if not equally to; not eating, not drinking nor breathing. It has even been said that we can survive longer without food, than we could without sleep (Everson et al. 1989). This is because; the physical effects of stress on the human body are well documented: sleeping allows our bodies to repair and enables our brains to consolidate and process information. When your mind is not functioning optimally or is plagued by negative thoughts and emotions, eventually your body will suffer the consequences. Common problems that arise due to poor sleep include weakened immune systems and increased mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression.
The recommended amount of sleep for the average adult ranges from 7 hours to 9 and it takes the average human around 14 minutes to fall asleep. A healthy amount of sleep has been thought to have a far higher impact on wellbeing than a 50% increase in disposable income.
If you feel that you are not managing to reach the recommended amount of sleep and you feel like you’ve tried absolutely everything, here are some tips that we are sure that you haven’t tried before!
1.If you can’t get to sleep try to not think about not going to sleep! Now we don’t mean scroll some more on social media, or go downstairs and whip yourself up a lovely fresh coffee. Do simple tasks, such as; think about your day, keep your eyes wide open and blink, listen to some music that soothes you, start knitting, meditating, reading, think about your happy place and visualise your goals. These will all help you to relax and in turn swtich off from the negative thought cycle.
2.Headstands – headstands circulate refreshed blood to our glands and brain, hypothalamus and pituitary, which control all the other glands in our body. It also cleanses and detoxifies the adrenal glands, putting us into a positive state of mind, decreasing the amount of negative thoughts that we have. If you cannot do a headstand – learn. The key to this is strengthening your upper body, do this by carrying out the half-boat pose.
3.Only inhale through your left nostril – some say that in yogic science, the left nostril allows us to access Ida Energy, which represents moon energy. Moon energy slows us down and ensures that we stay as relaxed as possible; it is calming, soothing, passive, female and reflective. So when you cannot sleep due to your brain racing around thinking about anything and everything, and writing these thoughts down on paper hasn’t helped, breathing through our left nostril, activates your parasympathetic response. This will rescue you from your fight-or-flight mode.
4.Curl your toes – so easy yet so effective. This exercise is monotonous, which relaxes both your body and mind. To do this; curl your toes, hold for a few seconds and release. Repeat this until you feel relaxed.
5.Roll your eyes – this will trigger your brain to release melatonin, the natural sleep hormone. To do this; simply close your eyes and roll your eyes downwards then upwards in a slow and relaxing pace.