Wellington, New Zealand

Sleep

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Written by Hopestore

When it comes to resting and repairing our bodies, the time we are asleep is probably more important than the time we are awake.

 

It is also a time to dream and let our subconscious mind take over and leave our conscious mind behind. But many of us don’t sleep well, including me. My mother bought me a t-shirt when I was a teenager with an image of Garfield saying “I don’t do mornings”. In my younger years I managed to feel awake at about 11am when I would finally join the world. And don’t talk to me or I would pick a fight! My sleep issues come from my jaw and as my doctor said 80% of us have issues with our jaw but only 20% know about it. When we grind our teeth at night our bodies don’t relax and our Sympathetic Nervous System stays switched on, which means we are always in the fight or flight mode.

 

Another reason for not sleeping well can come from what we eat in the evening before bed-time. It is important to pay attention to what you put in your body a few hours before going to bed. If you notice that something keeps you awake or wakes you up (like alcohol) then try avoiding it and see if you sleep better. When your blood sugar level fluctuates because of food or alcohol consumed before bed, this can also be waking you up and disturbing your sleep.

 

Technology and screens are another culprit.  We all know that we should shut our screens off at least 1 hour before bed, but even just half an hour is challenging. I manage this with a 20-30 minutes session of Qigong or Pilates on the matt. There are heaps of videos online. You only need to memorise a few movements to do before bed to activate your Parasympathetic Nervous System so you can rest and repair. You can also follow my Tai Chi 5 minutes a day beginners series which is free on YouTube.

 

And off course stress from work or at home can keep you up or wake you up during the night. This is another reason why a bit of time before bed stretching, doing Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi or Qigong is very beneficial for a good night’s sleep. You can also keep a pen and pad next to your bed to write down your thoughts and to do’s for the next day so that you can release them and go to sleep.

 

My favorite part of sleeping is the dreaming part. I have a bunker full of notebooks of my dreams. We usually dream towards the end of the night and it is important not to miss this part of the night if your schedule permits.  If you write down your dreams first thing in the morning when you wake up, you will gain insight into how you are feeling about the things going on in your life.

 

What is important is that you get real about your sleep. How much are you sleeping? It is recommended to sleep 8 hours a day to prevent diseases and repair your body. Are there ways that you can sleep more or better? Reflect on your self-care habits surrounding sleep. What ritual before bed would you find nourishing to help you feel relaxed and ready for sleep.  Also consider what you do upon waking. Is it gentle and does it ease you into your day or do you just jump up and hit the ground running?

 

Sleep well!

Leia

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