So you didn't sleep well...
Didn't sleep well? Here's some advice about what you can do during the day to sleep better tonight.
Although sleep hygiene is especially important at night, you can support healthy sleep throughout the day with activities that promote stress relief, align the circadian rhythm, and make it easier for you to wind down at night.
1. Practicing Yoga in the Morning
Morning yoga offers an energizing activity to start your day. It can help you feel more balanced throughout the day, and make it easier to manage stress, as you're starting your day with a relaxing activity.
Physical activity throughout the day helps properly align your circadian rhythm. It tells your body that it's daytime and time to be awake. Yoga poses that are stimulating and lightly challenging are a good choice for physical activity. Yoga in the morning is especially effective in supporting a healthy circadian rhythm when combined with exposure to bright light, as this is another powerful environmental cue for daytime and alertness.
2. Meditation Throughout the Day
Stress makes it difficult to get healthy sleep. In fact, between 50 to 70 million American adults chronically suffer from a sleep disorder and about 85 percent of U.S. employees say they lose sleep due to work related stress.
Meditation can alleviate stress throughout the day, making it easier for you to relax and avoid letting stress keep you up at night. Mindfulness meditation is known to fight insomnia and reduce daytime fatigue and depression symptoms.
3. Avoiding Triggers in the Evening
Yoga and meditation throughout the day can support healthy sleep, but the actions you avoid can be just as important to sleep. Starting in the late afternoon, it's important to avoid activities that can ramp up alertness and cause stress. Alcohol, caffeine, heavy meals, and excessive sugar can be a problem for sleep, particularly when consumed in the evening or late at night.
Exercise can be too stimulating, and it's a good idea to avoid screens late in the evening.
Exposure to the light emitted from screens can be confusing for your circadian rhythm, telling your brain it's daytime and time to be alert when it's nighttime and time to wind down. Screens should be avoided at least an hour before bed.
4. Relaxing Activities in the Evening
As you prepare for bed, relaxing activities can help you physically and mentally get ready to sleep. An evening yoga routine combined with meditation and breathing exercises can be particularly effective in promoting relaxation, relieving stress and anxiety before bed. With a regular evening yoga routine, you can trigger the relaxation response, which is associated with improved sleep and energy, slowed brain wave patterns and heart rate, lower blood pressure, and decreased muscle tension.
In your evening yoga routine, focus on poses that are particularly relaxing, comforting, or allow you to stretch and improve circulation. Consider how you can integrate meditation and breathing exercises into your evening yoga.
For example, in the corpse pose, you can practice mindful breathing meditation as you lay down comfortably in bed. As you lay down in the corpse pose, you can use the 4-7-8 method of mindful breathing. In this exercise, you'll inhale through your nose for a four count, hold your breath for a count of seven, then exhale through your mouth for a count of eight.