1. Turn of ALL electronic devices
(Yes, that includes your mobile phone!) Switch off your television, computers and any other mobile devices at least an hour before you go to bed. Turn your mobile phone to silent or even better, switch it off or move it out of your bedroom altogether. Checking emails / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter can cause stress and stimulate your brain by keeping it switched into ‘Doing’ mode. It’s also known that the light some devices emit can interfere with our internal body clocks.
We all know we spend too much time on our devices than is good for us - it might even be worth trying to schedule a regular time or even a whole day where you ‘digitally detox’ - abstain from checking emails / social media, watching TV etc. Notice the effect it has on your mood.
2. Have a foot bath
It’s lovely and relaxing and I find it works better than a warm shower or bath. A shower warms me up too much just before sleep; I prefer to take one several hours before going to bed so my body has plenty of time to cool down. If you do have a warm shower or bath close to bedtime, don’t turn up the water temperature too much and finish with some cooler water.
3. Write it down
Sit down and take some time to observe what is keeping your mind busy. Have a paper and pen handy and write down your worries. Writing something down helps me to organise my thoughts and make sense of what’s going on from a more objective viewpoint. When I have lots on my mind I do that while having my foot bath.
4. Take Child's pose
Take a restorative forward bend like Child’s pose. Child's pose stretches and relaxes the lower back and hips and while in it you can take the opportunity to let any thoughts drop out of the head into the earth. You have written down your worries, you can now let them go!
5. Focus on the exhale ...
Now lie in bed and focus on the breath. Count the in-breath and let the out-breath last 1.5 times as long - for example, count to 4 on the in-breath, then count to 6 on the out-breath...
When you’ve become familiar with that you can let the out-breath last twice as long. The idea is that it is easy breathing; this stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system, the one you need to be able to fall asleep peacefully.
Before you know it you will be drifting away...and still reaping the benefits the next morning when you wake up well-rested. Sleep well dear yogis...
EkhartYoga members - prepare your body and mind for a good night's sleep with 10 days of bedtime yoga with Esther Ekhart. All classes are around 10 - 15 minutes long, mixing Hatha and Restorative yoga to help you unwind before bed. Learn more