For thousands of years meditation has been used to reduce stress, improve sleep, enhance productivity, creativity and research shows that as little as eight weeks of regular meditation can create structural changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, stress and empathy.
As little as a few minutes a day can reduce stress, relax the nervous system and slow the heart rate, however 25 to 30 minutes is ideal according to research.
There are few apps available, I personally use Insight Timer and recommend it to all of my clients and use it during the meditation at the end of my yoga classes.
You can also focus on taking a deep breath so your stomach and chest rise as you inhale and as you exhale you will feel your shoulders relax. During stressful times taking 5 deep breaths can help to relax your body and reduce stress.
Reducing stress, regulates emotions, increases mindfulness, decreases stress symptoms and improves sleep.
Spend time in nature
Also referred to as “grounding” or “Earthing” this practice involves walking barefoot for 20 minutes per day all year round. The Earth emits natural electrical charges that promote physiological changes including better sleep, improved immune response, reduced pain, enhanced wound healing and prevention and treatment of autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammation.
Ensuring your room is completely dark will improve sleep quality which is an important time for the body to repair cells, process memories, and releases toxins.
Start by turning your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary:
- Darkness impacts the circadian rhythm, the body’s biological clock that regulates the sleep/wake cycle
- Invest in blackout curtains
- Install low wattage light bulbs or invest in a salt lamp
- Unplug electronics that emit LEDs
- Invest in earplugs or an eye mask
- Listen to white noise, relaxing music, nature sounds or a guided meditation.
No electronic use at least two hours prior to bed. The blue light emitted has been shown to disrupt sleep. Switch devices to a dim light in the evenings. Studies show that exposure to electric light before bedtime suppresses melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep.
Passion flower has a mild sedative effect and supports the body when restless, anxious, irritable and has difficulty falling asleep. Insomnia has also found to be reduced when used in combination with valerian.
Spraying a lavender essential on your pillow or applying a lavender roll-on oil to your skin is relaxing, soothing and has been found to reduce insomnia and improve sleep quality.
Yoga, meditation and essential oils will help ease anxiety, insomnia and support you to have your best night sleep.
Kim is a Naturopath, Reiki Practitioner, Australian Bush Flower Essence Practitioner and also teaches are a variety of Yoga classes at Embrace Life. Contact 3491 6533 to experience a relaxing yoga class with Kim. Beginners welcome.
- Bone, K. (2003) A Clinical Guide to Blending Liquid Herbs, Churchill Livingstone, St. Louis, Missouri.