Sleep is vital to our existence. It allows the body to rebalance our hormones and recharge mentally as well as physically. When you don’t get an adequate amount of sleep, scary things can happen, like a lack of focus, a weakened immune system, and susceptibility to stress.
When you suffer from insomnia, not only do you suffer from the immediate effects of not getting enough sleep, the frustration can also affect your mood. If sleep aids are not on your list of cures for insomnia, Sleep Guru and author of Breathe Better, Sleep Better, Anandi, has a few holistic hacks that will help fix your sleeplessness.
Put Your Feet Up
Putting your feet up isn’t just a comfortable way to relax, according to Anandi. Raising your legs against a wall has a “heavenly rejuvenating power and will bring you back to Earth after all that running and rushing.”
Getting your feet in the air and legs against the wall might sound a little too fun to be an effective relaxation tool, but it’s a pose commonly used in yoga because it can help everything “calm down, including the mind and the nervous system.” Known as Viparita Karani by yogis, this pose is commonly said to improve blood circulation, boost the lymphatic system, and be stress and anxiety relieving. Anandi recommends including 10 minutes of this in your bedtime practice.
Turn the Lights Down
As Anandi points out, “the body’s sleep hormones respond to light and dark.” So, adjusting how much artificial light you’re exposed to can help you avoid disrupting your body’s internal clock, otherwise known as the circadian rhythm. “As the light goes down and the evening draws in the darkness, the body’s serotonin levels rise and melatonin is released to start the natural sleep cycle.”
Although you don’t have to completely “unplug”, dimming bright lights in your home and limiting how much screen time you get in the evening can help your body better prepare itself for sleep.
Taking more notice of how you breath is a huge part of readying your mind and body for sleep. Anandi says, “the moment you start taking longer deeper breaths, the heart rate comes down, the mind settles, and you are more likely to fall asleep.”
Taking more meditative breaths by breathing deeply into your diaphragm helps to calm you. If you find it hard to be still and focus on your breathing with the lights on, Anandi advises to practice your meditative breathing “for 15 minutes when you turn the light out” to avoid distractions.