Well we’ve learned how lack of sleep can negatively impact our health and happiness in my September post: Good Morning! How’d You Sleep Last Night? There I promised to publish sleep techniques in my next Newsletter but I just can’t wait! People continue to present with this trouble of insomnia. So here we go. Here are 14 time-tested (and personally tested) techniques to help you get to sleep and stay there the whole night through.
1. Herbs & Herbal Teas
- California Poppy
- Kava Kava
These are great herbs/teas for insomnia due to restlessness and anxiety and will help improve the quality of your sleep as well as help you fall asleep. It is possible that with time your body will get used to these herbs so you might consider switching it up every few weeks. For Tea: Add NO SUGAR! Add only a bit of honey or stevia for sweetness if needed. For Herbs (pill form): There are dosage directions on the bottles. Both can be found in local health food stores.
2. A Warm Bath
A warm bath before bed does wonders for calming the mind and body. Drop a few dabs of Lavender essential oil or lavender epsom salts in the water to enhance the effect. Soak yourself for at least 30 minutes while listening to some of the music below.
3. Lullabies for Adults
I have provided you with days worth of Music to Sleep by! Click on one of the images below and see which sound is most pleasing to you when you want to visit dreamland.
Try listening to one of these progressive body relaxation meditations when you’re ready to sleep. If this voice or method is not calming for you please let me know and I will find another meditation tape for you or make you one myself.
Use 100% Pure Essential Oils (Aura Cacia is a brand with a reasonable price point and can be found at a local health food store) of:
- Roman Chamomile
- Ylang Ylang
Methods for use:
- Apply oil topically. Rub on hands, neck, chest, feet.
- Diffuse Oils with a diffuser . Here is a favorite Diffuser (about $40.00)
- Place a few drops of oil on a wet, warm face cloth and rest it on your forehead.
- Put some essential oil in a spritz bottle along with witch hazel and spritz around your bedroom and on your pillow just before bedtime.
In addition to Essential Oils you can also try lighting incense with the aromas listed above.
I do an 90 minute class on Soothing Yoga Poses to help you fall asleep but here are a few to get you started. You can do these in your jammies and then just collapse right into bed. If your mattress is firm enough you can even do these in your bed! If you have an eye pillow (lavender scented is nice!) you can use it while you relax in the last 3 poses.
7. Breath Work
Practice either one of these breathing techniques just prior to bed time.
Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Sodhana)
Extended Exhale Breath
Lengthening your exhale slows the heart rate and triggers the relaxation response.
- Sit in a comfortable position either in a chair or on a mat, floor or cushion with spine erect and head in line with the spine.
- Relax your shoulders, arms and hands.
- Close your mouth and inhale through your nose for a count of 4.
- Hold your breath for 7 counts.
- Exhale through your mouth for 8 counts. It can be soothing to exhale with sound making an ocean sound or ‘Darth Vader’ sound from the back of your throat.
- Repeat the sequence 3 times.
Crystals each have their own frequencies and properties and can serve to assist us in our search for health. The 3 below are particularly helpful in promoting sleep. You can put them under your pillow, hold them in your hands and see what they tell you, wear them in a pj pocket, put them on your 3rd eye (between eyebrows to middle of forehead) while you lie on your back. You can order crystals from me if you don’t have a supplier.
Reiki assists the body in moving back to balance by inducing the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS). This system signals to the body that everything is ok, that there is no need to be in a panic, or a flight or fright state which is what a lot of us live in. The PNS reduces cortisol (the stress hormone) allowing the body to relax, release and let go of all tension. Conditioning the body with a few (3-6) Reiki Sessions to this more relaxed state allows a deep and restful sleep to occur.
Obtain at a health food store and follow directions on the bottle.
- Vitamin B12
Fill your sleep space with these rest promoting plants:
- Aloe Vera
- Snake Plant
- English Ivy
- Peace Lily
- Spider Plant
12. Homeopathic Remedies
These remedies can be purchased at a local health food store and will have directions for dosage on the bottle. If you would like to work with these remedies more seriously you could consider seeing a Homeopath. I will happily recommend one to you if this a a route that calls to you.
- Ambra grisea
- Coffea cruda
- Daphne indica
- Bach Flower Remedies Rescue (in melts, drops or spray)
Place firm pressure with 2-3 fingers on either one or both of the spots listed below. 2-3 minutes each.
- Point K6 – ‘Joyful Sleep’
Directly below the inside of the anklebone in the indentation.
- Point B62 – ‘Calm Sleep’
Directly below the outer anklebone in first indentation.
Come up with a variety of relaxing bedtime rituals to help you unwind before sleep. For example:
- Drink warm milk (organic of course)
- Read a book or magazine by a gentle light
- Take a warm bath
- Listen to soft music
Try performing one or a combination of these rituals each night before bedtime or find your own thing. Do the same activity(ies) each night before bed so that your brain and body will begin to associate that/those activity(ies) with winding down and going to sleep.
Cautions/Suggestions on Applications
In order to determine the efficacy of each method I recommend trying just one of these techniques at a time for a period of 2 weeks each. Once that is done you can combine 1 or 2 of your favorites to quicken and deepen your sleep.
Also before you implement any of these Sleep Techniques make sure you are following these Common Sense Rules:
- No caffeine after 2:00 pm (you know what has caffeine right? Coffee, tea, chocolate, soda, energy drinks, ice cream, etc.)
- No sugar after 2:00 pm
- Try to shut down your computer and other electronic devices at least 2 hours prior to bed time
- Shut all electronic devices off and leave them outside of your sleep area. That includes your phone!
- Turn any digital clocks away from you and/or cover them with a cloth. (reduce EMFs)
- No TV in the bedroom.
- Get physical exercise during the day, at least 3 hours prior to bedtime.
- Ween yourself off of sedatives/sleeping pills if you are using them. They have side effects just as serious as insomnia!
- Have a comfy mattress and pillows.
- Shut off/block light.
- Insure quiet in your sleep area and if this is not possible use a white noise machine or just pop in some ear plugs or ear-buds with beautiful, sleepy-time music like this: Marconi Union-Weightless.
Lisa Hassett, Reiki Therapist, Life Coach, CYT
Healing For Body, Mind & Spirit
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Reiki of Greater Boston
Healing for Body, Mind & Spirit
160 School Street, Suite 1-1
Waltham, MA 02451