What happens when you can`t sleep for a long time?
This is call insomnia, it`s the incapacity to sleep, or to remain asleep long enough to feel rested. It`s as simple as that.
A disorder that is usually the symptom of another problem, and to treat it`s necessary to detect the cause and act on the origin.
It can be due to changes in your working time table, stress, depression, anxiety, hormonal changes, even an inadequate diet can deprive you from sleep, alcohol, coffee, medicine and other stimulants.
The lack of stable time tables for getting up and going to bed, and on many occasions physical exertion and muscular tensión prevent us from sleeping properless.
The importance of a good night’s sleep
Sleep is not only for resting…it is a reorganization of what has happened in the brain during the day. While you sleep you eliminate everything you don’t need, and you keep everything you do need.
The quality of your sleep is vital for physical and psychological balance.
Ideally you should sleep between 7 to 9 hours to function correctly…
During sleep you retreat from the exterior to focus your biologic activity on the construction process of of your cells and tissues, something vital.
While you are sleeping your memory is strengthened, you form antibodies, you even eliminate toxins in your brain.
Sleeping properly is good on a physical level, basically its the elixir of life…!
And Yoga, what does it have to do with all of this?
Well… a lot! practicing yoga can help you on many different levels:
Physically: you will let go of any accumulated muscular tension.
You will learn how to relax your whole body, from your very core.
Mentally: you will learn to let your thoughts flow and to focus your attention on whatever you want in a very simple way (lots of people suffer from insomnia because they can’t stop thinking).
Yoga can also increase your melatonin levels (melatonin is the hormone that helps to regulate sleep).
You will learn specific breathing exercises that give you more oxygen so you can regenerate the cells of your body.
Viparita Karani, forward bending your body, progressive muscular relaxation activities all of this to achieve deep physical and mental relaxation.
Practicing yoga increases your melatonin levels, the hormone that regulates sleep.
You can learn specific breathing exercises to increase oxygen levels and regenerate your body`s cells. Anuloma Viloma is great, it helps you balance the two brain hemispheres.
You can also practice, a simple conscious breathing paying special attention on your exhalation, for example, inhale during three seconds and exhale for another three, little by Little you can start exhaling for six seconds, and then eight if you can… always smooth and fluid without forcing your breathing.
With pranayama and meditation exercises you will learn to control the negatives thoughts, and anxiety before going to bed.
Remember that regular practice is very important, because is the long term it helps you achieve the results you want.
The things that you do during the day are very important.
Try to establish regular time tables to go to bed and to get up.
Try to keep your bed and your bedroom clean and well ventilated.
Practice Yoga regularly, at anytime.
Watch what you eat and drink after midday, avoid alcohol, caffeine, etc…
Try to have dinner at least two hours before going to bed.
Go for a walk, if it can be in a quiet place even better. Walk in a conscious way, focus on each step, on what your watching without judging. Transform your walk into a meditation.
I know it`s difficult but try to avoid TV and computer after dinner.
And before going to bed
Use this time to take a warm shower, or a foot bath which is great. Let me explain: put your feet in a basin with warm salty water ( you can add some drops of Lavender essential oil), take your time, breathe, it should be something relaxing, rinse your feet with clean wáter and slowly dry them. This basic hygiene technique is a potent method to relax your thoughts and let go of negativity and tensions.
You can do some restoring Yoga next to or on the bed, or practice some breathing exercises and some minutes of meditation. MMMMmmm I´m feeling sleepy just by thinking about it…
Essential Oils too.
Obviously. Some Essential Oils have soothing and stabilizing properties, that will help you sleep better, even if you have bruxism ( if you grind your teeth or put a lot of pressure on your jaw unconsciously while you sleep ). Yoga and Essential Oils will help you for sure.
Young Living´s Peace and Calming mix, is specific for bruxism. RutaVala from the same brand it´s another mix that can help you adapt to tensions and it will balance you, it´s specific for insomnia and at the same time it helps with depression.
Lavender as always, will help you relax. Use it as a perfume or on the pillow.
Make a good cocktail with all of this and Sweet Dreams!!
Photo: Tomás Cerón