Your life is a reflection of how you sleep and how you sleep is a reflection of your life.”
Dr. Rafael Pelayo
In our body we have two branches of our nervous system, commonly known as ‘the rest and digest’ branch and the ‘fight or flight’ branch.Think of these two branches of your nervous system as the accelerator and brake pedal in a car. Now imagine how your grandparents drive… That’s right, a little touch of the accelerator, then the brake, then the accelerator again, as though the car had been filled with ‘kangaroo petrol’.
1) A digital detox
Try to refrain from phone usage, watching TV, or staring into any other electronic device at least an hour before bed time. All of these devices effect your circadian rhythm which is your natural sleep and wake cycle. We have photoreceptors in our eyes that sense light and dark and signal to the brain the status of the outside world. Helping us to be alert in the morning and sleep at the appropriate time.
2) Bed rules
Try and only use your bed for sex and sleep. This helps remove factors that condition the mind to stay awake.
The 20 minute rule.
3) Your bedroom environment
This tip is fairly self explanatory but try and have a bedroom that is quiet, dark and cool, with a clock that is out of view.
4) Lifestyle habits
The way we breathe has an instantaneous effect on our nervous system. A longer inhalation means excitation of the fight or flight mode of the nervous system a longer exhalation brings the body more into the rest and digest branch.
So take a moment to lie in bed, preferably on your back, with your hands placed on your abdomen and breathe. Feel the air coming into your nostrils, your abdomen expand and exhale longer than your inhalation, feeling your abdomen softly fall. I encourage you to do this for at least 5 minutes and notice the calming effects on your body.
You can even use the breath as an anchor to detach and let go of all the mental projections swirling around in the mind. Whenever the mind wanders, without judgment bring it back to your breath, continuing with a smooth, even and long exhalation.