We believe that a great night’s sleep is the first step to having an amazing day. Sleep is also essential for maintaining optimal health and well-being. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults between the ages of 18 to 64 need an average of 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. That task, alone, might seem exhausting. 

With the help of Stearns & Foster and Sweatlex, we wanted to share some tips on how to relax your body and calm your nervous system to get you the rest you need. 

Stretch Your Way to Better Sleep 

Yoga is a stress-relieving form of exercise that has been shown to promote relaxation in the mind and body. Try these poses to get yourself started:

Forward Fold (Uttanasana) 

Inhale deeply and extend your arms up over your head. Then gently exhale as you fold over, bringing your hands to the floor. Cycle through at least five full, deep breaths. This posture helps relieve stress and mild depression, it also aids in digestion and anxiety.

Extended Puppy Pose

This pose helps deliver fresh blood to the heart. Massage your forehead on your mat to stimulate the pituitary gland and help regulate your hormones.

If you want to expand your knowledge of yoga and its relaxation benefits, join our Instagram live on May 24th with Allison Rohrer. She is the owner of SweatLex, a barre & yoga studio located in Lexington, Kentucky. We will be going live with a gentle yoga flow full of poses to help calm your nervous system and clear your mind in preparation for better sleep. We will start in childs pose and flow through postures that help relax your mind and body, ending in a restorative pose to get you ready for a good night sleep.

Focus on Deep Breathing

Most of us are familiar with the method of counting sheep to help us fall asleep, but what happens when the tried and true method doesn’t work? Centering your focus through a controlled breathing practice is also a way to promote relaxation and help us ease into sleep. By activating your parasympathetic nervous system, you can help your body release stress. 

 Alternate Nostril Breathing 

Breathing in through your left nostril can help lower your heart rate, relax your mind and reduce anxiety. Start by placing your thumb over your right nostril and then breathing in through your left nostril a long slow breath… release the thumb from your right nostril as you exhale a long slow exhale. Repeat this several times until you start to feel your body relax.  A few benefits of alternate nostril breathing are, improves cardiovascular function and lowers stress levels.

Try a Nighttime Tea 

Brew yourself a natural remedy that could help you sleep! There are a variety of teas that have shown to boost relaxation and act as a sleep aid. However, different teas will not have the same effect on everyone. So, we suggest trying a few if the first attempt does not work. Teas that are rich in chamomile or lavender have been shown to work well as nighttime teas. Chamomile is rich in antioxidants that can produce a calming effect in the body, and lavender is proven to offer many health benefits, like muscle relaxation. Just be sure to check the caffeine contents of the tea you are making before bed! 

No Screens Before Sleep

Checking your phone constantly before bed can inhibit you from falling asleep and can disrupt your normal sleep schedule. According to the Cleveland Clinic, using technology before bed keeps us alert because our minds are trained to receive entertainment and information from our devices. The blue light from our screens suppresses the release of melatonin, which is the hormone responsible for controlling your sleep cycle.

If you still want a pre-sleep activity, try reading a book! You are still engaging your mind, but in a way that allows you to disconnect from your technology. 

Fill the Air with Relaxing Scents

Blanket your space with soothing smells that allow you to breathe in an amazing night’s sleep. Choose from a variety of delivery methods to best meet your needs, we suggest trying all of them to find the right fit! A natural pillow spray with essential oils can bring the calming scents to your sleep time routine. By adding a few drops of your favorite oil to a carrier oil like almond or castor oil and place it on your neck and wrists. Or add an aromatherapy diffuser to your space! Lavender, valerian and bergamot are all scents that can help you drift off. If you want to create a unique scent, mix them into the perfect sleepy concoction for your space. 

Don’t forget to join us during our Instagram Live event on May 24th at 8 p.m.! You can also share your sleep-time tips with us in the comments below.