Sleep No More
Yes, a lack of sleep can erase many of the healthy habits you live by.
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Everyday we try to feel our best, ready to experiment with all kinds of tricks to move gracefully through life like a swan. Instead, some mornings are less than smooth, when we wake up tired after another restless night with the image of a swan transforming into an ugly duckling.
Yes, a lack of sleep can erase many of the healthy habits you live by, especially in the heart of winter. We know how important it is to sleep well. But, tackling sleep issues without knowing exactly what’s wrong can lead to frustration.
Here are some questions to ask the sleeping beauty inside of you:
- What did I eat and drink last night?
As much as we enjoy dinner with friends after a long and stressful day, a heavy meal full of protein (especially red meat) and alcohol can seriously disturb the quality of sleep. The ideal is to eat a light, well-balanced dinner at least 2 hours before going to bed. If you’ve had one of those nights when your stomach is screaming for something to relieve the acidity, eat a spoon full of honey with 2 drops of essential oil of peppermint. It will open your sinuses, refresh your palate and cool down the aggressive stomach acids.
When it’s time to close your eyes and the only thing you do is replay the events of your day, vacation plans, the leaky pipe that needs to be fixed, and your next dentist appointment, you need a serious mind reset.
- Help! I can’t stop thinking.
When it’s time to close your eyes and the only thing you do is replay the events of your day, vacation plans, the leaky pipe that needs to be fixed, and your next dentist appointment – not necessarily in that order – you need a serious mind reset.
Try some relaxation techniques that include a scan of your entire body to release muscle tension from head to toe. Your mind and body will feel more calm and rested. You can also use the magic of a warm cup of milk with honey and a pinch of cardamom. This ancient Indian practice helps increase the deepness of your relaxation.
- Can that be anxiety?
Many of us bury our emotions deep inside, only to realize that these feelings come back when we try to relax. In these cases, yoga breathing is a great tool.
For 5 minutes before going to bed, do alternate nostril breathing called Nadi Shodhan. Sit comfortably, breath in from your left nostril by pressing your thumb on your right nostril. Switch fingers and use the ring finger of the same hand to press on your left nostril, exhale from your right nostril. Take another breath with your right nostril using the same pattern. Complete 9 rounds. This technique is like spring-cleaning for your mind.
If anxiety creates the feeling of a lump in your throat, you can also take magnesium. A spoonful of magnesium powder in warm water will naturally decrease stress and tension.
If you sleep a good amount of hours but find yourself exhausted in the morning, there’s a chance you’re suffering from postnasal drip (or blockage), which reduces the oxygenation of your body.
- Me? Snoring? Impossible!
Yes, even princesses snore. If you sleep a good amount of hours but find yourself exhausted in the morning, there’s a chance you’re suffering from postnasal drip (or blockage), which reduces the oxygenation of your body.
Try eucalyptus inhalation before going to bed. Place six drops of essential oil of eucalyptus in a bowl of hot water before breathing the steam for 10 minutes. If you continue to snore and you don’t suffer from a cold, ask your physician about a good clinic where they can test the quality of your sleep.
- Is my bedroom an oasis?
If your bedroom is packed with piles of magazines and your phone and iPad charging in the corner, there’s a greater chance your sleep will be disturbed too. Ideally, electronics should be banished from your sleep oasis. Your bedroom should be cool (but not cold) and your bed should feel fresh and inviting.
Use color therapy by creating soft lighting with orange lampshades. Our body reacts to the colors of nature and we fall asleep more easily with a sunset color palette. You can also use a blue color to wake up more calmly and naturally. Following the same theme that nature knows best, the ideal time for sleep is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Appeal to all of your senses to create a relaxing atmosphere and your own secret oasis for great sleep.
Anne-Sophie is a French born adventurer who grew up skiing, dancing and cooking. She started making her own beauty products at age 17 and since then has been passionate about health, beauty and nature. She lives in New York City where she practices yoga and meditation and enjoys the eclectic restaurant scene of the city. As a teacher she is very curious and loves learning new skills.