Natural Remedies For a Blissful Night's Sleep
For the past month, my sleep has been erratic and inconsistent. I have spent countless nights fidgeting, starring at the ceiling, just contemplating the state of the world. Asking all the questions: When will this be over? Should I be wearing a mask to walk the dogs? Is the older woman that lives next door ok? How’s my family in Chicago? Will Bennd survive? Did I have enough Vitamin C today? What activity will I do with my kids tomorrow? Should I start doing Instagram live? Are they seeping COVID-19 into our air and water supply? What fucking day is it again? Yep. I said it. There you have it. Sound all too familiar?
Let me tell you, little sleep does aging no favors. I want to come out of this quarantine looking refreshed, rejuvenated and rested. Ok, and maybe a few years younger. We have been gifted this quiet time to rest, reflect, and come out the other side as better humans. Well, it’s hard to be an awesome human when you are so irritated by a lack of sleep. Did you know that when you don’t get enough sleep, you eat an average of 500 more calories per day? So now, not only do I look haggard, I’m gaining weight. Awesome and no thank you. So what am I doing to shift my pattern?
Well, naturally I turn to Ayurveda first. In Ayurveda, sleep is one of the three pillars of health, next to food and sex. Each of these pillars plays a vital role in creating a foundation for optimal health. Sleep is our opportunity to heal and repair the damage we cause while awake. If we don’t get enough sleep, it makes it harder for us to repair our bodies, which then leads to the body breaking down. So here are three Ayurvedic tips that I have been implementing into my nighttime routine and guess what? There working!
Ayurvedic adaptogen teas are a great way to wind down for the evening. They don’t leave you dehydrated or spike your sugar levels like alcohol does, which can leave you restless throughout the night. My favorite Ayurvedic herb to reduce stress, build immunity, and calm the mind is Ashwagandha. I have been taking this herb daily on and off for a couple of years now. One thing is for sure, I have seen a drastic change in how it affects my anxiety levels. Lately, I have been using it to make this nighttime tea. I make it 1-hour before bedtime to assure myself a good nights sleep.
- 1 cup of your favorite milk steamed and whisked
- ½ teaspoon of Ashwagandha
- ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of organic vanilla extract (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of raw organic buckwheat honey
- 2 small drops of DoTerra Lavender essential oil (only use medical grade oil)
Evening Yoga and Meditation
I am a morning yogi but I am not a morning person. Ass backward, right? I enjoy morning yoga and meditation to get me going, stretch out the kinks and set my intentions for the day. This morning was beautiful out, especially after all this rain we've had here in Southern California. Doing my meditation out in the sun was the best thing I did for myself all day. When realized this whole non-sleeping thing was starting to become an issue, I recalled how I felt when I would take the occasional evening yoga class. I always slept so well those nights. So it only made sense to change it up and work this into my evening routine. Here’s the sequence I follow:
Supine Spinal Twist- This pose helps release stress as it stretches the back and spine. It assist your digestion by stimulating the kidneys, intestines, liver, and spleen.
Supported Child’s pose- This restful pose soothes the central nervous system, relaxes the brain, and helps relieve stress and fatigue. Try taking a pillow or bolster and sit on one end, placing your thighs on both sides and sit bones against your heals, gently fold over the pillow with your head to either side, relax, let go of any tension and release your body weight into the pillow.
Reclined Bound Angle Pose- This classic restorative pose also calms the nervous system, it improves blood circulation and stimulates the heart. It can also help relieve symptoms of stress, insomnia, and mild depression.
Legs Up The Wall- This relaxing inversion pose helps with many things including anxiety, stress, insomnia, menstrual cramps, menopause, improves circulation and more! It basically reverses the usual activities we do all day like standing, walking, and sitting.
After doing this sequence of yoga poses, I follow it with either a session of Moon Activating Breath or the Miki Ash- Anxiety Relief Meditation on The How App.
Moon Activating Breath- This deeply relaxing breathwork sequence activates the left side of your body, which correlates with your lunar energy and your parasympathetic nervous system response.
- Cover and close your right nostril with your right thumb
- Breathe in through your left nostril, hold it at the top
- Release your right nostril while covering your left nostril with your right index finger
- Breathe out through your right nostril
Repeat this cycle nine times, extending and retaining each breath as long as you comfortably can. Try to make your exhalation is double the length of your inhalation.
Foot Oil Massage
The feet hold many energy points that resonate with almost every part of your body. Which is why it’s known to stimulate all your organs and tissues. Massaging them before bedtime can improve your blood circulation, bring you into a state of deep relaxation, and help improve your quality of sleep. You can use a few different oils like coconut, sesame or mustard oil. Mustard oil generates heat in the body, due to its spicy nature, and therefore should be avoided in the summertime. Coconut is my preferred oil of choice, along with my essential oils lavender and cedarwood. Both of which help ease the mind and promote peaceful nights sleep.
- Place a towel under your feet
- Mix a teaspoon of coconut oil with a couple drops of lavender and cedarwood for each foot
- Starting with your right foot, rub oil on the top and bottom of the foot, don’t forget the ankles and toes
- Massage the sole of the foot using circular motions and firm strokes
- Beginning with your big toe, sandwich it in between your forefinger and thumb applying pressure to the base of the toenail
- Start massaging from the base of the toe to the toe tip. Repeat on each toe.
- Massage the top of the foot, starting in the middle of the foot at the base of the ankle, moving upwards and outwards towards the toes.
- Repeat on the left foot
There are some days, especially lately, you’ll find me doing all of the above. It’s been a great way to reconnect with my body and reflect on the day. We are all experiencing such a rollercoaster of emotions on the day to day right now, and sometimes you just have to pull out all the tools to survive the ride. So tonight, put on the playlist below, make yourself some tea, do some yoga, and massage those feet to help you fall into the most blissful slumber you’ll ever have!