Having trouble sleeping almost every night can be a frustrating experience. You may find yourself moving around in bed a lot but can’t fall asleep. Or even if you sleep a brief while, a little noise can quickly wake you up. As a result, you have low-quality rest at night, which leaves you tired and irritated the next day.
Recurring sleeping problems might point out more serious issues like insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome (RLS), narcolepsy, or maybe just temporary disruptions like jet lag. If you have regular sleeping issues, it is best to seek medical advice. However, not every person having difficulty falling asleep should be labeled with sleeping disorders.
We all experience sleep problems from time to time. It usually occurs due to stress, overthinking, illness, dietary changes, or other temporary disruptions to regular routines like traveling or moving houses. When you face difficulties falling asleep occasionally, instead of forcing yourself to sleep, you can prepare your body and mind to have a well rest before going to bed. Here is a simple routine built on a bedtime yoga/meditation session that I follow when I can’t sleep, which helps me a lot to quickly relax and close my eyes naturally to get an uninterrupted rest:
Step 1: Get the Room Ready To Unwind
A relaxing environment is crucial to get a good night’s sleep: Room temperature, lighting, and the right background music to help you fall asleep quickly. Here you can find my favorite before-bed playlist.
Room temperature between 60 to 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 to 22.0 degrees Celsius) should be suitable for most sleepers. Lighting best to keep dimmed with a candle-lit during the bedtime yoga/meditation session, and then completely turn off while sleeping. You can also use soothing fragrances with certain scents like lavender essential oil for better sleep hygiene and peppermint to improve sleep quality.
And finally, roll your mat out, wear your pajamas(don’t worry, you won’t perspire a drop), and make sure you have completed all other things you need to do before going to bed.
So, once the session ended, you should straight away go to bed and put your head on the pillow. Otherwise, you might bounce back quickly to the alert states of mind.
Step 2: Yin Yoga for 20 Minutes
First, let’s ease the tension in the body with short 20 minutes of Yin yoga practice. Yin is a meditative and slow-paced type of yoga that calms you down and moves you to a deep relaxation state. Yin yoga has been found helpful to cope with occasional sleep disturbances, and in some cases, even with insomnia.
This 20 minutes Yin sequence with a great breathing exercise is my safe choice most of the nights!
*After Yin, if you are already super sleepy, skip the meditation and head to bed. In the end, the whole purpose is to make you fall asleep! But sometimes, easing the tension in the body is not enough because your mind might still have racing thoughts. That’s where meditation comes into play.
Step 3: Mindfulness Meditation for 15 Minutes
Overthinking or racing thoughts might hold you back from entering into the sleep state of mind, Delta. That’s why it is essential to empty the mind first so that you won’t be dealing with all those thoughts popping in your head when trying to sleep.
So find a comfortable seating position, either crossed-legged or stretch your legs out, let your hands fall wherever feel most natural to you, and gently close your eyes. Then try to focus on the outside world instead of your inner noise.
The first 2–5 minutes might be challenging: All the suppressed worries and anxiety usually come to the surface quite heavily in the beginning. But the point is to accept the noise as part of the process. Just observe yourself through the lens of a third person and non judgementally listen to your flowing thoughts. Then, whenever a worry comes up, own it, validate it, and let it flow out and dissolve on its own.
After a couple of minutes, you will realize no new thoughts are popping in, and your mind is much quieter. Around a total of 15 minutes should be enough to reach some silence but give yourself as much time as you need because that depends on the practitioner level. If you are new to meditation, quieting your mind will take much longer than those who have been meditating for years.
Step 4: Final Resting Position
And here we are! You have eased the tension in your body with Yin yoga and calmed your mind with Mindfulness meditation. Lie down on your mat, listen to the relaxing before-bed playlist a while more, and when you are ready, blow the candle off, turn off the music, and go right away to the bed for a good night’s sleep.
You can also consider improving your daily habits like getting regular exercise, avoiding nicotine altogether, staying away from caffeine, alcohol, and heavy meals late in the day.
I hope this simple routine will help you to fall asleep quickly and get quality rest. I wish you Sweet Dreams!