Sleep is vital to our wellbeing, yet the demands of modern living mean many of us struggle to get enough. There is plenty of research pointing to the consequences of not grabbing enough shut eye, including poor memory and irritability.
The good news is that simple relaxation techniques such as breathing and meditation, as well as many yoga postures, can help us enjoy the seven or eight hours a night recommended at the optimum sleep quota.
Here are some pointers for a better night's sleep:
- Ban TVs and computers from the bedroom, open the window slightly to let some fresh air in, and make sure your bed time environment encourages relaxation.
- Before bed, take a few minutes to lie, or sit down, focusing on your breathing. Start counting to three for every inhale and three with every exhale, and gradually lengthen your count, until you reach seven or eight - or whatever feels comfortable. After five minutes, return to the rhythm of your natural breath and note if you feel more relaxed.
- In yoga, a shoulderstand is one of the best postures to treat insomnia. Beginners may find 'legs up the wall' pose easier. Just lie flat on the floor with your legs against a wall, straight and pointing to the ceiling. Relax. You may find a cushion or bolster supporting your lower back increases your comfort.
- Finally, take a warm bath and put a couple of drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow.