I Improved My Sleep With These 3 Simple Habits
It only takes 30 minutes
Imagine this: after getting exhausted from work, you came to get some sleep. But guess what?
Your mind starts recalling the entire day’s events or your worries in a loop.
Have you ever experienced this?
In this stressful job environment, falling asleep right away is a real gift.
Most of us do know the importance of sleep, but sadly, things are not working as we desire. We just can’t stop overthinking.
What if I tell you about 3 simple habits for better sleep, and you can complete them within 30 minutes?
Sounds good? Read on…
Before we dive into the habits, it’s important to understand how these repetitive thoughts keep us awake.
“There are times in the day that cortisol is very low and times when it goes up quite high,”
— John Marshall, MD, PhD
Cortisol, commonly known as the stress hormone, is responsible for the fight-or-flight response. But what you may not know is that it also signals our body when it’s time to wake up.
Your body has two important hormones: melatonin, which helps you sleep and stay asleep, and cortisol, which wakes you up and keeps you alert.
Normally, cortisol levels should be lower at night and higher in the morning, helping you get out of bed. Meanwhile, melatonin increases at night and decreases in the morning.
A lower cortisol level and an increase in melatonin help you fall asleep, but when cortisol rises at night, you’ll face difficulties in sleeping.
A study found that people with repetitive thoughts had higher cortisol levels by the end of the day than at the beginning.
So, it's clear that if you don’t control your thoughts at night, cortisol levels will increase, thus impacting your sleep.
We know that walking offers enormous health benefits, but we often don’t realize that it also helps clear our minds.
I’ve been walking for 10 minutes after my dinner for more than 2 years, and what I can confidently say to you is that walking has helped me reduce my negative thoughts.
On many days in the past, my thoughts and worries kept me awake after laying in bed for 2 to 3 hours.
Nowadays, I fall asleep within 5 to 10 minutes in my bed.
You can find a lot of articles on the internet stating the benefits of walking after a meal. It helps to reduce blood pressure, and blood sugar, and improves digestion, etc…
But the untold part of the story is that it clears our negative thoughts.
When you start walking, your mind starts to wander.
If you’re happy, it recreates the happiest moment for you.
If you’re sad or had a bad day, it may recreate those sad moments again.
The good thing is that after walking, your mind looks calm, and it doesn’t need to dwell on those thoughts again while you’re in bed.
This simple habit has solved the common problem of having repetitive thoughts in bed.
Great, right? So, how long do you have to walk?
I usually walk for around 10 minutes to 20 minutes, depending on my work schedule. I’d suggest you walk for a minimum of 10 minutes right after your dinner.
What you don’t need to do is avoid using your mobile. The main goal of exercise is to clear our thoughts, so it’s important to avoid diverting them to other tasks.
Habit#1 Walking for 10 minutes.
In this busy world, silence has become a rare commodity. Many people think that they can’t afford it.
A few people even fear being quiet.
My grandmother used to follow the practice of silence every Friday, from morning to evening. This practice is also known as “Mouna Vratham”.
Though this tradition has slowly vanished, nowadays, you can see a lot of meditation retreats where people spend three to five days in complete silence.
So, there are many benefits of silence, but what is the link between sleep and silence?
In 2006, a study found that staying quiet for just 2 minutes can make you feel more relaxed than listening to calm music.
Another study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2015 found that spending some time each day in silence can reduce insomnia and fatigue in older adults.
Sitting quietly in your room for five minutes without using your mobile can calm your mind by reducing the flow of thoughts.
For beginners, it's normal for your mind to wander around; don’t try to bring back your thoughts.
Instead, observe your environment, just close your eyes and listen to the noises around you. Now, open your eyes and look for any three objects in your room.
Habit#2 Silence for 5 minutes.
3. Body Scan Meditation
A 2019 study states that mindfulness meditation helps improve your sleep.
Body scan meditation is a type of mindfulness meditation in which you focus on different parts of your body to feel the sensations.
Most of the mindful meditation activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which helps in resting, digesting, and reducing the heartbeat.
As you already know, recalling your worries tends to increase your heartbeat. With meditation, you try to calm yourself and create awareness in the present moment. This will help you fall asleep.
How to Perform a Body Scan Meditation?
· Lie down in your bed or on the floor with your legs outstretched and arms by your side.
· Take a deep breath and slowly exhale.
· Now, close your eyes and focus your attention on your breath in your belly.
· Move your attention to your left foot. Simply notice the sensations; if you don’t feel anything, don’t force it.
· Now shift your attention to your lower left leg and do the same.
· Continue this way throughout your whole body including your stomach, hands, fingers, face, head etc…
· Once you’ve finished, take a slow deep breath and exhale.
Mind wandering is normal in the beginning stage. To bring back your focus, just place your hand on your belly and notice the breathing.
For beginners, you don’t have to scan your entire body as it may take a long time; instead, try to focus on specific areas like your hands and legs alone.
Habit#3 Meditation for 15 minutes.
We spend 1/3 of our lifetime sleeping, which shows its importance. So, don’t think of it as a waste of time to follow the above-mentioned habits.
Moreover, the three habits we are going to follow not only improve our sleep but also improve physical and mental health.
Let’s all end our day with these good habits.
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