We have mastered the art of learning new skills but we are also forgetting some essential skills that are needed for our well-being.
Here are some tips for a sound sleep:
A distracted mind will neither let you concentrate nor let you sleep
Some people are naturally gifted and they have incredible ability to focus; whereas some are gifted with chaos and creativity. Some are in between these two ends of the spectrum. Everybody is unique in their own way.
Our body is physically grounded to reality and we cannot be there in two places at the same time. Our mind is not constrained like that and is free to go anywhere. In an instant, our mind can take you back to your childhood days or take you to your favorite vacation spot.
Let’s say your body is physically in a nice comfortable bed but your mind is jumping up and down and running all over the place. Do you think you will be able to sleep?
You may have heard about counting sheep technique where you have to count an endless number of sheep until you start sleeping.
The goal behind counting sheep is not to bore you to sleep; rather it helps your mind calm down, focus on one simple thing and connect with the current moment.
Here is a simple exercise that you can try: Observe your breathing cycle (breathe-in and breathe-out together counts as one cycle).
1. Close your eyes
2. Observe your breathing cycle couple of times (warm up)
3. Consciously, start tracking 10 breathing cycles
4. How many cycles did you go before you observed that your mind started drifting away
When I tried this first time around, I could observe that within 2 or 3 cycles, my mind started drifting away and got distracted. As I was conscious, I became aware of the drift and was able to get back to counting. We are not trying to be perfect, rather be conscious and give the best shot. Try doing this for 15 minutes (use a timer).
At the end of 15 minutes, you will observe that you are re-energized and feel refreshed. This is power nap for you!
This same technique can help you sleep better in the night; just don’t set the timer and keep repeating 1–10 breathing cycles endlessly.
Distracted mind can tire you and a calm mind can refresh you.
Read a paper book before you go to bed
Pick a paper book and read them for a few minutes before you go to bed. Turn off all your social media alerts. Reading a paper book can be soothing to both your eyes and mind. Avoid using digital books or any electronic devices for reading. Just use a plain old book and a soft light.
Honey and Milk
Warm a cup of milk — preferably organic 2% or whole milk and bring it to boil. Mix a few drops of honey (adjust quantity for your taste) and drink it. It tastes good and it will also make you sleepy.
Avoid fat free milk as it won’t taste good. Organic 2% or whole milk tastes the best. Reduce the quantity if you prefer.
Note: Do not mix honey first and then heat. According to Indian cooking, you should not cook honey. Boil the milk first and then mix honey at the end.
If you ate a lot or if acidity is bothering you, eat an apple and drink some warm water. It will help control acidity and let you sleep well.
Soft exercises like walking, jogging or a few simple yoga routines are very beneficial to calm your mind and body.
Surya Namaskar is a very simple and super effective exercise. Do at least three repetitions.
These days, everybody is creating their own version of Surya Namaskar. I have provided a link below that I recommend and it also matches with what I learned from my teacher.
Learn Yoga — Surya Namaskar
Printable Surya Namaskar Steps
Look at the first picture that illustrates the steps.
1. The reason it is called a soft exercise is listen to your body and don’t over stretch. You are not competing with anyone or proving anything to anyone. You are doing it for your benefit!
2. Do it slowly and at your comfort level. If a step says touch your feet, if you cannot completely reach it, no worries! Just reach as much as you can comfortably.
3. Smile when you do exercise, it will instantly relax your muscles.
4. If you are new to jogging, wear comfortable shoes, jog very slowly. Start with 2 minutes’ jog and 1 minute walk routine. Repeat this cycle for desired duration. Don’t run fast because it will hurt your joints and muscles. You can use an insoles for your shoes to support — Powerstep inserts are good and shown below: Powerstep Inserts
Try these tips and let me know what you think!