Snooze like a baby: How to improve your sleep quality
Getting a good night’s sleep is important for productivity, mood and overall health
Getting a good night’s sleep is important for productivity, mood and overall health, but many of us struggle to achieve this. Here are some tips to improve your sleep and help you feel refreshed the next day.
Diaphragmatic breathing is the most natural way to breathe. Observe how a baby breathes - they will use their diaphragm / belly with each breath. Diaphragmatic breathing can help manage anxiety and stress.
- lie on your back with your knees bent
- use a yoga block or pillow under your head
- place both hands on top of your belly near your ribcage
- inhale through the nose for six seconds
- exhale through the nose for six seconds
- Breathe into your belly and feel your ribcage expand
- Try not to let your chest to rise
- Repeat this 10 -15 times until you feel your body relaxing
Yoga and stretching
Stretching and yoga help improve blood circulation and relaxation. “Downward-facing dog” resembles the letter v, and is the most basic and widely-known yoga pose. As its stretches the entire back line of the body, it helps ease tension in the head, neck, shoulders, and through the back of the legs.
- start on your hands and knees, and place them shoulder-width apart on the matt
- set your knees directly below your hips, and your hands slightly forward of your shoulders
- exhale and lift your knees away from the floor, engaging the shoulders and elongating the upper body (from a side view you will see a V shape - no rounding or arching of the back)
- be supported equally by your upper and lower body, rather than mainly the legs
- beginners and those with tight hamstrings will start with bent knees and their heels lifted off the floor (over time, focus on getting the heels flat on the floor)
- Hold the pose for as long as is comfortable
- Rest for a minute and repeat three to five times
Lights off and relax
Physical activity increases stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which remain elevated for several hours after exercise, so they can contribute to disturbed sleeping patterns. Try exercising in the morning or during your lunch breaks.
Electromagnetic pollution - TVs, laptops, mobile phones, fluorescent lighting - can also keep you up at night. Reduce your exposure for at least two hours before bed, and turn off all electrical devices. Light candles, meditate, listen to music, or take a walk outside.
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