Healthy routines for restful sleep
Light supper, breathing techniques and yoga for restful sleep
We all know what happens when we sleep little, poorly or interruptedly. We wake up tired, with no energy and a swollen face, in a more irritable and worse mood, finding it hard to concentrate… That’s why getting good sleep influences both our personal well-being and our general state of health and is essential if you want to face the day in the best physical, emotional and mental condition possible. Sleeping well increases productivity and brain function, strengthens the immune system, balances emotions, helps control excess weight, improves metabolism and reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease and depression.
But in order to get a good night’s sleep every night, it’s crucial that you establish healthy routines before going to bed that promote good sleep health. Keep these three In mind and you’ll sleep soundly.
María Romeralo, nutritionist at SHA Wellness Clinic, recommends “having a light dinner consisting of seasonal, cooked vegetables, either in soup, sautéed, steamed or baked, because raw vegetables can cause gas and are harder to digest at night. If you want, you can include some protein, such as tofu or tempeh, which are vegetable sources, or fish, but never meat, because it is much more difficult to digest. And we should avoid carbohydrates and fruit, since these are high in sugar that your body won’t burn and doesn’t need at night. Also, you should wait at least two hours, and preferably three, between dinner and bedtime”.
Before going to bed, you should ideally be able to leave all the daily worries that are on your mind and keep you from falling asleep on the bedside table. According to Rachel Rose, Mind & Body expert at SHA Wellness Clinic, this can be achieved through “conscious and balanced breathing, where breathing out takes a little longer than breathing in, because it lowers brain waves and heart rate. However, instead of breathing through the chest and shoulders, use the rib muscles and the diaphragm. A very effective technique to relax before going to sleep is the 4-4-2: count to four while breathing in, count to four while breathing out, and then pause with empty lungs for a count of two”.
Practising yoga just before bedtime leads to a state of relaxation, both physical and mental, which helps the body to fall asleep. Rachel Rose recommends “practising lying on your back to allow your body to ground. In this position, the diaphragm relaxes, breathing improves and the blood supply is concentrated in the head, allowing the apana, which is the descending energy, to flow properly”. At night, try to practice postures that favour exhalation, such as bending forward, bringing the knees to the chest, and placing the feet in the air or leaning against a wall.