One of the keys to a healthier lifestyle is to integrate habits into your daily activities. Once something becomes a habit, it requires little thought and you get the benefits of regular repetition of healthy practices. Here are some habits you can incorporate into your daily routine to get a better night’s sleep.
Every parent knows how much better their children sleep when they’ve had a physically active day. The same is true for us adults. Exercise releases tension that the body holds during the day. Headaches, backaches, and digestive troubles can have their roots in unreleased tension.
The best time to engage in sleep-inducing exercise is in the late afternoon or early evening, not right before bed. It can have a stimulating effect if you exercise right before retiring. When you need to exercise is right during that time of day when you may feel the most tired. But if you go ahead and go through with exercising, your sleep will be improved and you will not feel as tired at that time of day in the future.
You will want to choose a fairly vigorous, cardiovascular exercise for your afternoon workout, such as brisk walking, swimming, jogging, biking, jumping rope, etc.
This gentler form of working the muscles can be done right before bed. Yoga, Pilates, and other stretching exercises help muscle to relax. Stretching improves circulation and helps to move toxins out of the muscles (particularly lactic acid). Some stretching disciplines, such as yoga, encourage focus and relaxation as part of its practice. You will retire with more relaxed muscles, less muscle pain, and a more peaceful mindset.
Meditation or prayer
Before going to sleep, take some time to pray and/or meditate. Choose a Bible verse, universal truth, positive mantra, or whatever thought makes you feel relaxed and happy. Whatever religion you practice, prayer can focus and relieve the mind and heart; it helps you unload your stresses and frustrations and brings a sense of peace.
A warm cup of herbal tea is a relaxation in itself, but choosing sleep-enhancing herbs makes it even more effective. Herbs to consider for a healthier sleep are:
- Valerian root
- Lemon balm
Lemon balm, catnip and chamomile are quite tasty. The other, less palatable herbs can be blended with them. You can also take herbal supplements if you don’t like herbal teas.
Natural Sleep Aids
Massage, acupuncture, acupressure, and chiropractic adjustment have all been shown to improve sleep. What all of these procedures do, essentially, is to align and relax the body. Like stretching, these practices help muscles to relax and aid the body in eliminating toxins. Acupressure is said to improve your body’s energy flow.