About a third of Americans are not getting enough sleep, going by CDC data, and this is increasing cardiovascular and obesity-related risks among the population. A European Heart Journal study, based on data from 21 countries, found that those who slept less than 6 hours had 10% higher risk of death by stroke or heart failure. Though the study did say, this can be compensated with afternoon naps, if one can afford to take one.
Lack of sleep could be due to professional pressure, working more than one job that kills a good sleep routine, overexposure to electronic devices and the sleep-reducing blue light, or excessive stress and anxiety which has shot up significantly during the pandemic. Also, the relentless coverage of the pandemic and related worrying can take a toll on the quality of sleep. There are very simple tips and practices you can follow to protect your sleep from getting affected.
1. Taking a hot bath
Researchers suggest, taking a hot bath 90 minutes before going to sleep can help you fall asleep quicker because a hot bath lowers your body temperature. Lower body temperature signals your brain receptors that it is time to sleep. To enhance the quality of sleep, you can also practice full body massage using essential oils like sandalwood, primrose, or jasmine, that you can find in Shankara’s Calming Body Oil. It has nourishing and relaxing properties that calm down heightened emotional states and fatigue while allowing antioxidants and nutrients to seep into body tissues.
The oil comes with the essential goodness of 25 super herbs including sesame oil, macadamia nut oil, almond oil, avocado oil, hemp seed oil, vitamin E Tocopherol, evening primrose oil; essential oils of sandalwood, borage, cardamom, vetiver, aniseed, clary sage, cypress (leaves), ginger EO, extracts of haritaki, Shatavari, Dashmoola, Gotu Kola(root), Bala, CO2 extract of helio carrot, shave grass, rose, calendula and jasmine.
2. A 10-20 minute foot massage
Massaging your feet for 10 minutes before going to sleep relaxes your nerves, improves blood circulation, reduces inflammation and pain, lowers blood pressure, and activates specific acupuncture points found on the soles of your feet, all of which induce relaxation. Importantly, it also reduces the restless leg syndrome, which might be common among people who lead sedentary lives. A foot massage is used in reflexology to stimulate the workings of specific organs. According to reflexology, the specific acupressure points in the foot reflect the health of specific organs in the body. So in a way massaging your feet, also helps relax the specific organs. Here’s how you can give yourself a nice foot massage before going to bed.
For the massage, you need to pick the right essential oils to absorb all the benefits of the source ingredients, like right essential oils like Shankara’s Nourishing Foot Oil that has essential oils and extracts of calming herbs like sunflower, jojoba, grapeseed, lemon basil, dashmoola, neem, cardamom, camphor, lemongrass, manjistha, lavender, ginger, olive leaves and Ashwagandha.
3. Bless everyone before going to bed
Once you have followed the physical to-dos of massaging, bathing and switching off gadgets, settle down on your bed. Remember all the people you love and care for and the world in general, and bless them. In this boomerang universe, it is said, that what you send out, comes back to you. When you send out blessings and positive vibes to the universe, it comes back to you, in abundance. The practice of blessing everyone at night puts your mind at ease. It relieves the mind of negativity and stress that it tends to get caught up in, during the day.
4. Before going to sleep, think of all the tasks you have accomplished
Global spiritual figure and humanitarian, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar often shares a very helpful tip to fall asleep easily. He suggests, right before going off to sleep, one should think of all the accomplished tasks of the day. Do this, instead of focusing on incomplete tasks that need to be done. The later can increase anxiety and take you away from a restful state. Also, one wakes up with the same thought that one goes to bed with, it is believed. So it is important that the thought should be one of contentment and satisfaction. And, you begin the next day with the lingering positivity.
5. Yoga Nidra or Yogic sleep
For those undergoing sleep disorders, you can also try the deep sleep technique called Yoga Nidra, to sleep like a baby. It is a structured meditative power nap, where you move into a restful state, under vocal guidance. You feel rested and ready to fall into a deep sleep on completion of the guided meditation.