Joseph H. Pilates, the master and creator of the Pilates Method, once said, “most important in the matter of enjoying good, recuperative sleep are quiet, darkness, fresh air and mental calm.” Here are a few tips to add to his theory:
– Have your last meal long before you want to sleep: You want your body to be fairly “quiet” when it’s time to fall asleep, and if you eat too close to bedtime, the food and digestive juices in your stomach can press against your esophagus and cause heartburn, acid reflux or indigestion.
– Power down one hour before bedtime: if you need to be asleep by 11PM, turn off all (or most!) electronic devices by 10PM. Electronic devices stimulate electrical activity and neural stimulation in our brains, and darkness is conducive to rest.
– Let go: If you have too many things on your mind, it will be hard to relax. Let some fresh air in and find a way to let things go. Let go of what is toxic and be open to the winds of unknown change. Life is imperfect and sometimes, letting things solve themselves in time is the best way to go.
– Take longer, deeper, abdominal exhales: When our exhales last longer than our inhales, we trigger the vagus nerve, which allows for the parasympathetic (the “rest and digest”) nervous system to dominate and bring a sense of calm. Here’s a great video by Yoga Tune Up® ‘s Jill Miller that will allow for deeper breaths and maximal exhales.
While we all have our minimum hourly requirements, getting a good night’s sleep is crucial to living your best life. Discover and embrace the rest you need, it is a requirement.