I did not expect to be impressed by this talk but I was.
I know my stuff when it comes to sleep. So much so, that anyone who knows me personally will tell you that I am a little OCD when it comes to bedtime routine and habits. I like to maximize my chances to get a good nights sleep.
It works well for me generally these days but every now and again, I either stumble across a new rule or rebel against an old one.
I stumbled across a new one in January when I was sick with the flu and downed one whole bottle of orange juice with my evening meal. I hardly closed my eyes and I now avoid drinking orange juice, just like I avoid drinking caffeine.
I rebelled against an old one just last week, when I spent two hours searching for the best flights to Venice on my mobile phone. I booked the flights but let’s just say I did not exactly fall asleep the moment I hit the pillow.
For the most part though, I proclaim to be “almost” sleep expert status. I have read a number of books and I feel well versed on how to improve sleep quality. I also stay up-to-date on the scientific research around the best sleep concerning habits.
So I was rather surprised when I was glued to the presentation the whole way through and picked up a lot of “new” tips for good sleep. I would highly recommend Dr Nerina Ramlakhan after that and be looking into reading her book next!
Why can’t I sleep?
There are two main reasons why you cannot sleep according to Dr Nerina – The first is that you are not managing yourself optimally during the day and the second is that you are not preparing your mind before you go to sleep.
The key to getting a good night sleep is about learning how to feel “safe”. When we feel safe, we can let go and we can sleep. In order to let go and feel safe at night we need to focus on living well.
Nerina did a deep dive into “how to live well” for optimal sleep.
How to live well – what to do to sleep better at night?
Step up on your Time-Management
Lists help you feel more in control, more safe and able to shut off.
Before you go to sleep, do something that makes you feel safe
What you do directly before you go to bed sets you up for how you are going to sleep. Especially if you are sensitive. Do something that relaxes you and calms you down.
Go to bed about 930 or 10pm.
Did you know that your best quality sleep happens before 12am? It is advisable to train yourself to become an “early bird”. Make sure to have activities to look forward to the next day to help you to spring out of bed at the early time.
Spend time in nature & invest in a picture of nature
Time in nature settles the nervous system. Even looking at pictures of nature can have the same effect.
Take technology breaks during the day
Get away from information every hour. Your brain has less filing to do at night and you will have more access to deep sleep.
Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude
Practising gratitude both morning and evening produces oxytocin, serotonin which help good sleep.
Tips for a good night’s sleep – Dr Nerina’s 5 “Non negotiables”
Eat breakfast within 30 mins of rising
This is most applicable when you wake up and your nervous system is nervous. Eating breakfast in the first 30 minutes settles your nervous system which has a very positive impact on your sleep quality that night.
Decrease stimulant intake dramatically.
Aim to drink 2-2.5 litres of water every day.
This keeps the brain hydrated so that the sleep bio-chemistry works.
Get into bed around 930/10pm & rest
Do something different than look at a screen. What you do before you go to bed sets you up for how you are going to sleep. Especially if you are sensitive.
Electronics out of bedroom
Electronic sundown 45 mins before get into bed
How to get a good night sleep when stressed
Do you have trouble sleeping through the night? Nerina stressed the importance of not looking at the time when you wake up at the middle of the night. This increases stress.
Instead, lie on your back and aim to consciously relax each and every part of your body starting from your toes and working you way up to your head and face. Breathe deeply and reassure yourself that it does not matter if you don’t fall asleep. You will just use the time to rest and relax.
An additional piece advice that works for me – Note, best for those with good familiarity to yoga. Check out this guy’s class. This is a yin yoga class which specifically preps both the body and mind for a deep sleep, provided you do the work. Believe me it is challenging but believe me , it is good!
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