Let’s face it, most of us do bit get enough sleep, and when we do sleep it’s not quality sleep because our minds are full of “to-do” lists. According to the Division of Sleep at Harvard Medical school, sleep has multiple health benefits including decreasing blood pressure and reducing stress, improves mood and memory, decreases risk for heart disease and diabetes, and regulates hormones which affect our appetite. Lack of sleep has been found to imbalance our hormones which fluctuates our blood sugar and causes cravings which results in weight gain.
In order to get a good night’s sleep, it will help to do a nightly calming ritual to quiet your mind. Begin by heating your bathroom and light scented candles. Take a warm bath with bath salts and a couple of drops of lavendar essentail oil. The bath salts will help reduce muscle tension and the lavendar will promote relaxation. As you lay in your bath focus on your breath. Notice how the water gently flows back and forth with each breath. Imagine that each breath is cleansing your thoughts, quieting your mind and bringing you peace. When you get out of your bath and have dried off, find your favorite lotion. Slowly massage your legs, arms, chest, neck, hands and feet. Self massage is very calming and will promote circulation. When you get into bed take a moment to relax each muscle in your body. Start at your feet and repeat the words, “My feet are relaxed, my feet are completely relaxed” and work your way all the way to the top of your head. After you have relaxed each muscle group repeat to yourself, “my body is relaxed, my body is completely relaxed.” Then resume natural breathing. Focus on your quiet breath and allow your thoughts to drift away as you fall into a deep, peaceful sleep. - Namaste, Sara Holliday MFT, CPT