Updated: May 26, 2022
Because it does!
When we deny ourselves rest, we are literally denying ourselves the life force, the vitality, that sleep provides us. Deep rest gives our body an opportunity to re-calibrate, to do the magic it naturally knows how to do, to get to a place of balance. To sort things out, let things go and smooth the waters of daily life -restoring mind, body and soul. This allows us to thrive during our waking hours.
Hard work is important,
So are play and non-productivity.
My worth is not tied to my productivity but to my existence.
I am worthy of rest.
We all know the difference we feel when we are experiencing good rest. Science continues to inform us of how important it is to our health and well-being. When we lack good rest we experience:
-poor concentration and focus -difficulty with memory -impaired motor coordination -high blood pressure -weakened immunity -weight gain -accidents (caused by fatigue)
Recent research is showing that poor rest contributes to many of our chronic diseases, such as dementia, depression, diabetes and obesity. The good news is that we have the ability to make choices to change this by enhancing our rest, along with other positive health choices.
It is amazing how much more present I can be with my life when I am well rested. I can find the ease within the effort of my days, I am more present for myself and others- which, as we know, is the secret sauce to finding real joy and happiness; noticing all of the abundance we have in our lives. When I am tired it all feels like an upward climb. It's the difference between standing in sunshine or under a cold rain cloud. I don't know about you, but I prefer the sun , so I have been taking on practices of rest- both at night and finding time to experience rest during the day. What have I discovered? This has improved the quality of my days and nights.
Resting during the day for me can be:
-Pausing to take a few deep breaths (3 will do it, long and slow, inviting ease into the body)
-A yin yoga pose: lying on your back with your feet up the wall or on a chair, breath long and slow, with eyes closed, for 5 minutes -while intentionally quieting the thinking mind.
- Pausing all doing, relaxing the body and mind and just gaze out the window or around the room and notice what is there. Just BE~ing for a few minutes can be an amazing reset.
-Pausing for a moment of gratitude: reflecting on what we are grateful for in life, or what is going well that day. Allowing the feelings of gratitude to fill up the heart like a smile.
*** Think it, thank it and feel it ***
Here are some things to consider to achieve better sleep at night:
Nutrition: eat a balanced, healthy diet Avoid spicy, sugary, and greasy foods before bed that can cause heartburn and restlessness. This includes caffeine and alcohol as well. Explore a anti- inflammatory diet.
Be Consistent: Create a Routine
Create the right space and create practices that begin the end of the day wind down . Work toward going to bed at the same time each night. This will lead to waking more consistently at the same time. This can be a gradual transition. Start by cutting 15 minutes off of your typical bedtime until you reach a bedtime that will allow for a full eight to nine hours of sleep.
Exercise Performing sleep-inducing exercises can help relieve stress and restlessness - two causes of insomnia. Yoga or any aerobic exercise is especially good for sleep. Consider a restorative or yin yoga practice in the evening.
Technology The blue light that cell phones, computers, and tablets emit suppresses naturally occurring melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep. Limit gadget use in bed or close to your bedtime. Maybe pick up a book, take a bath, meditate, sip a nighttime tea or listen to music.
Essential Oils Find a nighttime blend that will ease your senses into rest. Luna Roma has a wonderful selection. I love their "deep rest" or "stress less" at bedtime. These are natural sedative and they are great for promoting sleep. Mix 1 cup of water and 4-5 drops of essential oil in a spray bottle or diffuser. Mist around your bedroom before going to sleep.
Here are some night time drinks to try:
Mint, chamomile, lavender, rose teas
Pink Moon Milk, or tart cherry juice, is a natural source of melatonin. https://heartbeetkitchen.com/2017/recipes/pink-moon-milk-sleep-tonic/
Chamomile Lavender Latte includes powerful and natural relaxants.
Turmeric Golden Milk is great for inflammation and balancing blood sugar.
Doing those deeply unfashionable things
-slowing down, letting your spare time expand, getting enough sleep, resting-
This is a radical act now, but it is essential. As are you.
Sleep well and be well,