How Yoga Can Help You Have Better Sleep
BLOG / September 1, 2023
Have you ever considered the profound impact your morning routine can have on your energy levels, circadian rhythm, and the overall quality of your sleep each night? I’d like to shed some light on the dos and don’ts of your morning routine. Here are five simple steps that can help you develop effective morning habits. These habits can provide you with a fresh burst of energy in the morning and set the stage for a restful night’s sleep. And the best part? It only takes 15 minutes.
- No More Blue Lights!: Many of us rely on phone alarms to wake up. I earnestly urge you to turn off the alarm promptly and resist hitting the snooze button. Falling back asleep and repeatedly waking up can leave you feeling groggy and sluggish when you finally get out of bed. Once your feet touch the ground, avoid looking at your phone or any other source of blue light. These lights disrupt our natural circadian rhythm and energy levels, sending misleading signals to the brain. Instead, head directly to a source of natural light. Whether it’s sitting by a window or stepping out onto a patio or balcony, let your eyes absorb the natural daylight. Time required: 2 minutes.
- Embrace Your Morning Beverage: Do you savor a warm beverage, perhaps one with caffeine? Excellent! Go ahead and enjoy it. Take your time relishing that delightful cup. It’s a wonderful moment to awaken your body’s systems. If your beverage contains caffeine, it provides a gentle brain boost. The enjoyable taste also sparks a sense of joy, and these small, joyful routines accumulate to create a positive impact. Joy triggers the release of beneficial hormones in our central nervous system, which contribute to the hormones necessary for sleep later in the day. Time required: 2 minutes.
- Step Outside and Breathe: You might be tempted to grab your phone or sit in front of your computer right away. However, I encourage you to resist the allure of blue light for now. Step outside, breathe in the fresh air, and immerse yourself in nature’s beauty around you. This doesn’t have to be complicated: Walk your dog if you have one, take a stroll to a nearby store for a snack, stand on a patch of grass, or sit on your balcony. I know my enthusiastic use of exclamation points might be a bit much, but this moment is pivotal. You can do it. Time required: 3 minutes.
- Engage in Gentle Movement: Engage in some light movement, such as simple stretches, meditation, pranayama (breath control exercises), yoga asana (poses), or simply lying on your back and feeling your breath. After spending about 8 hours in bed, your body yearns for this movement. Your body doesn’t want you to remain hunched over, scrolling through devices. It craves a wake-up that gets your blood flowing. Time required: 5 minutes.
- Gratitude and Intentions: Lastly, I’ve discovered that creating a gratitude list or setting small intentions for the day can significantly shift my energy. It redirects my focus toward my heart and away from the overwhelming to-do lists that clutter my mind. Humor me for a moment: Take 3 minutes to either write down or visualize three things you’re grateful for and three things you’d like to experience today. Reflect on what’s going well and what could bring you joy, love, or creativity. These final steps hold great meaning, especially on days when you’re struggling. You have the power to set the tone and make small changes. As you write or imagine, try to feel these thoughts in your body. Amidst our day filled with racing thoughts, distractions, and the pursuit of tasks, this is the moment to set your rhythm and connect with your heart center. Our heart’s center is rooted in gratitude, and gratitude serves as the cornerstone for all the positive emotions we cherish: joy, creativity, laughter, empathy, compassion, happiness, and love. Time required: 3 minutes.
I understand your schedule is packed. That’s why I’ve indicated minimum times for each step. However, I implore you, if you have extra time to spare, don’t rush. Consider savoring these precious moments we’re granted every morning.
Wishing you sweet dreams and a wonderful night’s sleep. You’ve got this, humans!
PS: Yes, you can now retrieve your phone and computer.