Insomnia is a common issue, and one that far too many people struggle with on a regular basis. Does that describe you? Want to sleep better at night without relying on prescription drugs that can mess you up? The good news is that insomnia can be managed, and there are a number of things you can do for sleeping better at night, including Yoga.
Like working out? Read: Go to Bed! Why Sleep is the Most Important Part of Your Workout Routine
Sleep is a huge part of staying healthy, so let’s take a deeper dive into things you can do to help sleep better at night.
Sleeping Better at Night With Pre-Bedtime Yoga Poses
Studies show increased physical activity can play a big role in helping you sleep better at night. Exercise tires out your body and also releases endorphins afterward. But choosing what kind of physical activity you engage in, and when, can play a role in managing and mitigating insomnia. Yoga is the perfect pre-bedtime workout. Yoga will work your muscles, but also helps clear the head and calm the mind. In fact, Yoga is as conducive to great mental fitness as it is to great physical fitness.
Some poses in particular are good for helping you sleep, such as the cat pose, child’s pose, and hero pose. Doing yoga for even 15 or 20 minutes before bed can help calm your mind and body and help you get better sleep.
Want more on Yoga before bed? Read: 9 Yoga Poses to Help You Sleep Better
Try Guided Meditation
My great friend and Club Pilates studio owner Andrea O’Dell turned me on to something that made settling down in the evening and getting to sleep miraculously better—guided meditation. When she first told me about it, I’ll admit I laughed a little, thinking that guided meditation was definitely not my thing. Andrea told me to trust her on this one, so I did, and that evening turned on Yoga Nidra for Sleep from Do Yoga With Me. After one night, I was a believer. From the second night on, my twelve-year-old twins were also going to sleep listening to Yoga Nidra.
Don’t be a Debbie Doubter on this one, take it from me, guided meditation as part of your nighttime ritual might well make all the difference.
Warm Baths are Great for Better Sleep
Warm baths are universally medicinal in nature. Even better, warm baths are a natural way to help you sleep better. Take a warm, soaky bath an hour or two before bedtime. It’s relaxing and easy to do and, even better, there’s even some science behind how this habit helps you sleep better. That’s because a hot bath raises the body temperature, but once out of the tub, a cool down happens fairly quickly.
That cool-down period tends to last an hour or two, and it will help relax the body so you feel tired and ready for bed. Not a bath person? Not to worry, warm shower works almost as well as a bath, so however it is you prefer to get wet, go for it.
Herbal Tea to set the Stage for Better Sleep
One of the best ways to fall asleep faster is to drink some tea at night. More specifically, opt for herbal tea, which is known for helping people relax and fall asleep. Chamomile tea is a popular nighttime option, and Valerian tea is another option worth exploring. A Norwegian study showed the Valerian herb helped about one in 13 insomniacs achieve a longer night’s sleep, with fewer middle of the night wakeups (which can be exhausting!). Valerian is an herb you can find in health food stores, from an herbalist, or even at some pharmacies. It can also be taken in capsule form or as a tincture. Note that if you’re thinking of taking Valerian check with your doctor first to make sure it won’t adversely interfere with other medications or supplements you make be taking
If you happen to be dealing with all the changes menopause brings, sleeping better at night can be problematic. Research showed that 30 percent of menopausal women reported better sleep results after drinking Valerian tea. If you’re tired of sleepless nights, integrating some herbal tea into the mix might be just what you need. You can make that tea pack an even more powerful punch (and health benefit) by adding a calcium supplement such as FitFormula’s Cal-EZ, Calcium + D, a tasteless, flavorless powder. The loss of estrogen in post-menopausal women makes calcium an important supplement to a daily diet, helping to keep bones and muscles strong.
For more tips on managing menopause, read: Managing Menopause: What to Eat, What to Skip.
Sleeping Better at Night With a Better Bedtime Ritual
A regular bedtime ritual in which you do all the same things nightly will help you sleep better at night. Whether that’s doing some Yoga, relaxing in a warm bath, sipping some hot tea—or even all three—when you stick to the same routine and the same habits every night it trains your brain that it’s bedtime and time to start closing the operating system (a/k/a your brain) down.
It’s probably safe to say that nobody enjoys not getting a good night’s sleep. Hopefully if you consider adding some natural insomnia solutions to your bedtime ritual like the ones mentioned above, it will help get you sleeping better at night. And if you want another healthy habit to add to that bedtime routine that will also serve to keep your bones and muscles healthy and strong, mix a packet of FitFormula’s Cal-EZ Calcium + D into your tea or nighttime glass of water. This will ensure you’ll get a good night’s sleep.
The original version of this article was first published on FitFormula.