Posted: 13.02.20 at 15:01 by Sarena Mason
We all need good quality sleep to function well, to keep our physical and mental health in tip-top condition.
Yet we live in a society that burns the candle at both ends, staying up late working, scrolling through social media, or just having fun.
An event is being held in Badgworth to help people get better sleep through yoga.
Sarena Mason, a local yoga and well being specialist, said: "For many years I was extremely ill with ME/CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) so know first hand what a nightmare sleep issues can be, but happily there are drug-free options available to us."
In the short term, a lack of good sleep can affect our judgement, mood, ability to learn and may also increase the risk of serious accidents and injury.
Longer term, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease.
In the western world sleeping tablets can be a life-saver – but can also be addictive and leave you feeling drugged in the morning. So what other options are there?
Sarena suggests these three simple tips that could make a difference for you:
1. GENTLE, RESTORATIVE YOGA - both before bed and/or during the day, simple postures soothe the nervous system and calm the mind. It switches off the sympathetic nervous system
(the active part) and switches on the parasympathetic nervous system (think parachute – slowing down). A favourite posture is “feet up the wall” – five minutes, doing nothing but following your breath.
2. YOGA BREATHING – Known as Pranayama, these techniques offer multiple ways of improving and changing our breathing to not only calm the mind, but to bring balance to our many internal systems - and life. A simple technique is to make the exhale slightly longer than your inhale (i.e. inhale for a count of four exhale for six) – which calms the nervous system.
3. SLEEP HYGIENE – If you want something to change - you have to make some changes. Setting yourself up for a good night’s sleep doesn’t begin 10 minutes before lights out. Wind down time is important to switch from an active mind to one ready for good quality sleep. Turn the TV off (record things to watch the next day), get off your screens (phone, tablet, computer) and it is suggested no caffeine after 4pm.
If you'd like to know more go to Sarena's website via the red button below and where her blog "Better Sleep? Yes Please!" gives more ideas.
She said: "I am also a trained positive psychology coach, so bring those skills to my work to support people in finding ways to make the changes they need.
"Learning how is half the battle, the why/when/where is the next important step."
Sarena is offering a one day Sleep Better With Yoga workshop on Saturday February 22, from 10am to 4pm.
Taking place at Badgworth Old Schoolroom, it includes two very gentle "better sleep" yoga sessions, dietary guidelines from Ayurveda (yoga's sister science), and explores how to create a better sleep hygiene in your life. Contact her for further details and booking.
Sarena said: "Learn to fall in love with your bed again.
"We can get so wound up when not sleeping well, but improving the quality and quantity of your sleep is possible."