Peaceful Way Retreats: Tips for a Great Night’s Sleep
Many of us struggle to get a decent night’s sleep, even if we know, at least in theory, what helps. Getting enough sleep improves resilience and our ability to manage and recover from stress. Good sleep hygiene enhances recovery, physical and emotional health and is essential for memory and skill development. So what simple and practical steps can you take to set you up well with a calm mind and settled night of rest?
Here are my tips to help you move from alert to calm and towards a peaceful night:
Get outside for a walk – sunlight helps regulate our sleep/wake cycle, which is particularly important as we age. Research suggests that people exposed to more natural light during the day get more sleep at night. Exercise helps improve sleep, and, as we know, has multiple health benefits including our mental health.
A breathing practice. This simple, do anywhere practice is a great way to calm your mind and nervous system to ready you for sleep. Take an inhale through your nose for a count of 4. Hold for a count of 2. Exhale for a count of 6 through your nose (you may work up to an exhale of 8 or longer with practice). Repeat for 5- 10 rounds and notice any changes.
Practice – both suggestions are recommended:
A gentle physical practice. This yoga pose is a fantastic way to rebalance and relax, you can use it before bed or any time you want de-stress. Find a wall and lay on your
back, with your hips close to the wall and slide your legs up the wall so your ankles are in line with your hips – gravity will do the hard work! Use a blanket under your hips and maybe for your head. Rest your hands lightly on your abdomen so you can feel your breath moving your hands. Rest here for 2 -5 mins, simply observing your breath. Slowly bring your legs down and take your time to sit back up.
Reflect – clearing your mind of the day and preparing it for the next is a great way to help set you up for good sleep. Take 5 minutes as you get ready for bed and answer these 3 questions:
- What are you most proud of about your day?
- What will you let go of?
- What will you focus on tomorrow?
Try writing the answers down, it will be more powerful than just thinking and give you insights to look back on. The ‘let go of’ question I find really helpful as that’s something many of us often struggle to do!
We should recognise that if we wish to improve our wellbeing, we need to practice; some days it shows up differently than the day before, but there is always something you can do to shift from frazzled towards a feeling that’s more conducive to rest.
See the above practices as ways to close of the ‘chapter’ of the day that just passed and get ready to open the next exciting chapter of this adventure we call life. It’s all about bringing more life to your life and that’s what we aim to help those guests who join us on our wellness retreats to experience, practice and take back into their daily lives. Wellbeing is not a practice for retreats. It’s a practice for life.
Written by Karen Stone and Colin Reeve, Founders of Peaceful Way Retreats
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