Updated: Apr 8, 2021
To celebrate World Sleep Day we’ve got a restful yoga routine and some other tips to share with you. So jump into your PJs and snuggle up…
Some people can’t get enough of it, some people get anxious at the very thought of it, and other people spend the evening preparing for it…
What am I talking about? SLEEP, of course!
It’s World Sleep Day on the 19th March. Yes, an entire day dedicated to the importance of sleep! My husband is a policeman, and works a crazy shift pattern that makes it impossible to get into a bedtime routine. Since I’ve been working at home for the last year, I’ve really noticed the affect that his shifts have on his sleep pattern. He usually oscillates between being totally unable to get to sleep, or spending upwards of 9-10 hours in bed and still struggling to get up.
I always thought that getting a good night’s sleep was all about quantity. It’s drilled into us that we should all be aiming for 8 hours per night. So if we get that, then we’ve successfully achieved a good night’s sleep, right?
Well, my husband often sleeps for well over this amount of time, and I was sceptical when he’d claim to still be tired. I didn’t really appreciate that having a ‘good sleep’ doesn’t just mean lots of it.
What is a ‘good night’s sleep’?
You’ll know if you’ve had a good quality sleep broadly speaking if it hits the following criteria:
You’ve slept straight through the night
You got to sleep within 30 minutes of hitting the pillow
You don’t wake up at all, or if you do, you get back to sleep within 20 minutes
You wake up feeling refreshed, energised and ready for the day
Feeling unfocused, unproductive and irritable, or finding your skin is dull or breaking out in spots, could all be pointers towards poor sleep quality.
Tools for getting better sleep
In our quest to learn how to sleep better at night naturally, my husband and I have tried a lot of the common advice. Not all of it worked for us. I mean, one of the first things on the World Sleep Day website says that you should set a stable bedtime and rise time. Fine for me (and actually it does really help), but impossible for anyone who works shifts.
So I can’t tell you for sure what will work for you – it really depends on you and your routine. But, I can tell you what has worked for us. Here are some of the tools that have helped us to sleep better:
Cutting out coffee from about 1pm onwards
Getting black-out curtains
Avoiding TV and screens in the hour before bed (OK, this one doesn’t always happen but we know it should!)
Getting exercise in the day – even if it’s just a walk outside
Keeping the bedroom tidy
Listening to a story or music (we got a free year’s trial of a sleep app and it’s really been amazing. But if your budget doesn’t stretch to that, try listening to a short podcast, audio book or soft music for free. Just make sure it stops after about 40 minutes).
There are so many more possibilities that other people swear by – eye masks and ear plugs, writing down (and therefore letting go of) your worries before bed, a cup of camomile tea, a hot bath. The list goes on.
And what about yoga to help you sleep?
A night time yoga session is perfect for getting better sleep, whether it’s a few stretches to wind down, or a full live, online yoga class. While doing an energetic exercise session just before bed isn’t a good idea (it raises your heart rate and adrenaline), the light movement and stretching found in yoga helps to release any tension you may have built up throughout the day, and tells the mind that you’re preparing to sleep.
We have written about this before at The Frog Project, with our detailed guide to using yoga for better sleep. As well as a great short routine of night time yoga poses, there’s also information in there for using savasana, or yoga nidra to help guide you to sleep if you don’t have time for a full class.
If you’re unsure where to start, join The Frog Project's teacher Andrea and try following this gentle night time yoga routine, designed to prepare you for bedtime. PJs and bed encouraged!
Ready to create a little bit of space for you? Why not try our Live Online Yoga classes, bringing you accessible yoga for all, from our living room to yours? Sign up now for 15 days of free unlimited classes.
Carmel is a travel professional and lover of literature and Latin America. In her day job at a tour operator she whisks people away to far off destinations, while in her spare time she moonlights as a freelance copywriter. You can find her portfolio here https://carmelhendry.journoportfolio.com. While not writing, or dreaming about travel, she can be found playing the piano, cycling or practising yoga. She’s spent the last year learning how to do a headstand, but mostly can be found relaxing in child’s pose! Join her and the Frog Project Community with 15 days of free unlimited classes. It’s just yoga.