5 Steps to Super Sleep
Posted by Adam Meads
Dubbed the most popular work out in the world, Yoga has been around for a whopping 5,000 years. From hot yoga to vinyasa and hatha there’s plenty to choose from, yet should we settle for one type? It seems mixing it up is where it’s at and since we ran a sleep yoga session in our Leeds store (where we moved our bodies mindfully then cuddled up under blankets whilst surrounded by our Scent to Sleep fragrance), we’ve been hooked on a whole new breed of yoga-esque mindful movement for putting ourselves to sleep.
The new book Sleep Recovery which was recently published by author and qualified yoga teacher and psychotherapist Lisa Sanfilippo (who suffered with insomnia, anxiety and overactive stress responses in the past) hits the nail on the head. Not one style of yoga, but a multitude of movements that gets us ready for bed. So we asked Lisa, ‘what is sleep recovery?’ and ‘can we all do it tonight at home?’.
“Sleep Recovery is a 5 step approach to better sleep, that you can, once you learn it, do for yourself! It involves the different aspects of yoga - which are physical stretches, and also breathing, mindfulness and soul-soothing practices.” Says Lisa Sanfilippo
So what are the 5 steps to sleep recovery? Lisa explains.
1 - Repair your body - by pulling tension out of your muscles with simple yoga stretches, and learning to shift your habits to stop sabotaging your sleep (when you are best placed for exercise, meals and your morning coffee).
2 - Replenish your energy sustainably - by doing easy breathing practices, and some mid-afternoon rest positions that help you to put energy back on the grid when you’re tired, instead of amping-up your nervous system with caffeine or spiking your blood sugar levels. Then when it comes to bedtime, your nervous system remembers how to really rest.
3 - Reclaim your mind - if your mind is full and you can’t switch off, you need time for mental digestion - doing simple mindfulness during the day and getting your thoughts out of your mind and down on paper at night can lead to a calmer, more expansive mind at night.
4 - Restore a sense of calm - this is the emotional stuff: life throws many curve-balls at us- anger, sadness, fear, joy, elation and all the other emotions can cause us to lose sleep- learn to deal with the waves and sort through your communication with others so that your conscience is clear and ready to rest.
5 - Reawaken happy - if you’re not sleeping, you may be a little soul-sick- tweaking your life so that you feel a sense of purpose and joy, not just daily drudgery, can help you feel more at ease and allow you to sleep better at night.
All sounds good but what does the master herself do every evening?
My personal sleep routine involves turning the lights down low, often lighting candles, and switching on soothing music as I wash my face, brush my teeth and slip into cosy pyjamas. I then do a few simple stretches and slow down my breathing - and if I feel tense in my belly or chest, I focus my breathing there - inhaling into the area, and then slowly exhaling. I love stretching my thighs and hips, and taking the lying-down twist right on my bed before crawling under the sheets. (These are all part of the Simple Sleep Sequence I share in my book, Sleep Recovery). This makes me feel really relaxed, and I will often read a novel by candlelight until my eyes are tired, then I blow out the candle and I’m in dreamland.
Check out Lisa’s new book HERE