In Part 1 yesterday Sonia Strong introduced us to Sleep Hygiene and ways we can increase the amount and quality of sleep we enjoy each night. Here she continues this fascinating feature…

Here are some sleep tips I’ve picked up over the years.

– Fengshui & Elementsfengshui

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Fengshui is a Chinese philosophical system of harmonising everyone with their surrounding environment. It is closely linked to Daoism. Fengshui literally translates to “wind-water”. Fengshui is one of the five arts of Chinese Metaphysics, the practice discusses architecture in metaphoric terms of ‘invisible forces’ that bind the universe & humanity together known as Qi which is pronounced Key.

The ancient uses of Fengshui were widely used to orientate buildings – often spiritually significant structures such as tombs and resting places. The determination and reference to local features such as bodies of water, stars or a compass very simply take a glance at how you have your creature comforts and positions of where your furniture is positioned and placed in your bedroom. It can greatly affect your sleep hygiene and routine.

Some people say these methods have been around for over 3000 years from ancient Chinese remedies and rituals but is still very popular today and people have found significant results just moving their bed to a different part of their bedroom. I have done my own personal experiments and I sleep better when my feet are facing North or East.

A couple of my own simple tips to relax your mind and body before you go to bed

– Ensure your bedside locker/table is clear except for just a glass of water. Empty your bladder before bed. Weather permitting it helps to have a small amount of fresh air coming through a gap in your window this helps with congestion and headaches. Therefore I believe the temperature of the room you sleep should be consistent and cool.

– As a continuation on from fengshui, it is important you choose an appropriate quilt or blanket to cover you to keep your core body temperature consistent while you sleep. And also the pillow you sleep on is crucial to align your neck and spine. Some physicians recommend a hard mattress in the long run is better for our muscular and skeletal systems for long term physical health.

This can be trial and error on what suits your own sleep hygiene routine.

Essential Oils and Incense

Lavender along with Tea Tree oil are two of the only essential oils that are safe to put directly onto the skin in their natural unmixed state.

Lavender has relaxing and healing properties and benefits. I massage pure lavender oil into my temples and I recommend put a few drops onto a tissue or few drops on your pillow to breathe in. I have found lavender pillow spray also very helpful.

Other essential oils that aid relaxation are camomile, eucalyptus and vetivert. Always read instructions for use and quantities on anything you purchase over the counter. Sleeping Hygiene_2 Meditation

I use meditation as a tool to help combat stress, it is widely used to aid with chronic pain and to attain a healthier sleep cycle. Here are a few basic tips on how to adopt a daily meditation routine to help you achieve Zen and peace in your life. If you don’t have time to do 10 minutes per day, try to incorporate it two to three times per week to begin with.

Posture – make sure if you sit on a comfortable chair or on the floor crossed legged and that the spine is upright with your head up, chin 90 degrees to your chest. Keep your eyes open with a soft gaze.

Breathe – pay attention to your breath, it’s a great way to anchor yourself and ground, let it be as natural as possible. If you find this hard then count your breaths, on inhaling count to 8 then count to 4 on the outward breath.

Studies show that even 10 minutes of calm meditation significantly reduces stress levels, improves concentration and helps achieve a good night’s sleep. Try to control your thoughts and concentrate on the breath. Silence is extremely healing; if you struggle with quiet time then some low gentle meditation music can be used.

The mind becomes more steady and calm if you are in a silent environment. Try to create a peaceful space to meditate taking into account low lighting like I mentioned earlier and perhaps some relaxing essential oils or incense burning in the corner of the room.

Controlling your thoughts & The Black Box Experiment

If you struggle with an overactive mind which comes to life at night, then I have an exercise that has helped me in the past. I imagine I am going into my ‘thoughts store’ with my eyes closed in a comfortable position. Roll your eyes slightly upwards to feel physically that you are entering your subconscious mind while your conscious mind drifts off.

This is a simple personal method that I hope inspires as many people as possible to create their own link to their subconscious mind to create a connection to their inner voice.

Visualise three black doors…

One to the left, one in the middle and one to the right. Enter your first door and think of two things in your life that are in work in progress. Acknowledge each and feel how the wheels are in motion and how it will continue to improve day by day (the Japanese call this Kaizen in business – identifying each mark and gradually improving on it).

Leave and close the door behind you. Enter the second door in the middle and think of what parts of your day you are most grateful for, it can be as simple as you had a nice meal or spoke to a nice person, say thank you, leave and close the door behind you.

Enter the third door on the right and briefly outline what is on your agenda for the following day, know that you can’t do any of that right now and you look forward to waking up with energy and rested to combat your day. Leave and close the door, to find yourself in a neutral dark empty place, where your mind can shut down until tomorrow. Know that sleep is the best healer and your mind and body needs sleep to fully function. You are safe and deserve a good night’s sleep!

Part 3 completes this feature tomorrow with further tips, studies and information. Make sure you return for the conclusion!

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