With the past four weeks being all about midterms, it’s no secret to anyone that sleep hasn’t exactly been top priority. Exams, papers, horrible group projects, and those small tedious “this will only take a second” homework assignments your professors think won’t matter in the grand scheme of things, seem to take over our lives. If they only knew what students really wanted to vocalize in those classes, chances are, we wouldn’t have as much work to do.
Considering how important sleep is and the fact that it’s become a long-lost friend these recent weeks, let’s just make sure it’s not looking for a reunion during your midterm exam or during that time before class that is perfect for a quick snooze, which eventually sneaks into class time because you’re that exhausted. Don’t let your grades or health slip just because of a paper or assignment that could be done during the daylight.
Many students say they feel they’re some kind of nocturnal. Obviously this isn’t true, but it certainly feels like it. For whatever reason, they get that second wind at night time, and can’t shut off the light/computer/cell phone.
According to the National Center for Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health, some 30 to 40 percent of adults suffer symptoms of insomnia within a given year.
So here are a few steps to take before bedtime to ensure that your night’s sleep will be satisfying.
Yoga therapist Kate Vogt offers the following practices to help you invite your mind and body to rest.
Say Goodnight: Create a bedtime ritual to signal to your body and mind that all activity is done for the day and it’s time for rest. Finish eating two hours prior to bedtime, and turn off the TV or put aside your cell phone and laptop at least a half an hour before retiring. Literally start to check out and unplug before going to bed. It will make sleeping stress-free a little easier.
Stretch and Yawn: Rest on your back to contract and stretch your muscles from head to toe. Flex your feet, spread your toes, and then curl them under three times. Stretch out one foot and reach the opposite arm overhead. Gently squeeze and release the leg and arm muscles three times. Change sides. Hug yourself and shrug your shoulders toward each other. Hold for three or four seconds and release. Change the cross of your arms and repeat. Rest the base of your palms above your eyebrows and place your thumbs on your temples. Slide your fingertips along your hairline and circle the thumbs lightly on your temples. Yawn three times.
Let Yourself Melt: Lie flat on your belly, resting your forehead on your hands. Feel your navel expand toward the floor as you inhale and pull back as you exhale. With each exhalation, imagine releasing tension from your body. Do this for 10 breaths. Roll slowly onto your back. Rest your fingers on your belly, feeling it rise and fall as you take 12 more breaths. With each exhalation, let yourself melt and be absorbed into radiant love. Then, curl into a fetal position on your right side and rest. You may even drift off to sleep.
To see more tips and tricks to a good nights sleep or to gain more yoga knowledge, visit www.yogajournal.com