Sleep. Need More of it This Festive Season?
Posted by Nicola Elliott
Parties & champagne cocktails. Long nights of Christmas cheer. Late night wrapping (when the kids are tucked up in bed). Putting the finishing touches to the gingerbread (because we are all trying to be superwomen. Right?!). Our sleep guru Anandi and meditation master Emma Mills, gave us THEIR standpoint on sleep, R&R and winding-down during the festivities...
Q We’re all going to staying up later pre-Christmas. Late night wrapping. Putting the finishing touches to the gingerbread. What can we do to recoup a bit of R&R in between planning the festivities. AND when it’s all done?
A Emma: Take just 5 minutes. Sit quietly and just be. Write a little note, thank you cards to people who have made your year that bit nicer. When everything is done, try writing down what you are thankful for before bed. Being grateful has been shown to help us sleep better.
Anandi: Yoga Nidra is my favourite recharging tool. It's a deep physical and mental rejuvenation tool. Yoga Sleep or Yoga Nidra is a soothing guided meditation type practice designed to take you into a deeply relaxed state. It calms your emotions and creates a deep sense of inner tranquility. Do this before you go out in the evening for your Christmas parties and you won't be falling asleep at midnight! If you have a late night, then do this as a recovery tool before you start your day!
Q When we’ve all partied too hard and find it hard to ‘switch off’ at bedtime. What can we do, to nod off?
A Anandi: The breath is the most important tool we have for changing our state of mind. Put your hands on your lower tummy. Put awareness/thoughts to your hands. Begin breathing calming for 60 seconds. Stretch your body and relax.
Emma: I agree with Anandi. The breathe is a great tool to focus on before bed. Try lying in bed resting with your eyes closed, begin to review your day from the moment you woke up, up until the moment you climbed into bed. Be sure to notice all the scenes. Gently stretch before practicing the the 7/11 breathing pattern - this works for me. That's in for 7 counts out for. This is a very relaxing style of breathing. Calms the body and mind to help you sleep better.
Q Christmas afternoon recommendation? Christmas lunch finished and the gifts are unwrapped. Tidy up? OR switch this out for bit of self care?
A Anandi: A 15 gratitude practice is wonderful. Put some soulful music on, grab your journal and just give thanks for everything you have in your life.
Emma: Sometimes we feel over responsible and perhaps we are so good at tidying up we don't give other people the chance to contribute their bit. If we sit and relax, perhaps our loved ones will do it? Mmm well, if you were looking for an alternative to tv or tidying something our family do on Christmas is to read a short story. One of us reads it out loud, while the rest of us sit around the fire with cups of tea and listen. It’s so soothing, and so good for connecting as a family (or group of friends) the latest short story we read was called, The Fiery Wooing Of Mordred, by P.G Wodehouse. It’s really funny.
Q Favourite way to get a good night’s sleep on Christmas eve? We’re all a little excited. The kiddos are dreaming of Father Christmas…
A Anandi: Go steady on the alcohol Christmas Eve not to spoil your nights sleep. Remember alcohol affects the quality of your sleep. No heavy meals too late and try get some water down you too during the evening, as it’s inevitable we’ll all have a glass of vino or hot toddy!
Emma: Go for a walk outdoors, have a cup of tea and maybe have a little bedtime meditation.
Q Anandi as our sleep guru tell us….can we catch up on sleep before we head back to work after the holidays?
A Anandi: Sleep debt is something we should watch, have a few clear days before going back to work where you eat light, no alcohol and drink lots of water to clear the system. You can't burn the candle at both ends and get away with it, it will catch up with you. Yoga Nidra is fabulous for recovering from sleep deprivation, 1 hour of yoga nidra is equivalent to 4 hours of sleep.
Q What sleep products are you using this Christmas to rest and recover?
A Anandi: I'm using the Intensive Skin Treatment Candle for self massage (neck and shoulders), I call this my mini abhyanga. Abhyanga in India is the anointing of the body with warm oil. Doing this mini neck and shoulder massage with the treatment candle is like absorbing a little love through the pores of the skin. Massage also releases our inner pharmacy of healing chemicals and hormones.
Emma: Perfect Night’s Sleep Pillow Mist and Bath & Shower Drops, Chamomile tea made using home grown chamomile.
Q Your favourite small step to Sleep?
A Anandi: Night mode. Be mindful of your tech habits – by setting all of your devices to automatic night mode after 7pm, your brain won’t get confused by the blue light, which makes our brains think it’s sunrise (not great when it’s actually coming up to bedtime!).
Emma: Night meditation. We love a guided sleep meditation before bed – just remember to put your phone into night mode and turn off the back light before you snuggle under the covers for a sleep-inducing session.