We hear a lot about how routine is important for children and sleep - but what about adults? Well turns out it certainly doesn't hurt. And even better? The routine doesn't have to be long and complicated. As long as it is calming and signals to your body and your mind that it is time to sleep and restore that's all you need.
So here is our tip for turning the tables on sleepless nights and the dreaded midnight clock watching (does anyone else keep reminding themselves how many hours they have left to sleep if they go to sleep right now?!)
Before you begin - get in the zone.
That means effectively getting ready for bed. Put on your PJ's, clean your teeth, set your alarm, dim the lights - whatever you would normally do before bed. It also helps if you can switch off your phone or at least turn it to silent and pop it somewhere you won't be tempted for one last Insta-scroll before you hop into bed. Or even worse... once you get in.
Now it is time to get that brain to switch off.
Step 1: Apply your Magnesium Oil to your lower legs, soles of your feet, and, if you want an extra dose, your stomach. Remember, you can't overdose with topically applied Magnesium so don't worry.
Step 2: Find a comfy floor and wall and assume the 'Legs up the Wall" yoga pose. (It's formally known as Viparita Karani, but you know we like to keep things simple around here). Stay in the position for between 5-15mins and if you can keep the space you're in quiet and dimly lit.
Now here's the hard bit. GO. TO. BED. Yup, that's right... go to bed. Don't check your email one last time. Don't put the last of the washing away. Don't flick on the TV to catch the late news. Just let your mind stay in the relaxed space you've created and get in that bed.
Like we said - it is really simple. And it is the type of routine pretty much everyone should be able to fit into their day. So give it a try and see how you go. I have to admit I found this particularly useful while I was pregnant as not only did it relax me, it helped my ever-suffering legs. (Always check with your doctor before trying any new exercise... while this is literally the calmest exercise you are likely to encounter - it is still worth the question.)
Now for the interesting part - how on earth does spraying some Mag Oil and popping your feet up actually help sleep? Well... am glad you asked.
Magnesium & Sleep
Magnesium assists the bodies sleep process by activating the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the system responsible for getting you calm and relaxed (1).
It does this by regulating neurotransmitters, which send signals throughout the brain and the nervous system. Magnesium also regulates the hormone melatonin, which guides sleep-wake cycles in your body (2).
Also importantly, this little master mineral binds to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. GABA is the neurotransmitter responsible for quieting down nerve activity and happens to be the same neurotransmitter used by drugs designed to assist sleep such as Ambien (3, 4).
By helping to calm your nervous system, magnesium may help prepare your body and, importantly, your mind in readiness for sleep.
Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall)
Most people are aware of the benefits Yoga can have on both the body and the mind. And it seems that this pose is often thought to be a bit of a jack of all trades when it comes to healing various ailments. A quick read through various Yoga pages will have you scrolling through lists that include anxiety, headaches, insomnia, cramps, depression and arthritis just to name a few.
The position of the body in this pose combined with controlled and calm breathing lead to a slow down in the body and lowered heart rate. In turn, this creates a relaxation response and helps to allow the body to reduce stress, anxiety and insomnia (5).
And while you are in your pose, your Magnesium will be absorbing into your bloodstream getting you ready for that elusive amazing nights sleep.
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