It is shocking how much people don’t sleep! Sleep is super important. We need sleep to heal deeply, to be our best selves on so many levels of mental, emotional, physical health.
One of the biggest things that can erode our deeper level health, our qi, our ability to make lasting change is our sleep.
In this post, I am going to cover 6 keys for better, deeper sleep.
1. Reduce to Eliminate Caffeine
You’re not going to like this one but caffeine is a big one.
I have been blessed in this life to have never really gotten on the caffeine-coffee train, but I’ve seen my partner Jay really struggle with it. I’ve seen lots of people that I really care about really struggle with sleep and the caffeine connection.
If you are not sleeping well and you think that you are not affected by caffeine, you’re probably kidding yourself. Sorry to be the deliverer of bad news.
Generally, I recommend that if you are a caffeine person that you start by limiting it to only ONE eight-ounce cup, not a mug that just happens to be a triple gazillion-sized mug before 10:00 AM in the morning.
Yes, a lot of people can do okay with caffeine but if you think caffeine really is zero-issue for you, go off of caffeine completely for three months and tell me (literally send me an email) if your sleep doesn’t change.
So I would say give it a try, really start to reduce the caffeine. Even if you think that you’re not affected by it, your nervous system is paying attention.
Be gentle with yourself. Start to just reduce the caffeine. Maybe from heavy-duty coffee down to a black tea down to a green tea, and then shift it towards the morning so that you are doing just one eight-ounce cup before 10:00 AM.
Whew! Good luck! Blessings on your caffeine journey.
2. Luminous Screens
I am also guilty of this. We all have interwoven our life a lot with technology.
The problem with that is that we are really messing with our biorhythms. Having blue spectrum light from our iPads, from our phones coming directly into our eyeballs is sending your brain signals that say, “it’s daytime, do the daytime hormones”.
That is not beneficial for your sleep. It messes with your hormones and your cortisol levels. Lots of icky stuff that you don’t want to be messing around with.
If you were having sleep issues, it is good to start to make a concerted effort to reduce the amount of light luminous screens in your eyeballs as the sun goes down.
There’s a couple of ways to do this.
- Most devices now have a built-in nighttime mode or sleep mode where it starts to shift the color pattern of your phone (or your laptop or tablet) from a more blue, bright light to a more yellow orangy tone.
That in itself is helpful and it will also dim your screen so it’s not as bright.
Also, maybe have other ambient light going on, to try to create some distance between you and the light late at night.
Ideally, you’re going with a natural pattern where as the sun is going down, you are having less and less of that artificial light.
Now that’s not really possible for a lot of us in our daily lives, but at the very least, change the devices so they start to change as the sun goes down.
- You can also get blue-light-blocking glasses at least while you’re using a laptop, especially if you work on a computer. They’re pretty easy to find. You can also get special screens to put over your laptop or computer screen that will help to filter that light a little better. That can be a little bit easier on your system.
3. Work on Bedtime
Bedtime is important. Having a wind down in the evening and specifically being asleep between the hours of 10:00 PM and midnight.
In Chinese medicine, we talk about these as the “kidney regeneration time” and this has been proven true in Western medicine in terms of optimal cortisol levels.
You get “more bonus points” in terms of sleep and kidney energy from being asleep between the hours of 10:00 PM to 12:00 sleeping six hours versus staying up till two in the morning and sleeping for 12 hours.
When you go to sleep actually makes a difference so work on that bedtime of trying to be in bed and falling asleep at 10:00 PM.
You’ll notice if you miss that window, often you’ll feel a second wind of energy. This is not real energy. This is sort of like robbing Peter to pay Paul kind of energy. It’s false energy that starts to really screw up your adrenals and your kidney energy and is not serving you or your sleep patterns in the long run.
4. Alternate Nostril Breathing
I’d recommend you try a little bit of alternate nostril breathing also called nadi shodhana. This is a practice that comes from the world of yoga and it involves alternately breathing in one nostril and out the other.
You’re using your fingers. You don’t have to develop magic superpowers to magically breathe in one nose and out the other with your mind.
You use your fingers and you breathe in one side and then out the other. There’s plenty of videos of how to do alternate nostril breathing practice.
This helps to really calm the nervous system. If there’s one practice that I’m often recommending for calming the nervous system, harmonizing the hemispheres of the brain, it’s alternate nostril breathing.
There’s some good research on stress relief, even thyroid issues, and calming the nervous system using alternate nostril breathing.
Start with just five to eight minutes, work up towards 12 and incorporate this into your evening routine. You might also start to feel the more internal relaxation benefits of doing this practice.
5. Vastu and Feng Shui
This is down in the list because it’s not usually the primary one that I go to but if you’re finding you’re doing a lot of different things around your sleep and you still are feeling like there’s something going on, you might want to check out the Vastu or the Feng Shui arrangement of where you’re sleeping.
In traditional systems, Vastu from India and Feng Shui from the Eastern Chinese traditions, there is a generally more beneficial way to sleep.
In Vastu, you generally want to have your head facing towards the south or the west and so that would mean that your feet would be pointing towards the north or the east.
Having your bed in that direction is conducive towards the setting sun, towards more calming, heavy energies in that way.
You could maybe play around with where your bed is or the position that you’re sleeping. This can have a positive influence on the bucket of your sleeping.
One of the other big no-nos in Feng Shui is that you don’t want to be sleeping with your head right against a wall where there’s a ton of plumbing, so if your bathroom is on the other side of the wall, it’s not great because the plumbing in that wall is always having water moving through it and it’s not a great energetic influence.
Now could you be doing all these things right and that would be the only thing, it’s unlikely, but it is an influence on the energetic level and those things add up when there’s lots of other factors.
It’s as if our health or our sleep or anything else is sort of a bucket and the bucket has a lot of tolerance. You can put a lot of crappy stuff, a lot of water in the bucket before it overflows, but eventually, when it overflows, you’re going to have some real problems.
Paying attention to the Feng Shui, the orientation, the Vastu of where you’re sleeping could be a factor that could help improve your sleep.
6. Oil Massage on the Feet
This is one of my favorites—doing some kind of oil massage on the feet. Ayurveda has a lot of (and I’m really a big fan of) oil treatments to calm the system.
It depends on what your constitutional energetic type is. If you’re a fire person, it’s going to be different than if you’re more of a metal person.
If you don’t know your type, I have a course in our membership (plus a library of courses) for knowing what’s actually right and normal for you:
Doing oil massage on the feet, in general, is a very grounding and helpful health practice.
The bottoms of the feet are very sensitive. You can use either jojoba oil or herbal oil. I like fractionated coconut oil because it tends to be less sticky and I’m not worried about feeling that heaviness.
Generally, I will do an oil massage on my feet at night, and then put socks over the top of it and then I’m not worried about the sheets.
You could use a little bit of essential oil, but I would say, make sure to ask your body. Oils are quite powerful so you want to make sure that it’s something aligned with your constitution.
- Limit caffeine.
- Work on less exposure to luminous screens.
- Work on the actual time of your bedtime to be closer to that 10:00 PM time.
- Add in a little bit of alternate nostril breathing.
- Check out the Vastu/Feng Shui of the room and where you’re sleeping.
- Do some foot oil massage.
All of these things together are very likely to create some very huge improvements in your quality of sleep.
Wishing you so well! You are a soul with your body and the work you do to support your physical body supports you in everything else—energetic, emotional, and spiritual progress. May you be happy and free!
Disclaimer: This program is not intended to be a substitute for professional mental health or counseling services. No practitioner-patient relationship is established and the training content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and nothing here is intended to diagnose, cure or treat any disorders.